Great Egret for Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

Egret lunging from the shore to catch a fish - babsjeheron. © Babsje (

Egret lunging from the shore to catch a fish – babsjeheron

The fisherman and the Egret stared at each other. Clearly, the fisherman was the more surprised of the two.

He didn’t miss a beat, though, following through on the cast he had just played out with a flick of his wrist.

Soundlessly, he reeled in a small fish, and as though guided by instinct, he unhooked it and tossed it back…

Back Into the waters directly in front of the Egret, who lunged after it in an explosion of white, wings-akimbo, feathers flying.

Egret flips fish into her bill.

Egret flips fish inside her bill – babsjeheron.

Nature presents us with scenes of exquisite beauty.

When it comes to wildlife photography, so many of those experiences are never caught with a camera. Wildlife is shy and fast and elusive and unpredictable. Weather conditions don’t always cooperate. Digital film cards fill up at inopportune moments. Lens caps left on the camera inadvertently cause missed shots. Sunlight can be too bright or too dim. Insensitive gawkers scare off the wild creatures. I could go on and on.

On this day, however, the universe conspired with the Egret and fisherman and served up a tasty morsel for the Egret, and an unexpected photo opportunity for me there along the shoreline.

Egret submerges her head to land a fish - babsjeheron.   © Babsje (

Egret submerges her head to land a fish – babsjeheron

It was thrilling to watch these two interacting, fishing man and fishing bird. How I wanted to be fishing with them, fish fishing instead of camera fishing. How I wanted a fish, myself, to toss to the Egret like the fisherman, who was practicing catch and release. How I wanted to know the feeling of the bird coming to me for a fish, the way Border Collie Rogue gambols up for a Milk Bone at the boathouse.

Just once.

But that would be wrong.

Which brings me back around to catch and release fishing. I’m sure that for as long as man has been trying to catch fish throughout the millennia, opportunistic birds have been trying to get man’s leftovers. Is there ever a fishing trawler that pulls into port without a flock of birds trailing along after it’s stern? How about the gulls circling and lurking above the sea walls up and down our coasts where anglers try their luck? It’s not the fishermen’s fault – the birds are very smart.

Egret fishing intently - babsjeheron.   © Babsje (

Egret fishing intently – babsjeheron.

There is a socialization between man and wild bird that has been taking place for eons, whether we’re aware of it or not, whether we like it or not. Speaking for myself, I am a little disheartened when I hear photographers talk about how tame the birds are in such-and-such a place and encourage others to come on down to see the tame birds up close.

There in the cove that day, I felt torn. While the photographer that I am was thrilled by the photo op served up, I felt concerned to see this magnificent Egret so very tame. It wasn’t the fisherman’s fault – I’m sure that Egret has been panhandling fish for a long time. The Egret has been lucky so far, but the risk of being snagged by a wayward fishhook from a poorly-cast line is real. The risk of being entangled in fishing line is very real, as I blogged in the story of a Great Blue Heron ensnared by fishing line: Happy Ending to Beautiful Great Blue Heron Rescue .

And so I love this gorgeous, graceful Egret as an artist loves all of her models, but I can’t help thinking: wild birds needs to be just that to survive safely.



This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “Interesting Architecture.” One of the boathouses has interesting architecture. During the late 19th century, canoeing was very popular in the area. The boathouse building shown was previously a police station and jail! Amazing architecture for a 19th century jail.

Charles River Boathouse - babsjeheron © Babsje (

Charles River Boathouse – babsjeheron


Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons and Egrets bring joy.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture.


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 a half and they need your love more than ever.

Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

Please join Natick Artists on November 13 on Zoom from 2-5 pm ET for a Virtual Exhibition & Sale. The Natick Artists deferred their scheduled Open Studios until Spring 2022 due to COVID, but didn’t want to wait to see you again. They’re all looking forward to sharing artwork with you in this safe virtual environment. Zoom link: November 13 2-5pm ET


My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
Natick Town Hall
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
Audubon Sanctuary

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.


Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on November 10, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Egret, Fishing, Heron, Nature, Photo Essay, Photography, Wildlife Photography, Wordless Wednesday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. What a great post, and beautiful images. It is a reminder of how many wild birds in coastal areas are subject to entanglement in pursuit of a free meal.

    When I lived on the east coast I had gone to a causeway to photograph some sea birds. While I was positioning my camera a couple of guys standing on the shoreline were fishing when one cast his line at the same time a great blue heron was flying by. It panicked and the line wound tighter. I was heart broken as that beautiful bird began to struggle to free itself. Fortunately, the two fisherman were mindful enough to take the time to untangle the line and cut the bird free. So many birds in coastal areas are habituated, it’s a pretty significant problem with no clear solution.

    • Hi Laura. Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment and for sharing your own story with a happy ending for that Great Blue Heron. Wonderful action by those fishermen to untangle the Great Blue. Best, Babsje

  2. If you want to se conditioned birds just visit any dump Babsje. Workers/machinery move about with hundreds of birds around them. They follow the bulldozer or wait for the next load to be dumped. You’ll see Eagles,Ravens,Gulls and maybe a few Bruins wandering about.
    Racoons hang around humans because they are not dumb. They know when and where dinner is served.

    • Hi Wayne. Great comment, thanks. You’re right. We’re on the same page about birds – I wrote “opportunistic birds have been trying to get man’s leftovers. Is there ever a fishing trawler that pulls into port without a flock of birds trailing along after it’s stern? How about the gulls circling and lurking above the sea walls up and down our coasts where anglers try their luck?” I know of a photographer who’s favorite location is a big landfill dump. It’s the fishermen who are careless with their lines that concern me the most. The only dead Great Blue Heron I have ever seen was nearly skeletal with fishing line wrapped about neck, wing and foot – foot most likely from trying to claw ire way free. Heartbreaking. But like you say – they are opportunistic and very smart birds. Best, Babsje

  3. Now that’s what I call and interesting architectural transformation Babsje! thanks for joining us this week.

    • Hi Tina. Thanks so much for saying that. It really is a fascinating boat house on a great stretch of water. At one point I considered kayaking to my office in Waltham by launching there in Newton. What a commute that would have been. Best, Babsje

  4. I enjoyed the egret sequence. Great photos.

  5. The boathouse looks almost identical to the one in Vancouver. Interesting! I also enjoyed your photos and thoughts on keeping the “wild” in wildlife.

    • Hi Patti. Thanks for.your kind words. The boathouse is similar to Vancouver’s? That’s very cool. Were you there for the tornado and hail storm last weekend? That sounded pretty rare for Vancouver. I’m pleased that you appreciate this one. Best, Babsje

  6. Oh my, that wingspan! Magnificent

  7. Well done. The egret has angel-like wings. No (r)egrets…

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