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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret (Image ID 43155)
Photographed byJim Schultz on Wed 28th Oct, 2020 and uploaded on Thu 29th Oct, 2020 .
Resolution1800x1200
Viewed42
ID43155
CommentI went to Erskine Lakes for the second time in a week to photograph the breeding colony of Cattle Egrets here. This time I arrived at dawn, but I had some trouble getting good images in good, early light, as it unfortunately proved to be a clouded day. This capture shows two Cattle Egrets in some form of interaction, but I am uncertain, if they are a male and a female, or perhaps two birds of the same sex quarrelling; however, they are both in courtship flush. On this day, I spotted another cluster of nests where more birds were in the process of busy nest material gathering, with more birds featuring the courtship flush, but the two birds featured are from a nest cluster, where birds are also already sitting on eggs; I think therefore fewer birds sported the said flush. The fact that the courting flush is at all present is indicating to me that we are dealing with the Eastern Cattle Egret in WA: Bubulbus coromandus (‘The Australian Bird Guide’ 2019), but a lot of somewhat conflicting and very confusing information has arisen during my layman’s research of the Cattle Egret in Australia.
Locality of this capture: Erskine Lakes, WA. Status of the species (IUCN 2016): Least Concern ~ ‘trend increasing’
EquipmentNikon D850
Nikkor AF-S 500mm f4G ED VR lens + TC-14E MkIII Teleconverter = 700mm focal length
Technique: Camera rig support: Gitzo GT3543XLS Tripod, Dietmar Nill gimbal tripod head as high from the ground as I could reach to focus, standing tall partly concealed by shrubs and photographing across water onto island, the sun behind me and over my right shoulder.
Exposure Mode: MANUAL 1/3200 sec at f8; ISO-640. Metering Mode: Center-Weighted; Focus Mode: AF-C high/5 frames per sec & AF Area Mode: Dynamic, 9 points. VR: Off
Nikon ViewNX-i for viewing and selecting files; Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw/CC 2020 for resizing and cropping image to 167% plus performing mild selective sharpening. General post-processing inclusive of lifting shadows and removing a twig as well as mild colour enhancing in lieu of the clouded day were also undertaken. Topaz Pro plug-in Sudio2 was used for mild noise control. ‘Australian Bird Guide 2019’ for supplementary data and colour checks
LocationErskine Lakes, Western Australia
Keywordsadult, breeding plumage/features, behaviour/display
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