P5040132 reddish egret fishing

No problem choosing The Star of the Day for Day 2, the uncontested winner was the reddish egret.

P5040360 little blue butt“In the stately and dignified world of herons,” according to AllAboutBirds (Cornell University), “Reddish Egrets are the swashbuckling cousins.”

And right they are!

Anyone who has watched great blue herons or great or snowy egrets patiently stalking their prey will be quite surprised at the tactics utilized by reddish egrets.

P5040070 reddish egretThey put on an elaborate display, creating a sort of canopy with their wings and darting from place to place to lure fish from their hiding places.

Or they may kick up the sand with their feet and then pounce upon the frightened fish.

Or they may use a combination of these tactics.

Whatever they do, the end result is lunch (for them) and a fabulous show (for us).

The light was perfect, and my confidence had returned, so I took far too many photos o f The Star of the Day.

P5040215 - fish fightWith such good light —

and with Andy cuing me for proper settings —

I had very few problems with noise even with my beloved M4/3 gear

(Olympus EM1x wearing the 100-400 f/5.0 – f/6.3.

Oh, there was other wildlife present, including a delightful little blue heron who struggled to catch a fish.

P5040503 - pelican flyover It finally succeeded — but then dropped it!

Undaunted, it finally captured and swallowed the fish, a triumph happily appreciated by all who witnessed the event.

We were treated to much more than The Reddish Show, although I admit it was difficult for me take my eyes off the entertaining view.

But I did, and I managed to catch a pelican flyover, a godwit, and some gulls.

And our old friend from yesterday, the pink spoonbills, also made an appearance.  I even managed to capture one in flight!

P5040096 black skimmersIf there was a runner-up for Star of the Day, it would be the black skimmers.

The beach was crowded with them!

And some of them did what they do best — skimming the water for fish.

They fly very low, and you can tell when they are getting ready to skim when they circle over the intended area.

Or, you could listen for Andy warning you to get ready with the camera because here they come!

P5040286 black smikkerBoth methods are very reliable.

There was also the occasional white ibis, or what my Aussie friend calls “bin chickens.”

Despite their beauty, they will not hesitate to forage for tasty morsels in trash cans.

We even saw a rare color morph!

Juveniles have a similar color distribution, but their legs and bills are pink.

Andy knows all of these things, and I could listen to him all day talking about the birds.

P5040151 - white ibis color morph

P5040318 spoonbill flying good

P5040065 - snowy in flight

P5040437 - godwit

P5040303 gull in flight

P5040053 reddish dipping

P5040182 - Copy reddish intent on fishing

P5040614 - reddish egrets talking

Day 2, like Day 1, came to an end much too soon!

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