I photographed this Great Egret with ruffled feathers a few days ago at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was preening just before it ruffled its feathers and before that it was stalking for something to eat in the water. I watched this bird for several minutes and didn’t see it catching anything.
Egrets will ruffle or fluff their feathers after preening. This helps remove any dirt or dust, and helps to return the feathers to their normal position.
Here is a photo of this same Great Egret catching fish the next day: Great Egret Tossing Fish
How I Got The Shot – Great Egret With Ruffled Feathers
While driving over the Sally Jones West Causeway I spotted this Great Egret stalking for food in the shallow waters to the north of the causeway. I was able to park a short distance from the bird without disturbing it. I didn’t park straight out from the bird but just to the east with my pickup facing west. The sun was rising.
I had my Fujifilm X-T3 camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro.
- AV Mode
- Back-button focus
- Aperture f8
- ISO 800
- Shutter speed – 1/2900
- -1.0 exposure value
- Auto White Balance
- Single Point, Continuous Auto Focus
- Multi Metering
- Focal Length – 400 mm
Pay attention to the light. This Great Egret I photographed was early in the morning just as the sun was rising. I still had to adjust my exposure because of the white feathers.
When the sun gets higher, usually around 10:00 am here in my area, I wouldn’t photograph this bird because the light would be too harsh. On overcast days I could get by with photographing this Egret during midday.
Dawn and dusk are ideal times for shooting wildlife.