In this photo you can clearly see what are called the "golden slippers" on this snowy egret. It's an unmistakable field mark that leaves no doubt which egret you're looking at. This species tends to fish in shallow water, darting and jumping around in a very energetic, entertaining and acrobatic display, stirring up fish and other critters as it runs around in the water. This one was walking along the edge with it's shorebird friends apparently moving to a better fishing spot. A good way to photograph these are down at ground level with the camera set to shoot multiple frames per second on autofocus - like you're shooting sports. That way you can catch it in all its crazy poses as it runs around in the water - which makes for some fun and interesting photos.
These are ground-level photos of cute little least terns and other shorebirds in the background that I believe are dunlins (but could be wrong). I saw these at Bolivar Flats across the ferry to the east of Galveston. At low tide you can walk out on the damp sand to get to where the birds are resting and eating in the shallow water.
In my opinion this is the best photographic view of shorebirds - down low and at their level - instead of taking the pictures from up at normal human eye level down toward the sand. With a telephoto lens at a wide aperture you get a narrow band of focus right where the bird is with natural looking blur in front and behind the subject as you can see in these shots. These shots are right out of the camera with only some minor post processing done.
To do this easily, there is a device called a Ground Pod that is basically a frisbee shaped plastic disc with a camera mount in the center. I mount the camera on a small ball head and attach the ball head to the ground pod which puts the lens about 6 inches off the sand. Then laying on the ground behind the camera you can get some amazing shots. Next time I'll post some more photos like these and get into more detail about how to do it.
Since it's too hot in Texas right now to get out and take many pictures and all the migrating birds have gone north for the summer, I'm spending my time going through my photos from last spring. Had a great time in Galveston during April - prime time to see shorebirds and other migrating birds of all kinds at High Island and all over Galveston as they stop off before heading north. Here's are some photos from around that time...You can see more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenbrennanphotography/
The Canon 7D and 400mm 5.6 lens are turning out to be a great combo for bird photography. I decided to go with these a couple years ago after attending Featherfest in Galveston and talking to some bird photography experts. Next time I'll talk about techniques to get down low at the birds eye level - it helps to get a better point of view especially for the little shorebirds like you see here.