Beautiful Great Blue Heron and an Unusual Boat Garden
Sometimes no matter how well a photographer plans, the wildlife model has others ideas, and this was one of those times.
Totally unaware of the fledgling great blue heron beside the boat garden stalking him with increasing speed and determination, the yearling heron plied the shoreline. Perhaps it was his curiosity about the fire pit on the lake-front beach that led him to put his guard down?
One of my favorite locations for photographing herons is this partly-sunken boat “garden.” Every year, the property owners plant a different crop and it is a delight in late spring or early summer to see what is growing. One year the boat contained tubs of cherry tomatoes that looked delectable when fully ripe, the bright red of the fruit promising sweetness. In other years, the focus is flowers, like the gladiolus here.
Whenever I paddle to that area of the lake to see how that garden is doing, I try for heron photos with the boat garden. Photographing them there is tricky because the angle of the sun is good for only a short while each day: it’s in the shadows in the morning and for much of the afternoon the light is too harsh. Even when the light is good, of course there’s no guarantee that there will be any herons around.
That day, I was in luck – a yearling great blue heron foraged along the shore to the north of the boat garden. Most great blues follow a consistent direction when fishing along the shore. Just like “mall walkers” who get their exercise by walking a circuit around a mall before the shops open, herons generally pick a direction and follow that direction. That day, it was looking good because the yearling was heading down the shore in the direction of the boat garden – a photo op in the making!
But sometimes no matter how well a photographer plans, the wildlife model has others ideas, and this was one of those times. The yearling heron lazily worked his way up to the boat and just when I was ready for shots of the heron moving along in front of the boat, it ducked behind the stern, instead, and proceeded south, obscured by the towering gladiolus in the boat!
Anticipating that the yearling would eventually emerge from behind the boat garden, I shifted my focus towards the south and waited for the heron to catch up.
Suddenly, I heard a slight rustle overhead. I looked up and saw a fledgling great blue heron perching on a limb directly over the beach where the other heron was curiously investigating the fire pit.
The fledgling swooped out of the canopy and landed just to the north of the boat garden and suddenly took on a territorial posture. This was the first time I had seen a fledgling put a genuine territorial display to use against an older, larger heron.
With his back feathers erect, the fledgling strutted down the shore towards the yearling, who was engrossed with the fire pit. A few moments after the photo shown above, though, the older heron caught sight of the aggressive fledgling bearing down on him and burst from the sand out over the water, heading southwest.
The fledgling, having proved his mettle and securing both the beach and his status as an alpha bird, relaxed his pose and spent several minutes exploring the boat garden before eventually flying off to the north.
What a thrilling experience to see a very young great blue heron assert dominance over an older and larger heron.
The fabulous Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on Gardens this week. Sincerely, I don’t know how they consistently produce such in-depth posts week-in-and-week-out and the same goes for Cee’s many challenges: I especially appreciate Cee’s “Hunt for Joy” theme.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 147: Gardens .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 147: Gardens .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 147: Gardens .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 147: Gardens .
And thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.
From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on 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.
Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
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.
During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
The Tao of Feathers™
© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Posted on May 11, 2021, in Art, daily prompt, Fun with Herons, Great Blue Heron, Humor, Nature, postaday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged # Lens-Artists, heron, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, postaday, TCAN, WPC. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.