Beautiful Great Blue Herons Peaceful Muse

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight (Square Version) - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight (Square Version) – babsjeheron

The man sat cross-legged on the sidewalk that skirted the perimeter along the water’s edge. In his lap, a pen and notebook. Pressed against his glasses, the eyepiece of an antique spyglass. Someone else might have used a modern telescope.

Herons are ancient, their ancestors appearing 40 million years ago, and so it seemed fitting for him to have an old spyglass trained on the nesting island, instead of a newfangled telescope.

He was alternately looking through the eyepiece and jotting down notes in his book when I walked around the bend. We were strangers, but curiosity got the better of me and I interrupted his writing to ask what he was looking at.

“Great Blue Herons. Mothers and chicks, in nests on the island. There are about 60 pairs of Herons nesting on the island.”

I shyly asked if I could take a quick peek, and in the instant my own eye peered through the spyglass, an entirely new world opened up. It was stunning. I was left wordless by the first vision of an adult with a chick – the graceful curve of the adult’s neck, their golden eyes, subtly shaded grey-blue feathers, the adorable cap feathers of the fluffy chick, all of it.

And thus it deepened, the beginnings of my love affair with Great Blue Herons. Those first images seen through an antique spyglass are etched indelibly in my mind, and in my heart. It was the day I met my Muse, the Heron.

Great Blue Herons' rookery island in falling snow just after sunrise - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

Great Blue Herons’ rookery island in falling snow just after sunrise – babsjeheron

Reflection of Herons' nesting island in winter - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

Reflection of Herons’ nesting island in winter – babsjeheron

Can you count the Great Blue Herons' nests on the island in this satellite view? - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

Can you count the Great Blue Herons’ nests on the island in this satellite view? – babsjeheron

More than 30 great blue heron nests are shown on the island - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

More than 30 great blue heron nests are shown on the island – babsjeheron


The Great Blue Herons once again graced the gallery walls through February 26th for a one-woman all-Heron show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 – babsjeheron

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.

Some of the images from my January February TCAN show have been placed in the online Art gallery, with more to be uploaded in coming days. You can be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.

Folks, I have written here before that this is a politics-free space. You won’t hear me advancing any political agenda. Posts here are not opinion pieces about current events.

HOWEVER, failing to weigh in on the heartbreaking events unfolding in Europe would be exceedingly tone-deaf on my part.

I wrote back in December “Tis the season for wishes of peace on earth, goodwill to all. But wait. On second thought, why should those sentiments be extended only during the holiday season? I encourage peace on earth and goodwill to all for every season of the year. May 2022 bring you peace, health, happiness, and joy to all.”

And now in February, it seems my sentiment from only two months ago has fallen on deaf ears. I pray that it is not too late to turn the tides of war.

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 guest-hosted by Karina is “A Special Place.” I have included four images of our amazing Great Blue Heron rookery island as one place that is special to me, as plus another very special place – my beloved Center for Arts Natick – TCAN.


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. This Heron has brought great joy.
Thanks to Becky for her The Square Odds challenge. What fun tennis photos from Becky.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: May your Moustache Grow Like Brushwood. Apparently that expression is Mongolian for Gesundheit. Who knew?
From Karina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .



Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

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 January 3 2023
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
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™

© 2003-2023 Babsje. (

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


Posted on February 27, 2022, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, ukraine, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 110 Comments.

  1. Simply stunning island views, Babsje! And, as always, your story is a thought provoking treat.
    Be well,

    • Hi Julie..thanks so much for your kind words. This island is totally off-limits to humans, no road access and boating is not permitted in the reservoir so viewing is possible only from the shore next to Rt. 9. Viewing through binoculars is the best. Thanks for your well wishes. I hope you weathered Friday’s snows ok. Best, Babsje

