Jaw-Dropping Wild Egret Fishes Next To Man for 2+ Hours

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)


© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Egret flips a fish prior to swallowing it.


Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand prompt. She asked for jaw dropping, grand. The fisherman literally did a jaw-dropped double-take when joined by the egret, as did I. It was a grand experience in watching inter-species “trust” unfold.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Sue Llewellyn for her Word A Week Photography Challenge: Shadow challenge. The egret shadowed the fisherman for more than 2 hours that afternoon. It is not recommended to feed any wild animals, but this bird was obviously already versed in fishermen as food sources before that day.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(These photos were taken Asugust 19, 2013.)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)


Posted on December 11, 2013, in A Word A Week Photo Challenge, Art, Birds, Egret, Fishing, Kayaking, Nature Photography, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography, Wordless Wednesday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. In the Netherlands, grey herons often stand close to anglers. While about 100 years ago, they were shy, as they were hunted.

    • It’s good that the herons there are no longer hunted, and their population increasing. It’s dangerous for them to cavort with fishermen, due to the risk of entanglement by the fishing line or getting caught with the a hook. I was concerned about this egret that day, and stayed with them as they fished together as long as I could in case the egret got hurt. When I had to leave after more than two and a half hours, they were still together. I went back to that spot the following morning, nd the egret was there again on the rovks, no doubt waiting for the fisherman. It was touching to see, although I never saw that fisherman there again.

      • Yes, that is a risk for herons indeed. I have not read about any heron species in the Netherlands, apart from grey herons, standing close to fishermen.

        • I was about to say that maybe its related to the bird’s size – that the great blue and grey herons are sufficiently tall to feel empowered to approach large beings like humans – but then I remembered seeing photos of small egrets mooching from fishermen.

  2. This is wonderful-so who caught the most fish that day? I am betting the heron!

  3. Wow, fascinating as always! Great photos!

  4. This is some amazing stuff. Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic interaction. Though I’m also a bit uneasy about the bird getting too habituated to humans.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for your kind comment. I agree strongly with the concern about wild animals becoming too accustomed to humans. This bird was definitely already VERY used to being near fishermen. I watched the bird approach the fisherman from a couple hundred yards away. I was setting up for a long shot, expecting the egret to flee when it noticed the human, but was sounded when the bird flew right up to the man. On the one hand it was magical and a photographer’s dream encounter and on the other hand, disturbing and worrisome. Fortunately no harm came to the egret that day.

  5. Such touching companionship between man and bird. Great shots.

  6. I’ve never experienced this, but I have had swans stay close to me as I flyfish when wading. When it first happened, I was a bit worried; but they just carry on feeding and show a benign interest in what I’m doing. It feels quite companionable. They wouldn’t do it if they had cygnets – and I certainly wouldn’t do it anywhere near a nest!! RH [nb there’s no danger to them from hook or line]

    • Fascinating! “Benign” interest from a swan is the best interest from a swan. When I lived on a small lake, the resident swans were merciless in pursuing the male geese in mating season – they actively prevented the geese from mating and nesting on the lake. One day as I was out reading on the back deck, I heard shrieks from near the shoreline, a pair of women in a small two-seater pedal boat were being chased by a swan. The swan chased them so aggressively they beached the boat and fled on foot. One exclaimed, near tears, “I am NEVER going back in that boat again.” It was quite a spectacle! Someone came back the next day and retrieved their boat,

  7. I’ve seen egrets when they catch a fish and maneuver it into their mouth … fascinating.
    These photo are perfect. Great capture …!!!!

  8. We have many of these egrets here in Staten Island where I live. I love them.

    • You’re fortunate to have many egrets there, Gayle! We’ve only had that one at this lake, but it was such a spectacular bird. Hoping it returns next summer.

    • Glad you like it, thanks for your kind words! Both the fisherman and I did double-takes when the egret approached him instead of taking off. One photo I didn’t post shows the fisherman using his iPhone’s camera to capture the egret, a very special moment. I never saw the fisherman back there again, it was just that one wonderful afternoon.

  1. Pingback: Great egret and geese | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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