Great Blue Heron’s Guest Bird of the Day: Beautiful Swan Taking a Bath

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

The Swan, Excerpt.
Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

© Babsje (

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – babsjeheron


The secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

That Saturday, I was tired, and the journey back to the home dock would take another hour and a half. I had already bagged a fair number of Great Blue Heron captures and was eager to take out.

From a distance, I gave a passing glance at the southern shoreline and saw the usual pair of Mute Swans floating in their usual spot, and so I paddled on.

Rounding the curve below the Labs, coming closer to the Swans, I noticed an odd-looking thrashing and splashing unlike any Sawn behavior I’d seen before.

Binoculars up, I sat transfixed, watching from across the channel as one of the Swans took a Saturday bath. Amazing.

Many of us have seen Robins, or Warblers, or other small songbirds splashing about in a backyard garden birdbath. Now, imagine a bird with a 7-to-8 foot wingspan behaving just the same – dunking their head and neck fully below the surface, coming back up to shake off the water, rearing up on legs, wings akimbo flapping and expelling droplets galore, and preening, preening, preening to sort out feathers. The Swan’s bath lasted more than 15 minutes. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

And so, as I said before, the secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

View other large birds bathing: Red Tailed Hawks aka Beauteous Buteo and a Great Blue Heron aka Rubber Ducky You’re the One.

For the months of September and October, the Great Blue Herons are featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA. Feel free to stop in during office hours Monday thru Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am – 12:30 pm

From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

Thanks to Cee for her recent WPC: Black & White Challenge. The Mute Swan bathing beauty turned in gentle circles for more than 15 minutes taking that Saturday bath. It was mesmerizing. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Paula for her earlier WPC: Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. This bridge and tunnel are from days gone by, using ingenious technology of the earlier era.
Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

Through July 13, 2017 I was 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.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, B&W

Posted on September 30, 2018, in Art, B&W, Black & White Sunday, Black and White Photo Challenge, Cee's Black & White Challenge, Great Blue Heron, Monochrome Madness Challenge, Monochrome Monday, Photography challenge, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Black and white really highlights everything you say and saw. Thanks for the pause that led to this.

  2. Beautiful in black and white! 🙂

  3. Gorgeous capture, beautiful words.

  4. Wonderful light and motion. Not sure I have figured out what beauty is for, but it sure is nice to be in the right spot to see it from time to time. Thanks for the serene share of this moment.

    • Many thanks, Judy. I know what you mean about beauty. I love that Mary Oliver poem, one of my favorite favorites. It is pleasing that this Swan photo worked out. My lens is slow and white subjects rarely work for me. Unlike your own gorgeous white Egret photos that are always beautiful. There’s that word again, beauty. Glad you like this one. Best, Babsje

      • Thanks for sliding that compliment in there for me!! 🙂 I have missed getting out in to nature very much the last couple years, but feel poised to get back out with the new upcoming season later in the Fall!! Thank you!

        • You’re welcome. I’m not prone to “envy” at all, but if I were, I would envy you your nearness to that park/sanctuary/rookery. Your Egrets and Egret chicks over the years have been stunning. One thing I learned from reading you a few years ago is to not post our “most special” photos online. I can only imagine the beauties in your secret stash. Looking forward to seeing more from you as the fall progresses. Best, Babsje

          • In truth I probably don’t entirely take all of my own best advice as the temptation to share beautiful things is great!! The old head vs heart thing I suppose.

            • I totally get that. It’s a bit like that for me sometimes. What I do if I have a series taken in a row, is to find the best and hold it back and then I publish the second-best or even the third-best. Non sequitur question: are you still using Alamy?

              • I do have postings on Alamy however it has not to date been financially productive. It could be my subjects are too plentiful in the photographic world and it could be that I don’t have outlets that might lead customers to look for me there…just the subject searches. I think they are respectful of their artists though.

                • I think stock art is difficult because there are now so many sites out there. Your photos are very good and it’s probably a matter of competition based on the topic. I have never attempted to sell any of mine online, either from my blog or from stock sites but I do know or a UK-based nature photographer who has used Alamy for years with pretty good success. Have you ever tried approaching any local interior designers? When they are pulling together a “look” for their clients, they are sometimes interested in incorporating original art pieces. Just an off the wall thought. Love your post from today on the fern theme. Best, Babsje

                  • Not such an off the wall thought really. Yeah with places like Fotolia and the Photo Dollar Store etc, so much is available so inexpensively. The only reason to pay more from a commercial standpoint I think may be to have an exclusive on an image. I’ve seen the same images in ads for completely different companies with just changes in the shirt color on the model. What I seem to like most are bird portraits as someone might paint.

  5. The grace of participating with the divine. Swans are like angels playing. Thank you.

  6. A gorgeous photo, as always 😀

    • Hi Cee, you say the kindest things. Thanks for letting me take part in your inspiring challenges. I don’t know where you find so many spectacular flowers for each day. Best, Babsje

  7. wat een fantastische foto

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment, I’m glad you like this one.. And pleasantly pleased to understand the Dutch words at first glance! Best, Babsje

  8. The swan looks so utterly angelic surrounded by the spray and droplets. Beautiful.

  9. This is a wonderful ritual

  10. Mooi die badende zwaan.Volgende post bij mij zal morgen heel veel reiger foto’s tonen.

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