Paved Paradise?

Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen.

John Muir
The Mountains of California

Great blue heron yearling fishing in the reeds.

Great blue heron yearling fishing in the reeds.

Joni Mitchell wrote about how they “paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” and John Muir wrote of beauty being found “wherever it is really seen.”

Not all of my outings at the lake yield great blue heron photographs, or even sightings. At certain times of the year, such as during their molt and nesting phases, fewer herons are to be seen at the lake. The day the above photo was taken was during the nesting period, and despite visiting all of the usual places at the lake, I left empty-handed after several hours.

That day, I decided to treat myself to Chinese dinner at Lotus Flower, and walked there from the lake. The route I took meandered past a huge mall, and a large movie theater complex. It crossed through the parking lot of another smaller mall anchored by a big box store and huge bookseller, and then across the road to cut through the parking lot of yet another ginormous retailer.

Lots of paved parking lots weree traversed that day.

Great blue heron yearling fishing in the reeds - eye detail.

Great blue heron yearling fishing in the reeds – eye detail.

As I crossed the road to the final lot, I saw it there in a small drainage pond: a young great blue heron fishing in the reeds. Who knew that a pond created solely to catch runoff from the paved parking lots would morph into a small ecosystem that supported a variety of life forms? I had seen generations of Canada geese, Mallard ducks, and frogs in the pond over the years, but this was the first time I had noticed a heron. Since then, I’ve seen one other heron fishing there, and there are possibly others at times.

Because of real-estate constraints of my blog, it’s difficult to see the heron’s eye, and so here’s a detail head-shot.

Circling back to John Muir, he wrote that “Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen.”

I know that I saw beauty in the eye of the heron as it fished in the pond that day, and I believe the great blue heron’s eyes saw beauty in that pond, as well.


Thanks to Paula and WordPress for the Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge nudge.

Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated. (In this photo, I like his the green grasses and yellow flowers are so much more saturated than the heron and water.)

Thanks again to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Birds challenge.

And thanks also to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.


(This took place June 2010)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on October 3, 2013, in ardea herodias, Art, Bird photography, daily prompt, Ecology, Great Blue Heron, Michelle's Weekly Pet Challenge, Nature Photography, Sunday Stills, Thursday's Special, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. 🙂 Loving the heron head shot 🙂 Thank you for taking part in my non-challenge Babsje.

  2. Well spotted, Babsje. Sometimes one finds beauty where one least expects it. I’m sure your Chinese dinner tasted even better after seeing the heron. 🙂

  3. Love the shot of the heron in the reeds. It is beauty. (I think they feel invisible in such circumstances!)

  4. Nice shots through the grass.

  1. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Pepezela! Yebo! i.e. Get me out of here! Yes! | Lost in Translation

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