When we arrived the second day and I started looking around at the hundreds of nests in the rookery, I spotted something going on in one of the nests far up and towards the back of the rookery. Using my longest lens, the 70- 200, I could see an exciting sight, but just barely. I called Phyllis over and excitingly told her that I thought I saw another nest with chicks. Phyllis was shooting with the 80-400 lens and would be able to get a closer view. What we saw as we took turns looking through the lens was a parent egret with at least two chicks. What made it really exciting was that the chicks were not there the day before. That meant that they were less than twenty-four hours hours old! Phyllis very kindly switched lenses with me and I started photographing them.
I had mentioned in the other posting that there were inherent problems when shooting parents and chicks in the nest; the parents' shadows being cast on the chicks creating exposure problems; trying to get a picture with all the chicks looking somewhat in the same direction; branches and leaves in the way. Those problems were present in a nest much closer to me. This nest was higher in the trees and farther away. Even with the 400 mm lens, it would take some cropping in post production for the readers to really see the chicks. Not that it is hard to crop, it's not. But as you crop, you start degrading the image so making a good quality original image is even more important. I think these images are really good, I hope you all do, too.
I am not going to write too much more so you can just look at these images and hopefully enjoy them. The last image is to remind you what size these amazing birds grow to and how graceful they become.
In the first few images, only one then two chicks are visible. After a few minutes, the parent can be seen with its head down in the nest working at something after which, another chick pops up into sight, I am not sure if she was feeding this smaller chick or actually helping it out of the egg. It could have been born as I was taking these images.
If you look at the chicks' bills, you can see residue from the birthing process; another bit of evidence to how old they were.
I wanted the last image to remind you what the chicks will grow into; a very large, beautiful creature;
a wonderfully graceful bird that you have now seen from its very beginning.