In nature herons and egrets naturally nest above gator holes, as gators serve to protect the nesting birds from marauding coons, opossum and other predators. The ponds at Gatorland provide the perfect nesting habitat for wading birds, and they come to nest by the hundreds.
This American Egret, in its beautiful nuptial plumes stands over its nest and eggs to preen and adjust feathers before returning to incubation duties. It was in a perfect location as the evening grew on. The sun lighted the egret from behind rendering the delicate aigrette plumes in exquisite detail. It was the delicate aigrette plumes that almost brought the American, and other egrets to near extinction a hundred years ago. The fanciful plumes were in high demand at the turn of the twentieth century as a fashion accessory for women’s hats. Fortunately the Audubon Society foresaw the consequences of the plume trade and dispatched wardens and legislation to halt the destruction of these elegant birds.
Nikon D3, Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8, Digital Capture @ ISO 200, 1/400sec. @ f5.6
For more information on Gatorland, log onto their website at: http://www.gatorland.com