This past week, while working on the coast of northern Mozambique, I stole some moments to photograph a gathering of almost monochromatic Dimorphic Egrets, loosely convened along the beach near the chaotic little town Palma. In the bleached brightness of the tropical shore, some of the birds were hunting small fish, avidly working the edge of the rising tide or stalking around pools left out on the exposed flats. Others were flying buoyantly between feeding venues, and the rest were loafing above the high-water mark.

The beach was lined by shade-shedding palms and baobabs, and fringed by the distant but rapidly approaching ocean, brilliantly turquoise in the mid-afternoon sun. Stiffly angular, the herons were clad in sharply-cut suites of black or white, with a few young birds wearing grey. Yellow, maniacal eyes pierced the gathering heat, tracking darting shapes in the shallows. Stilted legs moved slowly and erratically, placing lemon-yellow feet carefully on the wet sand. Spring-loaded necks shot daggers into the sparkling water…

 

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