She Sits in Her Beauty Upon Her Nest

White Egret Sits in Her Beauty Upon Her Nest


I stated in my previous post that it was nesting season for Wood Storks, but it is also nesting season for what may be our loveliest, most iconic Florida bird…the Great Egret! An egret is a special class of herons having abundant ornamental back feathers during breeding season. This is a subject I truly never tire of!! Those ornamental plumes, once the great desire of the plume hunters to obtain and sell to decorate ladies hats, give this heron its name. Aigrettes is from the French for a spray or tuft of feathers often worn on the head or adorning a helmet, and is as one might expect pronounced ‘egrets’. I look forward to seeing nestlings in the weeks to come as it is another chance to see them up close after last year’s loss at a favorably located nest for photography.

I thought you might enjoy the egret sitting so beautifully with aigrettes all around! The picture beneath it has a nice clear view showing the lower eyelid of the egret closing upward instead of upper lid down as with humans. I was surprised at how translucent it was. The third image, a light and airy view of the preening egret at her nest, seems a captured private moment. I should say I have taken liberty referring to my subject as ‘she’ because it is hard to do otherwise with something so lovely. But the male and female look the same with the female slightly smaller if you are even able to pick up that nuance visually with active birds (unless mating then you know at that moment)!

White Egret- View of upward moving lower eyelid


White Egret Preens in the Seclusion of Her Nest

As Ever,


~ by Judy on April 1, 2015.

31 Responses to “She Sits in Her Beauty Upon Her Nest”

  1. Beautiful capture

    • Thanks for both the visit and the comment!! It is wonderful just to be able to see such things and to get to immortalize it on celluloid as they used to say!

  2. Beautiful work, as usual my lady. And in this case, color definitely makes the shot! Another fine feather in your cap … er, maybe I should rephrase that! 🙂

    • Indeed you should!! 🙂 There’s quite bit to see at our favourite rookery between the White Egrets, Louisiana Herons and Wood Storks..and Anhingas!!! Busy busy!!

  3. So informative and with stunning images! I saw some egrets yesterday and was wondering why they had those long back feathers. Now I know. Thank you!

  4. I’m just gonna have a little app, made, so I just go ‘click’, and it fills in the comment box here, with “These close ups are brilliant!” Cos you just keep producing them and I have to keep saying it. I so admire your work, Judy.

    • LOL, thanks!! You know no one has commented on my eyelid picture. Am I the only one who thinks that is cool? I was so surprised how translucent the lid is. It seems thick texture wise but you can see the eye through it still.

  5. Ohhhh some of my favorites! That brilliant GREEN! What sweet portraits of the dedicated parent. HEAVENLY.

    • Heavenly is such a good word for these angels in white. Well, maybe they can be scrappy at times but….they do look heavenly!! Can’t wait for little bitty hatchlings. Maybe soon I can show you way up in Georgia.

  6. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Always beautiful Judy and I breathe a sigh of wonder at your captures every time.

  8. Ah, ha. No one else has mentioned it, so I have to. Did you take your title from Lord Byron’s poem? It certainly is appropriate!

    “She walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that’s best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellowed to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.”

    Your mention of the eyelid sent me off to see if egrets and herons have the same nictitating membrane that mallards do. Yes! is the answer. You can read about it here. It’s not too far off the mark to say it functions like goggles, protecting the eye from wind while flying or water while diving (in the case of the mallards).

    • It is true that herons and egrets have a nictitating membrane. It looks like a clear smooth extra layer and usually slides out when the bird is very active such as when the chicks are in its face looking for a meal, sparring with intruders, dropping in with a twig and even when preening. I have rejected many photos because I didn’t like the way it dulled the light in the eye of the bird. But, what you see here is actually the regular eyelid which looks tough in most light but here it looks textured but opaque. Another shot I have with the eye closed you can see a hint of the pupil through it. This must be because I was very close with a 300mm lens and a small sensor camera and so got a good view of it or the light was coming from the right direction to show it.

      Though Byron’s poem is one of my favourites, I think I actually had the rhythm in my head from a line in Wendell Berry’s poem The Peace of Wild Things which I’d used in a recent post….”I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.” All I could think looking at the egret was how beautiful she looked sitting on her nest amidst the display of aigrettes….so she sat in her beauty on her nest…sometimes you just can’t get away from words in your head.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment and for reminding me of the beautiful Byron verse!!

      • Linda, I must be getting slap happy from tiredness! I was just folding laundry and thinking about you commenting on–she sat in her beauty– and then I giggled–at least it is better than ‘She sat in her slip shipping Schlitz’…..LOL….remember tongue twisters…say it 10 times fast and so on!! 🙂 Or Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers…. Speaking phrases that get stuck!!

  9. Just incredible, as always, Judy! Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos and knowledge of these amazing birds!

    • Hi! Thanks for stopping in. Today I have work to do and am having a hard time resisting going back to see if the eggs have hatched yet! Could be about time? Next week one day though I will visit again.

  10. I love that lower eyelid photo! All enjoyable photos and interesting post Judy. Maybe I’ll run into you one day again after the eggs hatch. Hopefully we wont have any trouble this year. So far I have not seen any sign of trouble making Egrets near this nest.

    • Hello Jamie!! So happy for your comment as I thought the eyelid picture was so very demonstrative and interesting. I know not everyone is keen on these kinds of details and I know you are too!! I would look forward to intersecting again anytime but especially with the advent of hatchlings!! Look forward to both.

  11. Your first photo deserves a place on a wall ~ alone to be admired and left alone 🙂

    Egrets are such beautiful birds…first time I’ve seen one nesting.

    • That is supremely appreciated! Some things you have to work to make into art. A Great Egret in its breeding plumage is living art no matter what it is doing–no work at all!! I am most fortunate to live within 45 minutes of an active rookery which always tempts me to get out of work as early as I can to see whose hatched yet!!

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