Special message (especially for friends in the US) : Pl. take a moment to check out this gesture that Mary has undertaken to brighten an 8-year old girl’s birthday.
We were always amazed by the transformation birds undergoes during the breeding season. This post is all about one such extraordinary transformation. Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, close to Mysore, is a wonderful place to observe birds in breeding plumage.

Cattle Egret is well adapted to many diverse terrestrial and aquatic habitats. As the name suggests, this widespread resident in India, is commonly found around cattle feasting on the insects disturbed by the grazing mammals. Grasshoppers are its preferred food but it does not mind frogs, toads, lizards and other small mammals. Sometimes you can find them sitting on cattle eating parasitic insects as well.

This image shows a Cattle Egret in its peak breeding plumage. The orange-buff plums on the crown, breast, back, the reddish bill, the vivid red eyes and the pinkish colored legs marks the phase just before pairing. This image was taken with the D300, 300mm f2.8+2x TC setup. EXIF – 600mm, f/8, 1/320s, 0EV, ISO 200.Another image at the peak of the breeding season taken with the same camera setup. EXIF – 600mm, f/8, 1/200s, 0EV, ISO 200.This image is of the breeding plumage at a intermediate stage of the transformation, notice that the eyes are not yet blood red and still have shades of yellow, which is the normal color of the eyes. D300, 300mm f2.8+2x TC setup, EXIF – 600mm, f5.6, 1/2000s, -1.3EV, ISO 200.This images shows the plumage a stage before the earlier one. D300, 300mm f2.8+2x TC setup, EXIF – 600mm, f5.6, 1/1600s, 0EV, ISO 200.And this is the non-breeding plumage of the Cattle Egret as is seen during most part of the year. D80, 300mm f2.8+2x TC, SB-800 flash with better beamer attachment setup, EXIF – 600mm, f5.6, 1/500s, +0.7EV, ISO 400, Flash – TTL mode.