  2. Ah, so that’s how it all began. I’m glad you overcame your reticence and asked the man for a peek.

    • Many thanks for saying that! I had seen the Blues flying on their morning and afternoon “commutes” from the nesting island to their feeding grounds for a few years but it wasn’t until that glimpse through his antique spyglass that I saw their true magnificence. Life changing in a way
      I never encountered that man again, and don’t even know his name. Too shy for my own good. Thanks again. Best, Babsje

  3. Very interesting Babsje, and I really enjoyed your scenery images – which you don’t often share! Interestingly, here at Magnolia Gardens the egrets and herons are not at all bothered by the many people who come to observe and photograph them. I suppose they’ve learned we are not there to hurt them, and like your circled foliage image, there are dozens and dozens of nests in single trees throughout. Many are inaccessible because they are surrounded by water, but even there, boats are allowed and the birds are not at all bothered. Thanks for sharing this special place.

    • Thanks so much, Tina, for your kind thoughtful comment. This heronry is on an island in a reservoir that is part of the drinking water system for the city of Boston. It is totally inaccessible to humans, no roads and boating and swimming in the water is strictly prohibited and enforced. They don’t want any chemicals from human or boat incursion, but apparently Goose and Heron and Eagle poo is ok? Go figure. It is a delight to watch the Herons from the far shore through binoculars. (My binocs are stronger than any of my camera lenses.) Thanks again. Best, Babsje

      • Having seen the ground beneath a large bird sanctuary Babsje, your point is very well made!

        • Giggling! You’re right. They literally arrested a man for illegally swimming in a water supply reservoir and he said something like “but what about all of the geese?” To which the official explained about chemicals in the clothing he was wearing would affect the water quality. I wonder what their argument would have been had he been skinny dipping? Lol

  4. running into that fellow sent you down a different road Babsje! Amazing how often we are influenced to go left or right in life! We are like ricocheting bullets!
    I see two beautiful things in your pictures, the Herons and your passion for them.

  5. Wonderful images and a great story. I too would have been as curious as you were to check through the glasses and see. It must have been an amazing sight seeing these gorgeous creatures 😍

  6. Babsje, thank you for this origin story, the moment of inspiration, curiosity, even devotion still fresh.

  7. Wow! That’s a lot of nests! Thanks for helping us spot them.

    • Thanks so much! Im glad you liked being able to see all those nests. I could only photograph from one side, but the satellite view gives a more complete picture. The island isn’t accessible by people, which has allowed the Heron colony (heronry) to become so populous. Best, Babsje

  8. Loved your “origin” story, Babsje. Your love for your muse shines through in your marvelous images. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Jane. Many thanks for your lovely compliment. I’m pleased that you appreciated both the story and images. That special day was a life changer. Best, Babsje

  9. wow that’s amazing to see so many nests, and I just love your first square – what a wonderful muse

  10. Beautiful story meeting your muse, my dear Babsje and breathtaking images!
    Wishes for a wonderful week ahead! xoxo

  11. Simply gorgeous, Babsje! So many, and your display is very clarifying. Really a special place!

  12. I enjoyed your moment of inspiration, Babsje. Lovely.

  13. That’s a lot of herons. Great photographs!

    • Hi Brian. Yes, a LOT of herons on that island. Interestingly, a couple of the nests on the west end of the island were taken over by Bald Eagles. Imagine my surprise one day with binocs trained on an approaching Heron when it passed overhead I discovered the eye of a Bald Eagle stating down at me from only 30 feet up! Thanks for tour kind compliment. Best, Babsje

  14. What a wonderful story, Babsje. Blue Herons are also my favourite birds although I’ve never viewed them through an antique eye-glass.

  15. Murtagh's Meadow

    What an amazing number of blue heron nests. And what beautiful birds too. We have herons here too in Ireland – they are Grey Heron – Ardea cinerea – I love to see them too.

