Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Swimming Deer?
The subtle shift in the tilt of the Great Blue Heron’s head alerted me to an unseen presence.
The Great Blue Heron perched, stationary and gazing off to the east under half-closed eyes, and I sensed that she was going to go to sleep standing there.
It was mid-morning, her early fishing and feeding done. The log next to the blooming pickerel weed made a quiet resting place.
She was unmoving, serene, a study in tranquility, and those qualities were once again contagious – I felt the peacefulness of the space we share, as I always do in the presence of Herons.
Half an hour elapsed when a shift in the tilt of her head signaled that she was alert and watching something on the opposite shore. Lulled into a sense of complacency, I thought that it was probably just the Irish Setter I had noticed ambling along when I paddled into the cove that morning.
The Heron stiffened upright suddenly, as though coiled for action. Something, intuition perhaps, told me it wasn’t an Irish Setter at all. Maybe the Fox I’d photographed there a few years earlier was back!
Holding my breath, I stared through the lens directly into the eyes of – not an Irish Setter nor a Fox – a large, mature Deer, a first-ever Deer sighting in the cove.
For forty-five minutes, the three of us shared the lower cove. The Deer watched the Heron during breaks in munching tender leafy bushes, but didn’t seem aware of me. The Heron also didn’t pay any attention to me, but watched the Deer intently, at one point flying about ten feet for a closer look.
And me? I watched both Deer and Heron with my heart on my sleeve.
Time stood still as I put the camera down and peered through my higher-magnification binoculars. I soaked in those enormous soulful eyes, the tickly-looking whiskers, and the adorable ears that seemed to swivel with their own sense of direction, the better to hear us with as the children’s fable says.
The encounter ended as all such wildlife-human encounters should end, utterly without drama: nobody spooked or flushed anybody.
The Deer finished munching greens, turned and sauntered softly back into the woods.
The Great Blue Heron stared after the Deer for a long while, and then once again took up her perch on the log.
And I, still wordless from the wonder of what had just unfolded, paddled on to the next lake, smiling all the way.
Fast forward ten months
Silent as a whisper, the Deer
Poem by Babsje
What of last summer’s Doe
Who watched from the shore
The Heron preening,
Ears attuned for movement,
Then ambled off into the ferns?
That was long ago –
Before that bad winter
Took so much.
She bowed to nibble
Columbine and hosta
On the far shore.
And swam home.
In less than a minute
Water sluiced from her shoulders
Her heavy udders,
Then she was gone
Silent as a whisper
Fast forward four more months.
Between the first Deer encounter and the second one ten months later, the Polar Vortex had brought devastating, vicious cold.
Seeing a Deer swimming after the killing colds of winter was thrilling.
Viewing the photos on download was heartwarming: the Deer was the same one I had seen one day that previous summer. She had survived that harsh winter, and she had apparently given birth in the interim.
Four months later, the last photo of that Doe with her Fawn, brings great joy.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Going Wide. Here’s the wide shot of the swimming Deer:
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.
My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.
TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
Natick Town Hall
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
May the Muse be with you.™
The Tao of Feathers™
© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, White Tailed Deer
Posted on September 18, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Deer, Heron, Mindfulness, Nature, Photo Essay, Wildlife Photography and tagged #6WS, #fivecrows, #LAPC, CFFC, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, TCAN. Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.