Great egret standing in still water near bushes, holding a large fish by the head in its beak.

Video: Great Egret with Big Fish

The other day I had just locked my camera on a tripod and set it up for video recording when I saw a great egret hunting nearby. It soon caught a fish, probably a black bass.

The egret took its time eating the fish, but even then it could not swallow it completely. It stood with its head high and its neck stretched for about 12 minutes, and then it managed to dislodge the fish from its throat. Then the bird picked up the fish again and swallowed it. Apparently the fish went down smoothly. After a few minutes the egret began to hunt again.

This video was recorded with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk. II camera and an old OM-System Zuiko Auto-T (manual) 300mm lens with an Olympus OM Adapter MF-2. The lens aperture was f/8, and the camera settings were HD 1080p, 60fps, shutter 1/125 sec, ISO 200 or 250, White Balance Sunny, and Highlights -2. Since the egret spent a long time just standing, I started and stopped recording several times. Post-processing was minimal. I trimmed six (of seven) files with FFmpeg and then assembled clips with titles in OpenShot on a Lenovo ThinkStation 20 running Fedora Workstation, a GNU/Linux operating system.

The audio track may seem pretty boring. That’s intentional. I thought about adding music, as I do with most of my nature videos, but I decided to leave the audio as it was recorded. I wanted to show this event, a bird eating a fish, without trying to manipulate viewers’ emotions with background music. I tried to remain silent as I recorded, but some breathing and vocalizing can be heard along with sounds of traffic, the Shinkansen train, and people playing soccer at Yasugawa Sports Park. Frankly, the sound isn’t very good, but at least it’s authentic.

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