    • I’m so glad you liked the Heron rookery. And your Grey Herons are beautiful birds, too. Just a little smaller than our Great Blues and put Great Blues aren’t actually “blue, at all – they are mostly grey, too. Thanks for your kind comment. Best, Babsje

  16. Blue Herons are beautiful. This is a special place for them. Love the Reflection of Herons’ nesting island image.

    • Hi Amy. Many thanks! I’m happy you like the nesting island reflection photo – the water was mirror-smooth that day, which made that capture possible without any wave ripple distortion. Best. Babsje

  17. It’s fun to read about that first, magical encounter – and through the old glass, how wonderful. The island reflected and in the snow are two gorgeous images that show your love for the place that nourishes the herons.

    • Thank you very much for your thoughtful compliment about the story and photos. Not only was the spyglass old, so were the camera and lens for those two captures – my old 35mm Konica Mamiya with real film. Sometimes I find the difference in color reproduction between film and digital images to be quite striking. And if I’m not mistaken, you have a large, beautiful Heronry near you. Best, Babsje

      • Film and digital are so different – it’s interesting that those two photos were from your old camera. Our heronry is huge in terms of numbers. I don’t know if they’re getting started there – they must be – but it’s in a place that’s difficult to see well. Later on, when it’s in full swing, sometimes I can see some activity on one edge of it. There are at least two eagle nests in the area and I’ve noticed the eagles have been pairing up and hanging around their nests in the last few weeks. Here’s a link to information about the heronry:

        • What a fascinating Heronry! 680+ nests. It says the Heron cam should get activated sometime in March, which is tomorrow. I’ll be sure to check in there in a couple of weeks. Thank you for the link. It must be a little frustrating to only be able to get a small slice of Heron sighting there. Maybe 2022 will be better? Seeing Eagles settling in close to the Herons can be concerning. Here, I was worried about predation, but the local Audubon expert said no worries. I think he was mistaken. Re film vs digital, I remember one of your posts that featured a lovely film image that has withstood the test of time. It may have been in one about the Pantone color of the year for 2022? Thanks again for the link

          • I volunteered there on the off-season a few years ago, removing invasive plants. In a presentation afterward, we were told that the eagles do prey on the herons but there are many, many herons and just a few eagles so one can assume that the eagles are not making a significant dent in the heron population. They have to live, too! The active part of the heronry is on top of a hill in the center of a big patch of forest. Without a drone (I wouldn’t do that!) your only view is from below and from a distance. It’s a view of the trees around the perimeter, where they don’t nest. I saw herons flying back and forth in great numbers once and saw some perched near the edge, where I could get a better look. But one sees them much closer along the shorelines when they’re foraging. There just isn’t any vantage point to see those trees in the middle where the nests are. The cam hasn’t worked for the last few years – I’ve never seen it – so I hope it does work this year! That would be great.
            The old phtoo in the Pantone post was made with my first digital camera. A long time ago I posted a few film photos but I had processed them in Lightroom with Silver Edex and changed them into black and white images, sorry! Lightroom has some nice film simulations – there are dozens of them made to recreate particular kinds of film. They’re fun to play with. I admire people who have the patience to work with film. The resutls can be wonderful.

            • What a gig that must have been for you years ago working there. A drone occurred to me but they are a big no-no in my book when it comes to observing birds safely – and here they are illegal to fly over government property such as that reservoir and the larger lake I frequent. There’s something about watching the Herons here flying out from and then returning to the heronry morning then late afternoon. It really does seem that they have a “commuter society” hearing off on a regular daily schedule. I was entranced watching from my apartment balcony as they flew past. Also thanks for reminding me that it was your first digital camera, not film, for that photo I remember fondly. Eagles and Herons can peaceably co-exist if food is plentiful and the Eagles behave themselves, though I still feel anxious! Thanks again.

              • If food is plentiful, good point! I like the picture you paint of seeing the herons fly back and forth, nice! I get angry with drones when I’m out in a park, where they’re illegal but people don’t care. Nature and technology, the good and the bad, right?

                • Yes, nature and technology, the good and the bad – you said that very well! Eagles are interesting predators when food is plentiful. I have seen accounts of Eagles with a Red Tail Hawk nestling in the Eagles’ nest. The Eagles were reported to actually feed the Hawk baby. How cool is that?

