I decided to mix things up and it paid off! Normally I try to do bird photography in the late evening at Mason Neck State Park - the park doesn't open until 8am so I've never tried to shoot an early morning. This weekend, however, I decided to mix things up and try going when the park opened because the weather was expected to be 15 degrees cooler.
Not only was the weather better in the morning, but so were the birds! I was the first person down the trail in the morning, which meant I had to deal with overnight spider webs that had been strung, but I also had the best views of the wildlife.
Normally I'm happy to see one or two large birds (egrets or herons) but I must have seen 20 or more today.
Normally I'm happy to leave with one or two decent shots but today I got four or five.
The winner, for me, was to see this Great Egret. I'd spent an hour photographing an Egret the week prior, but wasn't happy with how any of the shots came out. This Egret perked himself on a nice log for me, which helped to isolate him from the background.
I shot at f/6.7 and 1,500th of a second with the SB-700 flash and Better Beamer Flash Extender attached to the flash. The lens was the Nikon 80-400mm lens at 400mm... look at the amazing detail it captures! I did post production in Adobe Photoshop CS6.