On The Threshold of A Season

Great blue heron amongst water lilies in the cove. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron amongst water lilies in the cove.

Between the polar vortex and far-too-frequent snowstorms, I was not immune to bemoaning the interminable winter. As the cold became dangerous, I worried about the birds, big and small. The post titled “Music to My Ears, Polar Vortex be Damned” (please click here if you missed that post) resulted from days on end with no birds about. And as for the herons that winter-over here? I was too afraid to give voice to my fears for their survival this winter, lest my writings “make it so.” 

Inside this small studio space, during the long winter months, I’m able to observe the herons in a sort of perpetual summer while working through the thousands of photos taken the previous year. It is a treat and a respite to be able to gaze at lush greenery on the computer monitor mere feet from icicle-shrouded eaves, or when the cold winds howl and whistle through nineteenth-century window casings.

Last summer, I reflected in “Artists and Models“:

Are there any artists who don’t fall in love with their models, their muses?

I am enamored of them all, the great blue herons I’ve been observing for the past decade in the watershed here. Our winters can be harsh, so generally I’m not able to be out on the water from December until April. Once back on the lakes each spring, I survey the area, looking for each of the individuals in their usual territory of years past… Each year brings great relief and big smiles when I find the individuals I’ve been following over the years, and also some anxiety around the missing herons.

We have now gone ten full days without falling snow. Even though there are still icy mounds slowly melting at the end of the driveway, a magnolia has started to bud, and pre-dawn birdsong has called forth the morn the past three days.

And perhaps the best harbinger of Spring: my season pass for kayaking arrived in today’s mail from Charles River Canoe & Kayak.

The boathouse is open.

It is the threshold of a new season.


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

Thanks to Krista and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold.

Thanks to Ese for her Weekly Shoot & Quote Photo Challenge: Wings.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at Charles River Canoe & Kayak for outstanding kayaking and canoeing. All of the Great Egret photos and many of the Great Blue Heron photos in the photo galleries of this blog were taken from the seat of a CRCK kayak. 2014 is my ninth year of boating from their boathouses. Charles River Canoe & Kayak aren’t just “outfitters”, they’re “community.” If you’re a paddler (or a wanna-be-paddler) in Eastern Massachusetts, check them out.


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. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Posted on April 10, 2014, in ardea herodias, Art, Ese's Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature Photography, Photography, postaday, Thursday's Special, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. We saw our first Great blue Heron two days ago, and we are significantly North of you with lists of snow and water on the ground. Good luck for the new season!

    • How exciting, I’m happy for you, Victor. I haven’t yet seen any near the lake, however in both January and February, three different taxi drivers reported seeing a heron fly overhead. Each of those reports lifted my spirits!

  2. CrazyGuyinThailand

    Awesome 🙂

  3. I can almost relate to that feeling of not catching sight of your favourite bird. It is the rainy season here in Kenya and catching sight of the sunbird takes longer than usual. Anyway, these cuties are quite resilient as I believe, your Great blue is as well

    • Many thanks for commenting about your sunbirds – what a delightful name that is. There is something in the “elusiveness” of the herons, and sunbirds, that adds to their appeal and mystique.

  4. HI I do spring winter is behind you now and the that the birds have survived.

  5. Looking forward to more great heron shots and tales. 🙂

    • Me too, looking forward to seeing more Bald Eagle photos from you on your blog, assuming they reuse the same nest. Here’s to Spring! Thanks for your kind words!

  6. I’m so missing my GBH in Florida, now that we’re back here in South Africa. We have a web cam set up there, but no sightings for a while. 😦

  7. good to see you are back! we are having spring here in the midwest, it is coming your way….our trees are not blooming yet. I was riding on the river last weekend and saw a heron flying + thought of you:-)

    • Hi Robbie – Thanks, it’s good to be back after a short hiatus from blogs, I had some technical difficulties that are sorted for the most part. Wonderful that you saw a heron flying along the river, thanks for thinking of me! Did you take along a camera? Will have to stop by your blog and see if any herons are nestled amongst your plants. 🙂

      • lol no herons hanging out in my garden beds. I don’t usually take a camera on my rides since I did have a bad fall last year + ended up in the emergency room. I was not moving fast at that time, so I was lucky. Just swollen leg+ cuts + purple bruising! I may walk the path one day and try to get some shots just for you, but the beauty in your pictures is that they come from the heart:-) You can’t do that unless it is you!

        • Robbie, sorry to hear about your bicycle fall, that sounds scary, and I totally understand about not carrying your camera on a bike. Thanks for your very thoughtful and kind comment about my photos coming from the heart. Yes, I am smitten by the herons.

  8. As always a good piece. I do enjoy the way you put your thoughts together.

    I haven’t replied in a long time, been busy with things and issues.

    We’ve started going birding again in the last couple of months. There’s a park near here that has great blues.

    Used to have a big blue that came to the back door over at another house that we had across town. Miss that house a lot. More about that maybe another time.

    At the park had seen a couple of great blues fishing over the last few months.

    Have seen big blues hunt, fly. bath, fight, swim and be a “pond bad ass”.

    Well about three weeks ago my wife saw what she thought was two herons fighting in a tree. We’ve seen great blues do a lot of things over the years. Never been able to get to a rockery to see nesting.

    Always thought it be to far to go to see one.

    Low and behold we have two possibly three nest on a small island about two miles from home.

    We sat back and watched the show.  It was very noisy very physical courtship dance. That ended with a pair sitting on a branch next to each other, we waited for the male to light a cigarette  for the female.

    Wished I had a long long lens. my camera just doesn’t reach out as far as I would like, but do they ever?

    Will keep my one good eye out for chicks.


    Its spring and it’s breeding time.

    But they are nesting there. Will seen you some pix in near future, if there is anything good.

    • Hi Mo, thanks for visiting and commenting again, good to hear from you, and good to hear that you are birding again. Wonderful that you have been able to observe GBH courtship displays and that your small island supports some nests. I giggled at your remark about the male lighting a cigarette for his mate, very cool, fun observation! Good luck watching them in the months ahead.

  9. Great post and I too, am looking forward to getting back into a kayak! Happy Easter!

    • Hi Cynthia – so glad you like it. I think all of the northern-based kayakers are starting to breathe sighs of relief now that spring seems to be settling in at long last!

  1. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: A Thing of Beauty | Lost in Translation

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