  18. How lovely that the herons have such a happy home. Isn’t it sad that so many humans are being displaced from theirs? I’m seldom political either, Babsje, but some things you just can’t ignore.

  19. Absolutely fabulous, Babse. How wonderful, the moment you find your muse. And you have followed her so well. It is difficult to find a perspective that sustains one’s purpose these days, but art is the answer, the expression of humanity that demands we continue…in peace.

    • Hi Lisa. I love how you say this: “Art is the answer, the expression of humanity that demands we continue…in peace.” Thank you for your profound observation. Best, Babsje

  20. Kan best geloven dat op dat moment de reiger je muze is geworden

  21. Wow!
    This is certainly so amazing. Truly out-of-my-world 🙂

  22. I really enjoyed your post and especially enjoyed your note about wanting peace and happiness for all. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Hi Allison. Many thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad you noticed the message of peace. Also, I enjoy your own always-uplifting posts. Best. Babsje

  23. These are so amazing and very interesting.

  24. Such stunning work, the photo: Reflection of Herons’ nesting island in winter ~ captures the spirit of your peaceful happiness for all, and the majesty of the great blue herons. Such a positive, beautiful, post.

    • Hello! Many thanks for your generous compliment. I’m pleased that you appreciate the Herons and especially the island in winter. Best, Babsje

  25. There is a difference between telling somebody ‘NO’ and telling somebody ‘NOT YET’.
    God is all-knowing, so when you ask him for some things sometimes and he is silent, he knows why he does not want to give you that thing at that particular time, God is never late nor wrong, his timing and his calculations are always perfect.
    God is outside time, time does not affect him, he is the same yesterday, today and forever, he is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, he does not make mistakes, he is the prince of peace, he loves humanity. The devil is the prince of darkness, he hates you, God gave his only son to die for your sins so that your soul will be saved, the devil does not give you anything for free, he gives you everything as a trade for your soul that Jesus died for to burn in hell forever with him and his demons, he gives you earthly pleasures, when the devil gives you a cap as a gift and you collect it, trust me, he will come for your head in return.
    Why don’t you compare these two beings and chose which side you want to be identified with, may the Lord help us to make the right choice so that our souls can be saved, in Jesus’ name, Amen!!!
    ©F.I.D libraries.

  26. Thanks for sharing this’s insightful

  27. Wow! Amazing views 👌

  28. THAT is a rookery. I saw one of these–smaller–near the 1000 Islands/Saint Lawrence. Great shots.

    • Many thanks for your great comment. Yes, it definitely IS a popular hangout for the Great Blues! I was lucky to find that satellite view because the far side of the island isn’t visible from any vantage point at all. The area near the 1000 Islands is good for Heron viewing from what I’ve been told! Best, Babsje

  29. Beautiful views , beautiful herons and their nests 😍❣️

  30. What a capture of Heron. Simply superb. Other photos are stunning too.

  31. You know what I really love about herons? First let me share an example. Last weekend we were at a lake. We sat on a bench and watched a heron for the longest time. It was alone and riding with the thermals. Then it would land and hunt at the shore line. So beautiful. so elegant. and so entertaining.

    And every single time I see one, I think of you and your love of them. I love that you cross my mind and have made THAT impression . Hugs, Donna

    • Aw shucks, Donna, what a warm and embracing comment! I love that you, too, love the Herons and that you shared your moment with me here. Thank you very much. Best, Babsje

  32. WOW! They are too many… In the tree that I talked about in my city, İstanbul, they were only five and also crows were attacking them too. But they lived on this tree… Thank you, Love, nia

    • Hi Nia. It’s wonderful that they live in your tree in Istanbul. I’ve heard it is an amazing city – a friend’s mother is from there, she is a fabric artist. And those Crows sure like to try to bother the much larger Herons! Crows are very smart and fearless! Thanks for your kind comment
      Love, Babsje

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