Beautiful Great Blue Herons… Role Reversal?

Great Blue Heron Portrait BW - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Portrait BW – babsjeheron

The eastern-most end of the cove is the feeding ground and roosting spot for one of the older Great Blue Herons. He is very wary and gorgeous, and it’s always a thrill to see him here, wading, foraging for fish or sunning himself on the overturned willow that came down the year before.

That day, I visited a couple hours earlier than prime feeding time, and so he wasn’t about. That made an opportunity to paddle in closer.

Right stroke… left stroke… right blade planted shallowly… now a broad arc around the white blossoms… left stroke… gliding straight now, past the lily pads… Gliding… Gliding… Gliding up to the fallen willow where he often preens.

Look! A big blue-grey flight feather floating there, a downy belly feather tuft, too. And beyond the willow, paddling deeper to where it stops being cove and starts being brook. What’s the name of that blue flower? Must look it up. This is where the yellow daisies bloomed last fall, it must be.

The water level was much higher than ever. How deeply I can paddle without bottoming out, or getting stuck, like that previous summer. That was a long slow slog back out.

Mustn’t tarry too long here, but what a beautiful place. Serene, still, and so many wild flowers, lush ferns. He may be back soon…

Right paddle planted deep, hard stroke left, bring the boat around sharply. Yes, like that. Stroke… Glide… Stroke… Glide… Glide… Stroke, stroke, stroke.

There! Back in neutral territory, away from his space. Can rest now, and cruise along on the breeze. Floating… Floating…

I’m hungry. Where’s a good picnic spot? Ah, right here: not too close to the trees, a little shade, still waters, a good place for a floating lunch. Paddle leashed and propped ‘cross the cockpit. Lunch bag open. Hot tea, warm oatmeal – maple syrup and brown sugar.

Mmmm. That was very good. Satisfying in the fresh air. Well, time to head in. Close the tea mug, stow the lunch containers, don the gloves, paddle ready.

Wait, what’s that on the island shore? Hunkered down? Watching me…

Watching me…

Watching me?

Later that evening, just after dusk, back at home.

“How was your outing, dear?”

“Oh, so lovely. There were many Dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…

“And so many sunfish – the smallish ones, not so many bones. Did you ever notice how iridescent they are? If you hover your wings just so over the water so the sun gets that glowy filtering while you stir the bottom just right with your left foot, they’re much easier to see… and to catch.

“But the most unusual thing happened. I was out at the cove, wading along the small island shore when I saw it, right before my eyes. A human…

“I watched in silence for the longest time.

“It is not so rare to see a human in the cove, and there’s one who sometimes watches me when I’m down at the end, where its more brook than cove. You know the place. She thinks I’m not aware of her presence, but I am. I just let her think that.

“I sometimes put on a show for her, preening, stretching my neck far back to get at that itchy spot right over my left shoulder. Or extending my wings half open, down low.

“And I love to show her how to fish. How to be patiently still, toeing the water beneath the surface imperceptibly, watching for the telltale glint of a fin, swish of a tail…

“Whoosh, thrust, submerge, a clean strike. The trout is mine!

“And I surface, wriggling trout speared. A beauty.

“Usually I just wolf it down, but sometimes – sometimes – I want to show her. And so gradually I step and turn and stand there so she can see what a beauty I have caught. What a beauty I am.

“She loves to watch me feeding from a distance.

“And today?

“Today I watched a human in my cove…

“A human… feeding.

“They have curious feeding rituals, humans do.”

Accidental double exposure of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the waterfall - B&W - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

Accidental double exposure of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the waterfall – B&W – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Accidental Multiple Exposure – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Accidental Multiple Exposure – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Eyes Bumble Bee for Lunch – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Eyes Bumble Bee for Lunch – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Feathers in a Clump – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Feathers in a Clump Below a Nest– 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 Nbr 2 One-Woman Show January-February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby Nbr 2 One-Woman Show January-February 2022 – babsjeheron

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone and dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education. 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.

Some of the images from my January February 2022 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 March, it seems my sentiment from only two three months ago has fallen on deaf ears. I pray that it is not too late to turn the tides of war.

Cee Neuner, Debbie Smythe, Mama Cormier, 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 Tina is “Odds and Ends.” Tina wrote ‘I don’t know about you, but there are images in my archives that will never fit into a challenge category. They don’t tie together in any cohesive way, but they keep calling to be included. This week, let’s embrace their differences and focus on our “Odds and Ends”.’ Some of my photos today are definitely odd. Great Blue Heron having a Bumble Bee for lunch? Unusual clump of Heron feathers in a ball? Accidental multiple exposures? All unusual!


Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds. Anybody see any birds around here?
Thanks to Cee for her FOTD: Flower of the Day. The Bumble Bee is sipping nectar on a blooming Pickerel Weed flower.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: What’s Going on in St. Albans?. Filming Wonka!!

Thanks to Mama Cormier for her Thursday Trios. There is a trio of triptychs in my post today!
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .
From Anne Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .
From John Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .



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 June 2022
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™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (

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

Posted on March 10, 2022, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Mindfulness, monday portrait, Nature, Photography, thursday trios, ukraine, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 67 Comments.

  1. That opening photo is spectacular, and the prose that follows is a true delight. As always, your Huron photos are top-notch.

  2. OOPS – misspelled Heron… Please fix. >grin

    • Will do when back at a computer – on mobile now. But maybe you and Lynn can swing by Huron and capture a Heron one day??

      • That would be fun! We do want to visit the eastern Great Lakes at some point. Thinking about traveling east this fall… we shall see. I might have to take out a second mortgage to buy gas for the car. >grin

        • Looking forward to your eastern images, gas prices permitting. Remember the energy crunch of ’73, and those long lines at the pump? Shudder.

