Egg Island Trip Report

A few weeks ago my wife Sabrina and I took a bit of a unique photography trip to Egg Island Utah. The name pretty much says it all, this island is where birds lay eggs. When I visited the island in early April I saw only 3 different species of birds and one of the species is one of my favorite birds, the Great Blue Heron. (the other two are California Gulls and what I believe are Double Crested Cormorant) see below:

California Gulls and Double-Crested Cormorant w Wasatch Mountains (C) Wayson Wight

The trip was especially unique for me because I’ve never taken my photo gear across the water in my kayak, after some debate I grabbed my new favorite toy (telephoto lens), my water proof bag I normally use for backpacking and my boats and we headed for the island. On the approach both myself and the birds were getting excited, I felt like I was on an assignment for National Geographic or something. Well off the coast grumpy California Gulls came on a continuous loop to check us out, the noise level increased as we got closer. As I’m sure many of you have found on your own trying to enjoy some quiet in a park, the Gull is a very vocal bird.

Approaching the Island. The birds were not shy at all.

The island is composed of almost all rocky shoreline with very little sand or good entry points for a couple of ambitious paddlers, I had scouted the island the day before and knew of one spot that would work well for two boats that also had just enough sand to set up a tripod. I did not want to take more than one or two steps onto the island to avoid disturbing the birds at all. My goal was to get some memorable images without causing any anxiety for the birds. If you decide to visit the island make sure you don’t walk through it or on it as its almost entirely covered w nests.

We docked our boats and I set up my tripod, ready to shoot. The noise level was incredible as hundreds of birds flew overhead squawking their very best tunes at us. A few of the Gulls seemed to be put out a bit by our arrival and one in particular would get a little well timed revenge as you’ll see.



Our boats on the sandy area, my lens and camera in the green dry-bag in my orange Kayak. My tripod set up is as far as I went on the island, one or two steps.

I’m still learning the intricacies of my new telephoto lens, but I had plenty of opportunity to learn while shooting the photogenic Blue Herons flying to and from the island on their search for food or nesting material. They seemed like big B-52 bomber’s compared the more agile Cormorant and Gulls making the same commute.  I had never been that close the these large birds and couldn’t help but notice their seriousness, even the mundane task of landing seemed a serious matter. Check out this one’s posture as it bombs in for a landing spot. They all certainly have the demeanor and look of a predator.


Coming in with attitude. Great Blue Heron landing.

After shooting for a few minutes I felt something brush my shoulder and for a moment thought one of the more brave Gulls may have came in for a bump, I asked Sabrina if she had seen it and showed her the spot I felt it, she started laughing and you can see why here. This is one of a few reasons to wear waterproof jackets on these types of paddling trips.


Notice the well placed bomb on my shoulder? Revenge was sweet for one Gull, ha.

Could this be the culprit?? We may never know...

I had planned to shoot until dark but we had forgotten our headlamps and we still had a good paddle back to the mainland, so as the sun began to drop below the horizon we jumped in the boats, camera and lens safely (or so I hoped) tucked in my drybag and made a bee-line back to the coast.


Sabrina paddling ahead on own way back to Antelope Island, you can see the Wasatch Mountains on the horizon.

A beautiful sunset on the way back, Egg Island on the right.

All in all, for a nature photographer, the experience was a good time. I was able to get some high quality shots w my newest camera toy and create some great memories along the way.

Great Blue Heron

A Great Blue Heron standing tall, Wasatch mountains in the background.


Great Blue Heron








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  1. Posted April 29, 2012 at 2:08 am by dave beaty | Permalink

    fantastic stuff Wayson

  2. Posted June 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm by wayson | Permalink

    Thank you Dave, I’m glad you had a chance to read it.