Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egrets are huge, elegant birds that frequent wetlands and shores of the river and lakes in summer.  They are not often seen in our area of North Central PA, but one was visiting a friend’s wetlands and I was able to put in with the kayak and get close shots of this awesome bird!  Like other herons and egrets, they will watch for fish or frogs in the water and like lightning, spear them through or grab them with their dagger-like beak.

Great Egret

This Great Egret may look silly way up high on top of the tree where he is perched, but actually, Great Egrets will nest as high as 100 feet up in a tree along with others in their colony. They make a large stick nest about 3 feet wide and a foot deep, and will not reuse the nest the next year.

Great Egret

Unlike other all-white egrets, Great Egrets sport a yellow beak and all-black legs and feet. They fly with their necks crooked close to their bodies.

Great Egret

During breeding season, the Great Egret is even lovelier, with long lacy plumes called aigrettes. During the late 1800’s, this bird was almost driven to extinction for its feathers, sold for ladies’ hats! Since killing them was outlawed, they have since made a come-back in spite of habitat loss.

Great Egret

Unbelievably, this beautiful bird did not see me in my boat as a threat at all, and actually came out of the tall tree, right towards me, landing so close that I couldn’t get him all in the picture! He let me slowly back up to be able to fill the frame, without showing any agitation.

Great Egret

I watched as he slowly, painstakingly, stalked his prey. Occasionally, he swiftly jabbed down into the water, sometimes coming up with a small impaled fish. Frogs, large insects like grasshoppers, and dragonflies are also on the menu.

Great Egret

Briefly surveying his kingdom from a higher perch.

Great Egret

More information can be found at All About Birds.



Lauren Shaffer

Lauren Shaffer wrote 146 posts

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  • Eileen

    Awesome series if Egret images. A wonderful post.. Thank you for sharing your post with my critter party. Have a happy weekend!

  • Felicia


  • Hootin' Anni

    Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL images!!!!
    If you’d like, stop by and add your link to this wonderful post at I’d Rather B Birdin’….the new linking is now open.

    such magnificent egret photos…I’m lovin’ it.

    • Lauren Shaffer

      Thanks, Anni! Looks like we share a passion for birding! Not sure where to add my link to your great blog though.

  • Christian

    A wonderful bird.

  • Gunilla Bäck

    Gorgeous shots of this beautiful bird!

    • Lauren Shaffer

      Thank you, Gunilla! Got lucky to have him land so close to me!

  • Ida P. Krause

    They are stunning birds. I can’t imagine killing them just for feathers for a hat. Loved the “in-flight” shots.

  • Marie

    Great job! How wonderful he wasn’t annoyed by your presence! Love the photos of this beautiful bird, and especially the one where you can really see that LONG neck! 🙂 Wonderful post!

    • Lauren Shaffer

      Thanks, Marie! I went back today and he wouldn’t let me get near him! Guess I was lucky last week. He truly is an elegant bird~

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