July 20, 2015, about 7 a.m., I was sitting in my truck on the last leg of the auto tour route, photographing an amazing gathering of nearly 200 Great Egrets in Long Lake at the Ridgefield NWR. In my eight years of weekly visits to this refuge, I’ve never witnessed this number of egrets in one place. (It was only a few years ago I recall hoping for even ONE Great Egret to come close enough to the road to get a decent shot.) The egrets were close to 1000 feet away and I was checking an image of the birds via my LCD screen at high zoom to see if there were any Snowy Egrets in the mix, by chance. I didn’t see any but there were a few Blue Herons.
Suddenly, what seems to be from out of nowhere, two groups of 4 birds each, of American White Pelicans appear quite high in the skies in front of me. I grabbed the camera and began firing away. Their majesty and grace really blew me away. The dark clouds provided a nice contrast to the birds as they flew by. These pelicans can have up to a 9-1/2 foot wingspan and weigh as much as 20 pounds.
Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1600, f4, ISO 400, 500mm, 6:56 a.m.