Little Egrets 3
By DAVID ELEMENT
An unapologetic addition to earlier volumes illustrating Little Egrets, containing a completely new series of photographs of these remarkably photogenic birds. They were taken in a small London Park between mid-November 2020 and mid-December 2021 (with one exception, taken earlier in 2020), and they have been displayed in chronological order so that the alterations to their appearances that occur during the different seasons might be shown. Several Little Egrets have been appearing with increasing frequency as regular winter visitors, offering the patient viewer intimate views of their behaviour, and there are other casual visitors, probably sharing the same nocturnal roost of up to about twenty-one birds a few miles further upstream, by a tributary of the River Thames. Some of the pictures have been deliberately underexposed to bring out the feather detail of these brilliant white birds as they were often brightly lit against dark backgrounds - accurate light-metering can be tricky in bright sunshine. They are wonderfully animated creatures and therefore very entertaining to watch. An unexpected visit by one of the winter regulars in full display plumage provided a rare opportunity to photograph this bird in breeding condition. The lores had turned mauve, the feet had turned a deeper orangey-yellow, the gape a brighter pink, the bill a darker, glossier black and the two head plumes had grown extensively. The front and back cover illustrations are of this bird in display and winter plumage respectively. The location to which these birds go to breed remains a mystery!