Fleet of Wing, Nimble of Foot – Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting
Focusing higher, there he was… On a limb twenty feet farther out from the nesting tree… At the tip top, fifteen feet higher than the nest… Which itself was at least seventy feet above the island floor.
The great blue heron nestlings were learning to fly. For a few weeks they had been stretching their wings, furling and unfurling feathers in the tight confines of the nest. They went through a stage of climbing from the nest to nearby branches by extending their legs and reaching out with their toes, but now they were using their wings instead. Up and down, hop-flying up to a branch and then back down to the nest, practicing.
I had been watching for an hour, then was momentarily distracted. When I glanced back at the nest, only one chick was in the nest. The other? Scanning the branches just above the nest for him with binocs, not there. He had been there a few minutes earlier. Focusing higher, there he was… On a limb twenty feet farther out from the nesting tree… At the tip top, fifteen feet higher than the nest… Which itself was at least seventy feet above the island floor.
This was more than a practice hop up from the nest; the fledgling had fully “flown” to the tip of that branch. It was thrilling. Fearlessly, fleet of wing and nimble of foot, he practiced take offs and landings from the tip of that branch.
My heart was in my throat as I watched, because it was such a long way down and he was still a beginner. And his nest mate? I imagined him thinking, “My turn, I want my turn now!”
(Thanks for the photo challenge nudge, WordPress!)
(This took place August 11, 2012)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Posted on June 13, 2013, in ardea herodias, Bird photography, Birds, Fledgling heron, Great Blue Heron, Nature, Patience, Photography, postaday, Weekly Challenge, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged ardea herodias, great blue heron, heron fledgling, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.