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.

Great blue heron fledglings practice flying.

Great blue heron fledglings practice flying.

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)

Advertisements

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 , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all –

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
    And sore must be the storm –
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm –

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet – never – in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of me.

    BY EMILY DICKINSON

    * These birds have a wonderful indescribable elegance & and you shoot them as properly & so wonderful * clap

    • What a wonderful poem, I love this one. Thank you for commenting with it here, and for your kind praise for the heron photo. That was a special day, witnessing their attempts at flight. They were so very young and the tree limb so very high up.

  2. HI What a wonderful read and great shot you captured. Love the poem also

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge / B4 Retouch: Fleeting / Mont Beuvray View 2 | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Pingback: And Then There Was One | Babsje Heron

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: