Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Habitat (Not Art Nbr 12)

© Babsje (

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

The fine was levied: $103,000. $1,000 a day for 103 days in violation of the court order. The scene above can never be photographed again.

It was heartbreaking to discover the habitat destruction on my first kayak outing this spring. Generations of Great Blue Herons had used that tree in all seasons – fishing in the waters below, sunning for warmth on autumn mornings, sleeping soundly on one leg. I’d been photographing them there for more than a decade. Each morning on the water, I would raise binoculars to scan that tree for a Heron, but not any longer. Training the binocs on that spot brings only sadness, not sightings of the Great Blues and Green Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, and the Turtles often seen there.

While Massachusetts owns the lake and its waters, there are some privately-held properties along areas of the shores. The owner of the property behind the beautiful partly submerged tree shown here illegally cleared land and removed trees after bulldozing the former home on the site. After clearing the land, he brought in an excavator and swept that beautiful tree and others from the water. Someone called the police who caught him red-handed, but it was too late to save that lovely corner of the cove.

His plan? To construct three new homes for some international buyers – people with no great love for the lake, no appreciation and no respect for the wildlife that calls the cove their home. Last fall the court put him on notice that the fine for continuing to desecrate the area was $1,000 a day, but he persisted. This spring, he was assessed $103,000 for the violations, and a new fine of $25,000 a day was imposed for any continued damage.

Shifting gears a bit, one day years ago, a bookcase at home was moved from a hallway to the living room. When I came home from work that night, Phoebe the calico cat greeted me at the door and immediately led me in the direction of where the bookcase had been. She sat there in that spot, as though pointing out to me that it was gone. Another time, a friend’s cat, Minnie, greeted me at their front door and purposely led me up the stairs to show me her new kittens, nestled in the bottom drawer of a bedroom dresser.

So it was that a week ago, one of the Herons showed me that the tree was gone.

Animals and birds can recognize individual humans, and some of the Herons recognize me after all these years. (While I am a huge proponent of taking photographs from a hide or when well-hidden from view, there are places on the lake and rivers here were simply navigating makes my presence known to the wildlife.)

That morning, the adult female Great Blue watched from her perch along the south bank as my kayak curved across the channel towards the tunnel. Suddenly, she swooped across my bow and headed towards where that tree had been. She landed on the shore at that very spot, and stood there staring at me. I have no doubt that she was showing me that her tree was gone… but she was still here.

© Babsje (

Great Blue Heron by Habitat Destroyed – babsjeheron


Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Delta. The top “before’ and the bottom “after” photos are stark examples of the nature of change.

From now through July 13th, I am a Featured Artist 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.

From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2017 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Posted on July 2, 2017, in ardea herodias, Art, Bird photography, DPchallenge, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. How sad. It’s truly a shame that people don’t think of the repercussions their actions have.

    • Many thanks for your good observation. To paraphrase those musical luminaries Loggins & Messina, “What does it avail a man, to gain a fortune and lose his birds.” Best, Babsje

  2. So sad about the destruction of the natural habitat. Some people just don’t seem to care, especially when there’s money involved.

    • Thanks for your kind words. It is pure greed that motivates some people. Habitat destruction can happen naturally, such as the August 2015 microburst that toppled the nesting island tree, nest and all. But when it happens by the hand of man, it is less easily understood or forgiven. Best, Babsje

  3. It is horrible the way some people cannot see beyond their profit target. But life and the herons go on, and we have the great pleasure of sharing in a little of this through you, Babsje. Thank you for watchful eye.

    • Thanks Tish for your insights. You’re correct, the Herons do go on and on. They are resilient and have been around for millennia in one guise or another. I remind myself of that when most tempted by worst-case-scenario thinking. Best, Babsje

  4. This is devastationg news and all for the sakw of money – greed. At least the Heron’s aresafe even their tree is not there.

    • Hi Margaret – Yes, you’re correct. At least the herons are safe, even if that corner of the cove is has been destroyed. For many weeks, I despaired of seeing the Herons in that area, until last week. They are resilient and I love them all the more for that. Thanks for your kind words. Best, Babsje

  5. I am wordless. It seems one beautiful place after another disappears in the name of greed. Instead of endless wilderness, there is no more. But I am glad the herons are adapting and yes, I have had birds often show me what I or someone else has done.

