Bye, Heron

© 2004-2013 Babsje. (Http://

Detail of great blue heron preening.

Mid-week afternoons in August are good at the lake. Many people are at work and many others go away on vacation the last 10 days of August, so I had the waters almost to myself.

I rounded a bend and unexpectedly came upon a man in a green canoe with the name Puffin stenciled on the side in white. He was sitting in the stern with his young son tucked against him, holding the boy with one arm, paddling with the other.

The boy was about 2 or 3, and beaming with happiness in his nice, bright yellow pfd.

Their canoe was perpendicular to the shore, and the little boy’s hand was pointing to the bank, his eyes so wide.

My eyes followed his finger … to a great blue heron.

The heron flew off, the canoe glided off, and I paddled on my way.

About half an hour later the green canoe returned, gliding up behind my yellow kayak, and then alongside me, so soundlessly I was unaware of their approach until they had overtaken me.

But the heron on the shore had seen them — his posture straightened, head perked up, a subtle shift in his stance as though about to brace for flight.

The green canoe just glided by, very very slowly, and when closest to the bird, the toddler jutted out out his hand and waved at the heron. “Bye heron,” said the boy.

And so the father waved, too.

“Bye heron,” said the man.

Then they were gone.

It was a tender, sweet encounter with the toddler in the green canoe. At any moment, he could have jumped up and squealed and clapped his hands in delight – all perfectly normal for a two-year-old. The spell thus broken, though, the heron would have flushed in alarm.

But the toddler didn’t.

And the heron stayed with me in the cove that day.


Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Where’s My Backpack: Sweet challenge.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayak Birding, Canoeing

Posted on February 6, 2014, in ardea herodias, Art, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature, Nature Photography, Parenting, Photography, postaday, Thursday's Special, Weekly Travel Themes, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. nice photo…a wing sculpture…children are very wise:-)

  2. I love your narrative and adore this photo 🙂 Thank you Babsje 🙂

  3. HI B what a lovely story and a great shot.

  4. Interesting reading in the eyes of birds and animals, another sense shared without explanation — if we, as humans, could only be as honest and open, find that place and learn
    to just be. Another neat encounter!

  5. I’m always happy to see someone teaching young children about nature.
    Later in life you tend to love what you know. Those that were never exposed to it may not care about nature.

    • Hi Phil – Thanks for saying that, I agree wholeheartedly with you. It was delightful to watch that man with his son over the years, out canoeing together in the afternoons. I’m sure those experiences will stay with that boy for life.

  6. Lovely post and shot. Esp like the ‘I wonder what I have under here’ pose.

  7. I wonder what that toddler will grow up to become.

    • Me too, good question. I watched father and son on the water over a few years. The family had a second baby then. I never saw both children out in the canoe, but maybe will this summer. I hope to.

  1. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Hugging Hugo | Lost in Translation

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