Great Blue Herons Guest…Graceful Egret
And the Herons? They’re a study of Patience and Grace.
Isn’t the above Egret graceful and serene, also an image of patience and grace?
I have written so frequently that Herons are a study in Patience and Grace that it’s almost a mantra.
“But, but…” you might say – that bird pictured above isn’t a Heron at all!
And you would be mistaken, like so many of us. The kind experts at Rolling Harbour Abaco weigh in decisively with some interesting history for fellow bird geeks:
The Great Egret is actually a heron rather than an egret. It’s a Great Heron. All egrets are members of the heron family Ardeidae, but the converse is not true. As long ago as 1758, Linnaeus awarded the bird the binomial name Ardea alba i.e. ‘Heron white‘. Why it should have been so hard to stick to that authoritative nomenclature, I can’t imagine. Perhaps in time all heron and egret species became so hopelessly confusing for people that it ceased to matter much what they were called.
Great Egrets Noble Yet Misnamed Herons
“All egrets are members of the heron family Ardeidae, but the converse is not true.”
So, this is like squares and rectangles, isn’t it? All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
I know Becky B gets it!
The Great Blue Herons are gracing the gallery walls through February 24th (my birthday) for a one-woman all-Heron show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.
“Why Great Blue Herons?” I have been often asked. The poet William Stafford answers it best:
When I Met My Muse
I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.
When I Met My Muse
by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford
Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.
The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.
If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
And who knows, maybe I’ll see you there one day.
I’d like that.
Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, Becky B, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network 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 Anne is “Water.” Probably 80% of my posts include water, why should today be any different.
Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Rocks, Boulders, Stones.
Thanks to Becky for her The Square Odds challenge. Yes, it’s hip to be square!
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Sometimes Her Highness’ Finger Goes Missing.
From Anne Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .
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. Click here and here to learn more!
My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.
TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Current one-woman photography show through February 2022
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
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™
© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Egret
Posted on February 19, 2022, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Egret, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged #6WS, #fivecrows, #SquareOdds, CBWC, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, TCAN. Bookmark the permalink. 67 Comments.
Wow! The framed art photos are stunning.
Hi Cindy. Many many thanks for the lovely compliment. If your vagabonding gets you here by Tuesday, I’ll give you the up-close-and-personal gallery tour! Best, Babsje
And then there’s the white morph of the Great Blue Heron that’s called a Great White Heron — found in coastal areas of southern Florida, along with the gray and white Würdemann’s Heron. A Florida friend has tried to straighten me out on all that, but I still get confused. It’s no wonder we ‘newbies’ sometimes end up ordering drinks and just watching the sunset!
There are worse things than watching a Florida sunset with an umbrella drink! Thanks for your fun comment. I think your Florida friend should check in with the Abaco experts. There is just so much confusion. There’s also the albino variant… What I want to see is a Goliath Heron like they have in Africa. Thanks again. Best, Babsje
Thanks for inclusion in this august company… Herons / Egrets, Squares / Rectangles – exactly that! RH
You’re welcome and thank YOU for planting the seeds of this blog entry last fall – many months ago. I always enjoy your eclectic wildlife postings and learn from them. Best, Babsje
So, this week I’ve learned that egrets are of the heron family from this post, and, meanwhile, Photos By Donna posted that juncos are really of the sparrow family…..Just when I thought I was getting a grip on birding! 😉
Hope you are well!
P.S. “A Storytelling of Crows” was the title of a recent post of mine. 🙂
Hi Julie – thanks for your lovely comment. I remember telling you about a “storytelling of crows” sometime last year, happy to hear that you’ve made use of that expression. I adore Juncos, too. Best, Babsje
Why they just didn’t call it the White Heron is beyond me? There are 72 variety’s of Heron,Egret and Bitterns. There is a White-eared Night Heron,even a Lava Heron!
