Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Calm Before the Storm (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 11)

© Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Sleeping Calmly Before the Storm – babsjeheron

With one eyelid partly open, the Great Blue Heron slept perched on one leg as the kayak slowly drifted past. Heron eyelids close from the bottom up – unlike ours – and they can sleep with an eye slightly open, as a cat will do.

It was exciting to discover where this Heron sleeps, and I took care to stay a healthy distance away as I paddled towards a natural hide in the trees along the shore. Was she aware of my presence across the cove? Perhaps. If she was, she didn’t let on.

Rain was in the forecast, and the lake deserted, calm and serene.

I floated onward to a favorite cove in search of that Heron’s mate. The cove is a narrow finger of water, with thick tree canopy on either side, making it difficult to see the sky for much of the length of the cove.

I was following the other Great Blue from a distance with a telephoto lens and noticed a lot of those plinking circles on the water’s surface that insects and nymphs make.

Belatedly, I realized it wasn’t insects making those circles – it was raindrops.

Quickly, I put my camera it its dry bag, stashed it below decks and paddled rapidly for the boathouse.

When I exited the cove, my kayak was SLAMMED broadside by the fiercest winds I’ve ever experienced – easily gusting greater that 50mph, if not an actual microburst. In moments of heart-pounding terror, I was sure my kayak was going to slam onto the jagged rocks and then roll.

Paddling as though my life depended on it, I steadied the kayak long enough to make it to the mouth of a tunnel, but there was a large powerboat inside, headed straight towards me, and another kayak on the left. The powerboat cut engines and managed to stop along the tunnel wall. He found a handhold in a seam of the concrete the way a rock climber grabs finger-width holds. I snugged my kayak as close to his bow as possible and another motor boat swung in behind me. The three of us waited out the vicious storm together, watching the winds blow sideways at alarming with alarming power.

When the storm abated sufficiently that it was safe to head in, we all did.

And the two Herons? I don’t know where or how they shelter, I just know they came through the storm and were back at their usual territories the next day.

I love happy endings.

Thanks to Cherie and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Bridge. My place of refuge from the harrowing storm was a tunnel below a bridge of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

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 7, 2017, in ardea herodias, Art, Audubon, Bird photography, DPchallenge, Great Blue Heron, Nature, Photography, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. A very nice take on thus week’s theme, and a lovely picture of the heron.

    • Hi Margaret. Thanks for your kind comment. Glad you liked It. It is serendipitous about the WPC bridge theme this week: I wrote this post before I was aware of the theme. Best, Babsje

  2. Love your take on the challenge and I have to say, I was really worried something would happen to your lense in the kayak! – Sorry, weird priorities I know 🙈

    • I’m glad you like this one, many thanks for your kind words. Your priorities about my lens match my oen priorities – the first thing I did was put on the lens cap and stash the camera in a dry bag below deck. Five years ago the camera got drenched when my kayak was swamped by the wake of a larger boat. After 3 days immersion in a vat of dry rice, it was almost good as new, luckily. Best, Babsje

  3. I like happy endings too! Glad you found a safe harbor. I didn’t know about the heron’s eyelids.

    • I’m glad you like this one. Thanks for your kind words. It was a huge relief to take shelter in that tunnel and I was happy to have the other boats for company. Heron eyelids are very interesting and can make them look mysterious. I’ll have to post some in close-up at some point. Best, Babsje

  4. Wow, what a heart-pounding experience! I’m glad you came through unscathed, and the herons too. I wonder how they react to such forces of nature. Whatever they do, I am glad it works well for them. I’m enjoying your posts – it seemed that you were not posting for quite some time and I really missed you & your wonderful photos. Happy paddling and happy photographing!

    • Many thanks for your kind comment and words of support. I’m glad you like this one and the Herons, too. They must have incredible grip strength with their talons to hold fast when those extreme winds blow. And thanks for noticing my absence this spring. I’m glad to be back out on the water with the Herons! Best, Babsje

  5. I’ve missed your posts. I haven’t been receiving notice of them, maybe because I took a break from blogging for awhile? Anyway, nice to reconnect with you and your birds and your kayak and your stories.

    • Hi Deb – Great to hear from you and to reconnect, thanks for your kind words. I noticed a couple of your posts just today and felt happy to see that you’re back – I, too, had taken a break of a few months earlier this year, and then on my first kayak outing, I cracked a rib, which is all healed. Looking forward to more of your explorations from the National Parks. Best, Babsje

  6. So glad your adventure had a happy ending, Babsje. Great photos of the GBH.

  7. Rofl great comment! Cards and beer and we would’ve been all set.

  8. So you ended up having a tunnel party. Anyone bring cards?
    Must have been terrifying in such a small craft! Wind is my bane on the water! No good comes from it.
    Very happy you escaped Davey Jones.

    • Oops I hit send too soon. Yes it was horrifying. I was terrified of being crushed by the power boats but they probably saved my life. Nobody predicted that squall at all. What is the worst wind you’ve experienced?

      • I was going up Tofino inlet on Chrstmas day in a Lifetimer. The aluminum boat was 20 feet long with a 60 Hp. To drive it one stood at the helm.
        There was a huge outflow wind going on that day but I was bound and determined to make it to the end! The waves were 4 footers with terrific wind gusts!
        I hit one bad patch of waves at the same time the wind hit me making the boat stand almost vertically! When It came back down I turned the boat quickly around and headed back to safety!
        Very stupid to challenge Nature!

        • That sounds terrifying and you are lucky to be alive! Vertical in a 20 footer with the weight of that outboard motor and four footers plus that wind?? You must have superb boat handling skills to recover from that. Wow. Happy you got out of there in one piece. The weather can be so fickle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: