Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Surprise!

Great Blue Heron fledgling cruising across the lake with ripples reflecting on underwings - babsjeheron   © Babsje (

Great Blue Heron fledgling cruising across the lake with ripples reflecting on underwings – babsjeheron

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…

Joni Mitchell
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.

Great Blue Heron fledgling in autumn  babsjejeron  © Babsje (

Great Blue Heron fledgling in autumn – babsjejeron

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

Natick Mosaic Art - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (

Natick Mosaic Art created by Carol Krentzman – babsjeheron

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

Natick Mosaic Art Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (

Natick Mosaic Art Nbr 2 Created by Carol Krentzman – babsjeheron

Please CLICK HERE and visit Carol Krentzman’s website to learn more about her fascinating art. .

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 Amy 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.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District


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
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 16, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Festival of Leaves, Heron, Nature, Photo Essay, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 70 Comments.

  1. Lovely to see art being supported by local towns Babsje – just as it is lovely to see your young fledgling looking so majestic!

    • Hi Tina. Thanks much for saying that. The town runneth over with public art in side streets and alley ways and especially a huge mural at the train station. But you know me – I actually consider the Herons as public art, too. Best, Babsje

  2. Another lovely post, Babsje!

  3. Ah, Babsje, wonderful shots! Great contrast between the graceful flight and stillness! 🤗😘

  4. A youngster popped up! How surprising and delightful that must have been for you Babsje!
    The light was excellent too! Great shots!

    • Hi Wayne. Yes it was a delightful surprise to see the Fledgling then. And I’m so glad you noticed the light in those photos. It was a golden afternoon. Many thanks for your great comment. Best, Babsje

  5. Love the in-flight photo. Such magnificent, graceful wings. And wonderful to hear this is a new heron.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely compliment, I’m glad you like this baby Heron. There had been no sightings of Heron babies at the big lake and so it was especially rewarding to see that one in my own backyard. Best, Babsje

  6. What a simply beautiful post. I love the way you told the story of the heron. It was a joy to read, and of course the pictures magnificent!

    • Hi Dawn! I’m so pleased by your lovely comment about the Fledgling Heron photos and story. Thank you. And thanks for hosting the Festival of Leaves. I wish it could continue all year round. Best, Babsje

  7. Hi Babsje, Your love for the herons simply exudes from this post. Like Dawn said, it is a joy to read. Your choices of public art are also joyful. I love art with children in it, and these displays had an abundance of sparkle and fun. Thanks for sharing them this week. 🙂

  8. I so adore your Public Art photos. 😀 😀

    • Hi Gee, I’m so happy to hear that, thanks for your kind comment and for co-hosting. Carol Krentzman’s mosaic installations add such vibrancy to the side streets in town. Looking forward to playing again!. Best, Babsje

  9. How absolutely beautiful, your time with the young heron.

    • Hi Jo! I’m so pleased that you appreciated this story and photos. Those were special says with that Fledgling. Many thanks for your kind words! Best, Babsje

  10. Such a thoughtful and deeply moving post – I imagine that young heron – “Wordless joy to behold”

    • Many thanks for such a generous compliment. I’m pleased that you were moved by the story of the young Heron. It was a very special encounter on the water. Thanks. Best, Babsje

  11. Beautiful image of herons, as always. I love these mosaics, wonderful themes!

    • Hi Amy, I’m very happy that you like those mosaic installation. They’re really something to see in person, Carol Krentzman creates amazingly detailed pieces. And many thanks for your compliment about the Fledgling Heron. Best, Babsje

  12. A wonderful sighting of the fledgling, Babsje. Beautiful mosaics, too! I love how street art enhances public spaces. Enjoy the week. I hope you’re feeling better, too.

    • Hi Patti. Thanks for your lovely comment and we’ll wishes. I’m glad you like that mosaic art. I love walking down the small side streets and seeing what new surprises appear on the walls. Best, Babsje

  13. Marsha did the post for this week. I’ve added you link to the post.
    Here is Marsha’s link.

  14. Loved “We the People” and the young heron.

    • Thanks so much for your kind comment. Isn’t We the People an amazingly detailed mosaic! I’m glad you like it and the Heron youngster, too. Best, Babsje

  15. lol. I can so feel you when you said you held your breath. Its what we have to do sometime to be in their presence. What a treat to discover a fledgling. And he was probably pretty entertained by you as well.

    I love that the murals all came with a message. WE the people spoke to me. Always a nice visit to your site. Donna

    • Hi Donna. Many thanks for your thoughtful observations. I thought you’d get it about holding my breath! I think you’re also right that some wildlife are indeed entertained by humans. And I’m glad you appreciated the mosaic art. We the People is amazing imo. Best, Babsje

  16. Fabulous photos. I love action shots!!

    • Hi Sandra! Thank you very much for your kind compliment. Happy to hear that you like the Heron in action. I’ve been enjoying your own blog, as well. Best, Babsje

  17. What an amazing blog Babsje and thank you so much for sharing your images of the delightful blue herons. You have captured them for posterity.

    Also I love your writing and the way you express yourself in the written word.

    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Anne! Many thanks for your generous compliments. I’m very happy that you appreciate the beauty of the Great Blue Herons. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Best, Babsje

  18. After seeing the “History of Natick” mural, I searched on the history of Natick via Wikipedia. Your township has a rich history. While reading the Wiki entry on Natick, several references were made regarding New England missionaries. One of my friends, his maternal family traces roots to the New England missionaries who landed in Hawaii. While much the family lives in Hawaii, Pamela, his mom, lives here in Colorado. Pamela’s family ancestors intermarried with the Native Hawaiians, and through the years intermarried with the Asian communities that made Hawaii home. Though Pamela grew up in Honolulu, she looks more like someone from New England, blond hair, blue eyed, while her mom has decidedly Asian features. Both Pamela and her mom have New England accents, but have rarely visited the New England branch of the family.

    • That’s intriguing, David. It’s surprising that they both have New England accents. I don’t have one, not having been raised in Massachusetts, but some accents are so highly specific that you can tell within a mere matter of miles where a person was raised or lives. And the genetics thing is fascinating, too.

  19. Zo prachtig die reiger gefotografeerd tijdens zijn vlucht

  20. “…the Heron emerged and stood motionless.”
    We have a blue heron here that I see intermittently and I always take a new photo. Fascinating bird.

    • Hello! Thanks for telling me about your Heron, you’re fortunate to see one so frequently there. It’s great that you can photograph the same one again over time like a favorite model. Best, Babsje

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