    • Hi Lisa – Many thanks for your kind words. You’re so right. Also, thanks for letting me know that you, too, have had birds show you things. I’d love to hear more about some of those happenings. Best, Babsje

  6. Thx for the update . . . a truly horrible story of greed. I do hope the fine is collected.

    • Thanks for your empathetic words. The views of the property on satellite images are so shocking – they bring to mind the old strip mining photos from decades ago. The area all around is lushly green, with a slash of barren brown dirt where one were trees and grasses. i understand that his intention is to appeal the fine, so it may be years before a resolution is reached. Best, Babsje

  7. Great photo of the herron.I love this birds to.

  8. It is very sad. Fines do not seem to bother those with enough money to throw away. They come in and destroy natures gifts without a thought to the lives of all those living and enjoying the area. Just because their money bought a temporary piece of property doesn’t mean they should come in and clearcut, ignore the laws, and destroy the land without any consideration of all those living in that community for decades before them. They forget that one day they too will die and their property will be bought by another or left for nature to once again thrive. It is the way in which they go about this. Generally I’ll notice a dirt trail into the woods and will remark that someone is clearcutting back there. People riding with me will think I’m ranting. Then within the year there is a paved road and houses in the back that are clearly seen once the remaining trees along the road are cut. I am seeing this happen in the Adirondacks – forever wild – that is what is in the law. Big money can come and take over anything – buy politicians and local board members with big promises that are never met. The other day on one of the dirt roads into the woods I witnessed a very large timber truck pulling out filled to the brim with logs heading north. From the road one would only notice the deeply entrenched tracks heading into the woods. With the pile on that truck we can only imagine the destruction hidden behind the wall of trees blocking the view behind them. Sorry for my rant but I’m feeling your pain! One thing to remember is nature always wins in the end. Those of us who love nature need to purchase large tracts of forest and hold them in trust for the future. Love and Light!

    • Many thanks for your thought-provoking comment – I found it moving, poignant and true. This property owner is enmeshed in the house that Greed built. He has been sued by his neighbors and by the Town, and has counter-sued where possible. It is a waste of the Land and a waste of $$. And of the wildlife. Your own stories of trails in the woods of the Adirondacks are a sad harbinger of things to come. Best, Babsje

  9. Oh, bless! Nice to know you’re loved by that heron, Babs, but isn’t it wicked what people will do for profit?

    • Hi Jo – Many thanks, I couldn’t agree with you more. You’re right – I do so love the Herons. It is gratifying that they tolerate my presence on their lake. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I always wear the same outfit when on the water with them. I have 5 identical long-sleeved rash-guard tops in the same color, same hat, etc. and of course use the same boat. I think that consistency over the years helps them identify me over time, just as I can identify them. Best, Babsje

  10. Your story just breaks my heart. I have zero tolerance for people like that. I do hope those beautiful herons find a better home where they can find peace. 😟

    • Many thanks for your empathetic comment, Linda. His destruction of that corner of the cove was shocking and appalled those of us who love the wildlife who called that area their home. The Herons are resilient and have moved to different areas nearby but that is not a huge consolation for the destroyed beauty that was. Best, Babsje

      • He obviously has more money than anything else. With fines like that and he continues to destroy the area, it’s nothing but selfishness. He obviously cares for nothing.

        • Thanks for your great observation, Linda. Yes, he has more money than wisdom, or even than common sense. My understanding is that he has not paid the fines and is appealing them. I would imagine that interest would be accruing, and it could be substantial by the time things wend their way through the courts. Best, Babsje

  11. So sad that the herons lost their corner of the cove but glad they’re still around.

    While Colorado has a closer “relationship” with developers, fortunately the permitting process slows things down a bit for a review on new development. A freeway expansion project was halted due to the presence of a small colony of a rare field mouse species some 20+ years ago. Though the mouse colony moved to another location on their own, that piece of land wanted for the expansion has become open space. The developer determined the land would needed too much backfill for road expansion or anything else. The company donated the land to Nature Conservancy. So, if the mouse colony moves back to their original field, there’d be no hassles.

    • Hi David – Many thanks for your interesting comment about that rare mouse colony – what a happy ending for them, and the Nature Conservancy is one of the best organizations. Here, the developer was initially granted a permit to raze a house on the property, but then far exceeded the scope of that permit. Best, Babsje

  12. That was so sweet that Minnie wanted to show you her kittens! Both Phoebe and the Blue wondered why their environment had changed?

    • Yes, it was amazingly sweet, thanks Wayne. I loved Minnie and Phoebe and of course that Blue. Well all of the Great Blues. I never met a Blue I didn’t like.

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