Thanks for your astute remarks, Wayne. It’s really convoluted, isn’t it? Plus the Snowy Egret and Cattle Egret and someone came up with an “Intermediate Egret.” Give me a Goliath Heron – there’s no confusing any Heron that gigantic not to mention pink! Thanks. Best, Babsje
Thanks again Wayne. I looked up the Lava Heron. According to Wikipedia “The lava heron (Butorides sundevalli), also known as the Galápagos heron, is a species of heron endemic to the Galápagos Islands of Ecuador.It is considered by some authorities — including the American Ornithological Society and BirdLife International — to be a subspecies (or even just a colour morph) of the striated heron (B. strata), and was formerly “lumped” with this species…” Subspecies. Color morph. A trusted Heron… Bird taxonomy is so complicated and ill-defined. It’s like the two subspecies or Great Blues you have there on Vancouver Island.
the evolution of a given species is a complicated process. A better design is always searched for, leaving failed ones in its wake.
I agree! And keeping the nomenclature or taxonomy sorted must be a challenge or nightmare for the Ph.D. types tasked with those efforts. I think we photographers have much more fun than they do!!
I am in Florida for the winter and I got a book out of the library on Florida birds. I see a lot of white herons/ egrets and see them described as herons. Anyway what ever they are they are so elegant and beautiful .
Hi Anne. Many thanks for your comment affirming that at least one source on birds in Florida gets it. There is a lot of confusion out there. Btw I’m enjoying seeing Biasini in his deluxe winter stall there. Best, Babsje
Babsje, I knew you’d have a wonderful time with the Water challenge, but I wasn’t prepared for the lesson on the great egret (heron). So, is the snowy egret also a heron? If all egrets are herons? I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about herons or egrets until I started photography! I’ve been enjoying your dedication and love for the herons you patiently photograph.
Hi Anne – thanks so much for your great challenge topic and comment and questions. I think the experts need to ultimately determine those classifications. Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret I dunno. I’ve long been fascinated by what defines “heron-ness” for want of a better term. Here’s a post where I definitively saw the relationship between a Great Blue Heron and a Green Heron: https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/our-guest-heron-du-jour-its-easy-being-green-green-heron-that-is/ Thanks for your kind comment. Best, Babsje
It’s also like Scotch and whisk(e)y. All Scotch is whisk(e)y but not all whisk(e)y is Scotch. 🙂 I love the stillness and patience of both herons and egrets. I also love the contrast between how slowly they can move and how quickly to get their prey.
Hi Janet – great analogy! It hasn’t occurred to me. Shows what little I know about Scotch and Whiskey. You’re right about how both Herons and Egrets can be stock still and in the blink of an eye they lunge out for prey with those stiletto bills. They have amazing reflexes. I’m glad that you enjoy these incredibly beautiful creatures. Best, Babsje
We had a friend back in Ohio who was into scotch so I learned a bit about it. 🙂
Friends like that can be great teachers to have. Tasting scotch for your homework must have been fun for all.
I guess the question will continue to go unanswered like why is a green heron called green when it’s actually blue? Just one of nature’s mysteries.
Indeed. Your comment brings to mind an old episode of the TV series Taxi. The character played by. Christopher Lloyd, Jim Ignatowski, is holding a piece of fruit and he says to nobody in particular “If we call an Orange an Orange, why don’t we call a Banana a Yellow?” Sometimes I feel that bird taxonomy is like that. Obscure or arbitrary. 😃
👍 That was a great series and that statement is so true.
Yes it was an excellent series – great writing and wonderful actors. Glad you like the quip about calling a Banana a Yellow. Giggling here.
Well, drat. I’ve thought for years I had it nailed by remembering “Great Blue Heron” and “Snowy Egret.” Guess I have to scrap that now. My excuse is never having lived where either one is common.
That’s a pretty good excuse if you ask me, although I feel a bit sad that Great Blues aren’t common where you are. We don’t have Snowys here – neither Snowy Egrets nor Snowy Owls. Do you have Cattle Egrets there? We do not but I get a kick out out of seeing photos of them riding on top of cattle. And what are the Egrets seen riding on top of Gators or Crocs? Those are fearless birds! We don’t have Alligators or Crocodiles here (thank goodness) because if we did I would have to rethink photo shoot locatiina. Many thanks for your thought-provoking comment! Best, Babsje
I didn’t know that either. I love that picture, my dear Babsje! Happy Sunday! 🌟🤗
Hi Marina. Thank you. Happy Sunday to you as we’ll. I’m pleased that you appreciate the Egret aka White Heron photo. (It is still a little strange to stop referring to them as Great Egrets lol.) Best, Babsje 😊 🌞 🌙 🌟
Thank you. It is a Monday holiday. A time for quiet relaxation today. Enjoy your week ahead. 🌞 🍀 🌷 🍀 🌞
Ah, that sounds lovely. Enjoy your relaxation! 🤗🌷🌟
On first glance it does look like the is resting on the back of a croc.
