Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Surprise!
I awoke today and found
the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky
then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
and all the trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going…
Urge for Going
It was November, and for the first time since early summer, I took the red kayak out for a paddle in the backyard lake.
It was exciting to catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron in flight from the corner of my eye. He veered towards the small island in the cove at the eastern end, landed, and then slipped quickly into the brush and marshy reeds, just out of sight.
Slowly, surreptitiously, I paddled along the opposite shoreline on an eastward course, parallel to the shore of the small island, opposite the side where he had taken cover.
The paddling was tricky, the small wind-driven waves a challenge for the flat-bottomed whitewater kayak.
Slowly, I eased into position in a natural-cover hide, stern backed against a stand of reeds for stability, and craned my neck to get into position, binocs raised.
I wanted to see which of the two Herons from last summer it was – one had long graceful breeding plumes dangling from the back of it’s cap, the other did not – but the sticks and shrubs perfectly camouflaged the Heron lurking in the brush.
At last, slowly, the Heron crept forward into a stand of reeds at the tip of the island.
I could just barely see a glint of the white and yellow patch on its face, just above the bill, but the neck and body were obscured.
I held my breath and watched and waited, binocs trained on the reeds, trying so hard to keep the kayak motionless, looking for any telltale riffling motion or parting of the reeds that would give a better view of the Heron.
And then the Heron emerged and stood motionless.
His watchfulness was palpable.
Cautiously, he stepped closer to the water’s edge, and I trained the binocs on his neck for the telltale plumes, and then it dawned on me.
This was neither of the previous summer’s Herons.
It was a new Great Blue Heron.
An immature, clearly a fledgling born just a few months earlier.
I took it all in through the binocs, elation blooming by the second: the dark blueblack feather cap, the dark bill, the ruddy feathers…
We stayed together for about half an hour, the Heron feeding and preening and feeding again, and ruffling and shaking the water from its feathers from head to toe just like a wet dog shakes it off.
Then I turned the kayak back towards home so the Heron could feed in peace as long as it could, with the cold weather coming. What a lovely paddle it was.
No immature Herons at all were sighted at the big lake that year.
How very wonderful to know the brood succeeded here at home.
Wordless joy to behold.
Because it was already November, the Great Blue Herons soon would have an urge for going. A few days later, the eastern end of the small lake was still, and bathed in golden autumn light. The trees were already bare, and the reeds and grasses shone bronzed by the sun. It was dead calm on the water, not a whisper of a breeze and the water’s surface was mirror-smooth.
Mirror-smooth, until the fledgling took flight.
The vibration of the heron’s feet moving in the water created a pattern of ripples breaking the calm. The angle of the light played subtly upon the ripples, bouncing back upwards underneath the Heron. If you look closely at the underside of the back wing in the top photo here, you can see the light-colored, horizontal stripes softly patterning the feathers with subtle stripes.
I like when that happens, when ripples or waves reflect on Great Blue Heron feathers.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Dawn Miller, Marsha Ingrao, 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 Patti is “Shapes and Designs.” The public art in town features many custom mosaic installations created by the amazing mosaic artist Carol Krentzman
The mosaic at left is called “We the People.” The tile work shown in the mosaics here features a variety of intricate hand crafted shapes and designs. Arching over the mosaic are the words: “We the People Have a Dream of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness with Kindness Equality Respect Tolerance Education Freedom and Justice for All”.
The mosaic at center in the above photo – “History of Natick Mural” – is 12 feet high and 64 inches wide. It is estimated to include 6,000 tiles.
The mosaic at right called “Smiling Faces” was created by Carol Krentzman with Amy R Steinmetz’ designs and stands 12’H x 54″W.
Another example of Public Art mosaic works are these charming vignettes of children by Carol Krentzman, titled “As Trees Give Life to Their Branches” Community Mosaic Project, Six Outdoor Arched Panels
Thanks to Cee and Marsha for their jointly hosted PPAC from Marsha: Photographing Public Art Challenge. And here’s PPAC from Cee: Photographing Public Art Challenge.
Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . The grasses and reeds along the shore have turned golden brown like straw.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs .
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs.
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.
The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!
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
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. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Posted on November 16, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Festival of Leaves, Heron, Nature, Photo Essay, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged #fivecrows, #PPAC, Charles River Watershed, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, TCAN. Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.