All They’re Cracked Up To Be
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
So, about the title of this post. While it definitely applies to the Great Blue Herons’ adventures, in this case it’s something much closer to home: my ribs. I’d love to be able to write that I cracked my ribs in some great daring adventure, but the truth is more prosaic.
What definitely was an adventure, however, was the recent photo shoot for the heron shown here.
People who know my photography know that I’m a big proponent of photographing while concealed within a “hide” to avoid interfering with wildlife. On this particular day, I was in a natural-cover hide along the northern shoreline. The water levels in the lake are about four feet below normal for this time of year, and so I was able to get the kayak snugged deeper under the branches yet closer to the collapsed pile of fallen white pines.
I had settled in, waiting for the heron to make her daily appearance, and she did, right on schedule. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was that the heron would also settle in on that particular log, so close to my hiding place. The heron truly settled in, and actually started to nap, dropping her head and neck til they were resting against her upper chest, then drooping her eyelids shut. Every so often she would startle a bit, jerk her head up, then drift back off to sleep.
At one point, I realized the wake from a passing boat had caused my kayak to drift even further under the branches, the leaves obscuring my line of sight. There wasn’t enough room to maneuver with my paddle, and the flashing of the blade might have alerted the heron to my presence, so I scooted lower and lower into the cockpit of the kayak to keep the heron in the frame. Eventually, even that position became fruitless and I had only one choice: call it a day.
No, wait, a second option occurred to me, and so I maneuvered myself mostly out of the cockpit by crawling onto the bow deck. The kayak was in about six inches of water there, so rolling wasn’t a threat, although getting swamped by waves was a possibility. Ignoring the likelihood of a big boat wake crashing over the bow, I rested prone on my elbows, with my PFD accidentally caught securely by an overhanging branch behind me. I rocked the boat gently from side to side to test our stability and then quickly squeezed off a few photos of the resting heron, including the one shown here.
Getting myself back into the kayak cockpit afterwards was an adventure in and of itself, and I’m pleased to have been able to back-paddle the kayak out of the hide without alerting or flushing the heron, who continued to doze on the log.
Needless to say I won’t be clambering out onto the bow of a boat any time soon, cracked ribs and all.
But that’s ok.
Enjoying the herons’ adventures vicariously is more than enough adventure for now.
This week’s photo challenge is adventure. Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for this topic.
Thanks again to Paula for hosting her wonderful Thursday’s Special non-challenge.
Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.
Thanks to the kind folks at Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday 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. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking
Posted on September 11, 2014, in ardea herodias, Art, Audubon, Birds, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography, Wordless Wednesday and tagged great blue heron, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.