Cattle Egret in breeding plumage – Saint Augustine Alligator Farm; Saint Augustine, Florida: This past week I made a quick trip to the alligator farm in St. Augustine, Florida to photograph the heron rookery. My primary purpose was to photograph cattle egret in breeding plumage. I had been to the farm numerous times, but could never find the right egret, in the right breeding plumage, in the right setting.
The cattle egret is not a native species to North America. It is an African species that was introduced into British Guiana sometime in the 1940’s. Though no one knows exactly how the bird arrived in the western hemisphere, it is suspected by some that the egret was blown-over in a hurricane.
Cattle egret first appeared in the United States in some numbers around lake Okeechobee in March of 1952. Sam Grimes, A well-known bird photographer of the 40’s and 50’s suspected the birds nested around the lake and set out to find a nest and breeding bird to photograph. In May of 1953, he successfully photographed the first known cattle egret nest in the United States.After many years of searching for just the right bird, in perfect breeding plumage, in just the right setting, I finally found this bird last Friday morning. I like it! It just might be the one!
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/400sec @ f5, Tripod