Many thanks for your imaginative comment. You have a good eye to envision those rocks as a croc! I can see that too now that you’ve mentioned it. Thanks. Best, Babsje
I do indeed get it! Only seen a great egret once and wow once seen never forgotten
Hi Becky. I love how you say that – “once seen never forgotten.” Lovely expression. I think where you live there are Grey Herons? So similar to our Blues, but slightly smaller. Thanks for hosting your fun challenge. I think next year it should be in a month with the full 31 days rather than being short changed by February. Just because it is so much fun. Best, Babsje
yes you are right, we do have grey 🙂 there are purples ones though in Portugal where I live for a few months of the year too
Oooh, I have seen photos of the Purple Herons, so lovely! 😊
we’ve only glimpsed one once, very shy and MrB still not convinced it was one we saw. I am though!!
Trust your eyes! They are indeed known to be seen there. 😊
Don’t worry the next month will be a full month – just trying to decide between May and June at the moment
Excellent. Rubbing hands together in happy anticipation
Well who knew?! Of course you did, as did I, but most are not so lucky as we to be close enough to know them 😊. Whether heron or egret, they are graceful, beautiful creatures. Lovely image Babsje
Many thanks for your lovely comment, Tina. At the end of the day, the only important thing may be that the Egrets aka White Herons know who they are and with whom they can mate to keep the breed going. Your own photo of those birds – the one I called Egret Heaven – seems like proof they are very good at breeding. Best, Babsje
Your photos are marvellous.
A Great Blue has hung around a pond at my worksite for some weeks, even though the pond is now frozen over. There is open water on the St. Clair River nearby so I suppose it must find enough to eat. Have not been able to get close enough for a decent photo. Either it is reluctant to allow me to get too close, or I am too impatient when approaching. I suspect the latter.
I’m very appreciative that you, wth such a fine eye for the shot, make time to like my posts. Thank you very much!
Hi Andrew. Many thanks for your kind comment. I’m pleased that you like the Heron photos and also that you are able to see them where you are. You should not approach that Heron at your pond – if you share him off in hopes of taking a photo, his act of fleeing will burn up calories he can I’ll afford to lose during winter’s cold. The usual rule of thumb is to give herons a wide berth – 600 feet. My blog has a PSA about that. My photos are almost all taken from a natural cover hide and with a telephoto lens and so the birds are not aware of my presence. Anyway, happy to meet another lover of Herons. Your guy will be safer in the spring. Best, Babsje
I shall not re-gret, the lovely e-gret. Beautiful.
Hi John – you’re a poet! I think this is the first and best poem comment I’ve ever received. Many thanks for the smiles. Best, Babsje
Hi Babsje, thanks for your reply. You are right – at this time of year I should not make it unnecessarily burn calories. I did not realize they need (prefer?) a very wide berth – I go read the PSA. Thanks again!
Hi Andrew. You’re welcome and thanks for your sensitivity and caring about the Heron. I’m always pleased to meet a fellow Heron lover! Are you in Michigan? Asking since you mentioned St. Claire. Hopefully spring comes sooner rather than later for you and that beautiful bird. Best, Babsje
This is an amazing image.
Many thanks for your kind compliment. I’m happy to hear that you like the Egret aka White Heron image
Thanks. Best, Babsje
Elegance – and what beautiful portraits framed! Happy birthday in advance as well!
Hi Leya! I’m pleased that you appreciate the Egret aka White Heron. Many thanks for your kind compliment about the gallery prints and also your Happy Birthday greeting. Best, Babsje
What beautiful white plumage! Lovely image.
Hi Patti. Many thanks! I’m so glad you like the plumage of the Egret aka White Heron. Best, Babsje