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Not the big white chicken Look closely to the right of its neck, if you would. So my question has to do with what I see to the right of the egret's neck. There seems to be some grid-like, linear noise/artifact that I usually see with low light.
That is mirror bounce which is a timing issue that signals impending shutter failure. Notice the slight curvature to the shape of the artifacts.
I don't think anyone has mentioned that in this thread. It is not a dynamic range issue because the variation in density does not follow the scene. There is not only the lighter pinkish stuff, but the dark heavy bands on the right, most prominent in the top half of the right. Those have no place in the scene.
It was shot on a cloudy day. I've photographed egrets on sunny days and on cloudy days. Sunny days make it difficult to get the right exposure to be sure to fit it in without blowing the white or alternatively depressing the shadows into noise. Cloudy days: no sweat fitting that reduced dynamic range.
Question to OP squareeyez: have you seen any other banding in other shots, slightly curved, along the long edge of the shot? Sometimes slightly brighter bands, sometimes darker bands.