Cattle Egret In Fog (Photo of the week)

A Cattle Egret perches on a cow in dense fog
A Cattle Egret perches on a cow in dense fog

When I first learned about the Cattle Egret, I wondered to myself if I would spot one, and how I would distinguish it from other common egrets, particularly the Snowy Egret. That is, until I saw one. It immediately became obvious that I was looking at a Cattle Egret, as it was standing on top of a cow, plucking ticks and fleas from its hide.

I was just north of Sacramento with some friends, checking out some of the popular birding spots in the area. Unfortunately that morning, we were cursed with extremely dense fog. However, I knew that if we got close enough to the subject, fog could enhance certain photographs, contributing a slightly surreal quality. As we were driving between locations, we passed through some small farms. There they were, right by the side of the road – two cows and two accompanying egrets. I quickly made several shots before the egret in the photo jumped down to the ground to join the second bird. While not ideal for most bird photography, in this case it worked – the fog isolated the subject from the background.