Rubber Ducky You’re the One – Ailsa’s Relaxing Theme

Rubber Duckie you’re the one,
You make bathtime lots of fun,
Rubber Duckie I’m awfully fond of you

Jeff Moss
The Sesame Street Songbook

Great blue heron bathing.

Great blue heron bathing.

Paddling around the bend at the far end of the middle pond, I caught a glimpse of a great blue heron lurking at the eastern end of the cove. Through the binoculars it looked like the heron was in a territorial display, erect back feathers gleaming in the bright sun. My pulse quickened. It’s always exciting to capture a territorial encounter between two herons with a camera.

The glare on the water made it difficult to be certain where the other bird was, and I needed to keep a good distance to not disturb their interaction. I was assuming that the territorial stance was directed at another bird, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any other herons nearby. I followed the heron’s gaze, looking for any antagonist in his line of sight, to no avail.

Confused about the heron’s behavior, I decided to just bide my time, and settled the kayak along the opposite shore, downwind and hidden from view.

A few minutes passed, with the heron still in a territorial pose.

A few more minutes, and suddenly the heron immersed itself fully under the water. Then that stiletto beak broke the surface, and the heron splashed up a froth of water.

The heron was taking a bath!

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

In nearly a decade of watching herons, this was only the second time I’d ever seen one bathing. I sat there mouth agape, watching and taking photographs as quickly as possible.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron continues bathing after turning around.

I stayed there sharing bath time with the heron until an interloper in an inflatable boat flushed the heron off, but even that couldn’t wipe the silly smile from my face.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Herons aren’t necessarily known for being playful when they’re alone, but perhaps bath time is a playful exception. That’s my story theory, and I’m sticking to it.

Ailsa’s prompt for this week is the theme of relaxing. I can’t think of too many things more relaxing than a nice, long Saturday night bath. Unless its downloading photos of a great blue heron taking a bath, all the whole humming the Rubber Ducky song to myself.


Thanks to Ailsa and WordPress for the Travel Theme: Relaxing prompt.


(This took place during September 20, 2013)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on September 29, 2013, in ardea herodias, Birds, daily prompt, DPchallenge, Great Blue Heron, Nature Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Travel theme, Travel Theme Challenge, Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Travel Themes, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. beautiful shot and a lovely magical morment 😀

  2. OMG…..I remember that song! lol

  3. I wonder… will grey rubber herons catch on as bath toys? 😉

  4. What fun! Thanks for the photos and story.

    • You’re welcome, and thanks for your kind comment. It was definitely a fun experience, watching the heron’s bath. Not something you see very often at all around here.

  5. What a super and unique experience, Babsje. Loved your photos of that heron’s bathtime.

    • Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you found this one enjoyable. It was definitly a total surprise to see the heron taking a bath, going through so many of the motions that a small songbird would in an actual birdbath. Really fascinating to see.

  6. un sogno blue con le ali

    • What a beautiful comment: a blue dream with wings. I love your comment! Thank you for visiting and writing such lovely words about the heron. Best, Babsje

  7. Wow, many thanks for the shout out on your blog! I love that post, with all the luscious pink colors, btw. Gorgeous and I hope readers here take a moment to visit your blog. Thanks again, best, Babsje.

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