Breakfast at the Lake

may my heart always be open to little 
birds who are the secret of living
whatever they sing is better than to know…

ee cummings
100 Selected Poems

 © Babsje (   Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder.

Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder.

Only moments before the top photo in this post was taken, the great blue heron was engaged in a fierce aerial skirmish with a younger heron.

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced a great blue heron with a markedly broken leg (click on Wordlessly Watching to see that post). Two years had gone by since the photo in that earlier post, and she had settled into a morning routine, as had I. Some days our routines dovetailed.

The heron usually made a morning circuit of the southern cove, flying south along the eastern shoreline before settling on a fishing location for the morning.

 © Babsje (   Great blue heron with broken leg chasing off an interloper.

Great blue heron with broken leg chasing off an interloper.

Occasionally, she would encounter an interloper. When that happened, territorial displays ensued, and if the errant heron failed to take the hint, the chase was on.

And what a chase it was that day. Two huge birds flying mere feet apart, huge wings pumping, the younger bird straining for altitude.

I have no doubt that the heron with the broken leg could have overtaken the youngster mid-air, but she seemed content to simply touch down on the large boulders once it was clear that the interloper was headed elsewhere. She wasn’t out for blood; she was out for solitude. Any morning when a heron wins its skirmish and achieves solitude is a good morning for heron.

And solitude is what I crave in the mornings, too.


Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning. WordPress asked us about what makes a good morning. After waking, I head to the lake, picking up coffee on the way there. I like to have a picnic breakfast overlooking the water and the dock before any people are about, just the morning mist, ducks, cormorants, geese, and me. And the herons.

Thanks to Michelle W. also for the Daily Prompt: Unplugged. Today, we were asked how we know when it’s time to get unplugged. Unplugged. No electronics. Smartphone, off. IPad, off. Mobile broadband, also off. Unfortunately, I’ve had to conduct recording sessions from deep within the cove to accommodate people’s schedules on more occasions than is right, and so my go-bag always included those toys. Days like those, it’s a no-brainier about knowing when to be unplugged.

And thanks also to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge. Michelle hosts a fun challenge where people post photos of pets or other animals. I think a great blue heron has too much dignity to allow itself to be called a “pet,” but I am smitten by this heron just the same.


(This took place September 5, 2011)

© 2013 Babsje. (

Posted on October 8, 2013, in ardea herodias, Bird photography, Birds, daily prompt, DPchallenge, Great Blue Heron, Michelle's Weekly Pet Challenge, Nature Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Since I am not a heron, I think an actual fight for solitude might make me unable to enjoy it in the moment, but I’m totally in sync with fighting to preserve places that provide solitude! Couldn’t live without it.

  2. It must have been amazing to see it as it was happening.
    Great capture …..

  3. I love the ee cummings poem in conjunction with your post. And I agree with the two previous comments. What an experience to watch those two herons.

  4. Lovely story, well tied to the challenge. Nice Babsje!!

  5. This is lovely Babsje, thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. How wonderful to have a nearby lake with blue herons. What a beautiful place to enjoy breakfast and solitude.

  7. That is a lovely photograph of the heron stood upon those rocks.

  8. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  9. i do believe that herons are stunning birds – we have them here is Northern Illinois – most have left though for the winter. I am always awestruck when I see one fly or even standing in a pond or on a rock. just beautiful.

    • I’m glad you find herons stunning, I do as well. It’s good that they are migrating for the winter, since your winters can be as harsh as ours are here. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  10. What wonderful sights you see as you seek your solitude by the river, Babsje. Love that photo of the heron on the rock. 🙂

    • I’m glad you like that photo. Those boulders are the only ones on the 800 acre lake’s shoreline and its not often that a heron alights there, so I was pleased to see that heron land there after the dogfight. Thanks again for commenting!

  11. Interesting back ground story to the beautifully composed photograph

  12. So that Heron with the broken leg survived? It must of been landing on just one leg then? How could it stalk with a broken leg? Normally something this serious means it slowly dies!

    • Yes it survived! Greatly relieved to see this bird for at least three years after that break. I think you’re right that it must have been stalking prey in a one-legged stance. That Heron remained very vigorous as the aerial combat with the youngster shows. I can speculate on the incident that may have caused the break – I witnessed and photographed the Heron miscalculating a landing in a stand of tall pines and doing an actual face plant into the tree branches but I cannot prove that accident broke the leg. Your comment questions are all very good ones, thanks!

    • This may be the incident where the Heron broke that leg: So very happy that Great Blue pulled through ok! Thanks for your great comment.

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