  3. Ah! I love the story accompanying your beautiful shots, Babsje! I wonder, many times, what they’re thinking of us! 😉

  4. LOL very clever Babsje – loved the conversation between the herons during the evening!

    • Big smiles, Tina! Thanks for your kind words, glad you like my little role reversal. I am way behind in making comments on any of the wonderful LAPC posts, and will probably need until tomorrow to acknowledge all of the excellent photos from you all. Best, Babsje

  5. Terrific photos, including the double exposure. Sometimes accidental photos are the best. Once I way over-exposed a photo of a flying turkey vulture, and it looked like a radiograph. (That’s an x-ray image for the non-medical.) I kept it.

    • Oh I bet that Turkey Vulture image was uniquely outstanding. I’m glad you like the accidental double exposure image. The double and the multiple (quintuple I think) were taken with my 35mm film camera Konica/Mamiya. My telephoto lens had broken and I bought a new used one to replace it. The film wouldn’t advance properly using that lens, but some of those images were happy accidents. Many thanks for your thoughtful comment! Best, Babsje

  6. Warm oatmeal, rich with syrup and brown sugar…how very tempting. Good you enjoyed it before you spotted your friend. Or he spotted you! Delightful, Babsje. Thanks for taking me along.

    • Hi Jo! Taking you along on a morning paddle is the least I can do to repay you for your blog’s many delightful walks. Many thanks for your lovely comment! Best, Babsje

  7. So, once an elementary school teacher, always an elementary school teacher, 😉 but seriously, Babsje, I think this is perfect picture book material! What a perfect beginning, and such a gentle way of getting an important point across.
    Just my two cents, but this is really special!

    • Hi Julie. Thanks so much for your thoughtful compliment. I bet you are/were a wonderful teacher – the kind students remember in their adult years! Glad you appreciated my little story. Best, Babsje

  8. I find getting so familiar with a wild animal the best reward. You know all of these Herons intimately Babsje! There in lies the reward.

    • Hi Wayne. Thanks for your good insight. I think you’re right about that. Getting to know and understand the individuals is its own reward. The photos are icing on the cake. Best, Babsje

  9. I imagine you are watched far more than you realize. I loved sharing your slow, silent glide.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I’m pleased that you joined along on the slow silent glide. I’m sure you’re right about that, although I’m careful to keep well-hidden in a natural cover hide often. I’ve been so hidden that Herons have come down through the tree canopy and landed literally inches from my bow, surprising both Heron and me. Herons are said to have vision as sharp as Eagles, which I find remarkable. Thanks for your astute observation. Best, Babsje

  10. What an amazing post Babsje! You certainly gave us a bird’s eye view of your adventure!!

  11. You love herons. And i find your description of their lifestyle just amazing and passionately good. Beautiful photos 📸

  12. Humans do have weird feeding rituals – hahaha great photos and such a nice flow and rhythm with the words
    And loved this
    “Paddle leashed and propped ‘cross the cockpit. Lunch bag open. Hot tea, warm oatmeal….

  13. I love that BW portrait of the heron. I also love triptychs. I wish I could see them better. Thanks for playing Thursday Trios.

    • Hello! Thanks so much for saying that! I’m glad you like the B&W Heron portrait. (Just fyi, my intention is to also comment on your lovely post, but I’m running far behind, so most likely will tomorrow. I’m usually more timely!) And thank you for hosting! Best, Babsje

  14. Good morning, dear Babsje,
    what a great text 👍 We really like it. And the herons are right, what funny feeding rituals we humans have. LOL
    The BW heron portrait is beautiful.
    With big hugs 🤗 from all of us
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Many thanks for your generous compliments! I’m glad you appreciated the B&W Heron portrait photo and I’m very happy to know you liked that little role reversal story. It was fun to experience real-time that day, and additional fun to re-experience while writing the story for the post. My best to all the Fab Four of Cley. Wishing all a lovely almost-spring weekend. With love, Babsje

      • Dear Babsje,
        we now disappear in our sauna and afterwards we have a nice piece of salmon and a big great wheat beer and that’s our beginning of the weekend.
        Keep well, happy, and healthy. With big hugs 🤗🤗 and have a wonderful weekend as well
        ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Thank you! That meal of Salmon is something the Herons could enjoy right along with you. They would, of course, be polite and allow the Humans have all that beer. Wonderful start to your weekend. My hugs to all the Fab Four of Cley. 🙏 🙏 🙏 🙏 (no hug emoji here!)

  15. Wht a great post for all these challenges. Excellent photography as always 😀

  16. Absolutely delightful, Babse! How true the mutual admiration you share with these birds, which you capture so beautifully in your words and photographs. Thanks for the reason to smile. 🙂

  17. Just curious … how well does oatmeal travel?
    I’d say the herons you trail have you figured out. They likely know your food choices, your mode of travel and so on. 🙂 I like your double exposures, film or digital?

  18. I’m in awe of the first image! Great selections Babsj.

    • Hi Amy. Thanks so much for your kind compliments! I’m pleased that you enjoyed the lead Heron Portrait. It’s one of my favorites and was included in a few of the gallery shows. Best, Babsje

  19. Great photos. I love the ‘old guy’ and the double exposure in particular. Heartfelt thoughts. Stop the madness. NOW.

    • Hi John. I’m with you – the madness must be stopped yesterday. And thank you very much for your kind praise for the Old Guy and the double exposures. Those feathers on that Great Blue were amazing to see up-close and I was pleased that he stood still long enough for his portrait session. Best, Babsje

  20. I smiled at your double exposure. I still remember the day I came across a double exposure of bowlers in a Los Angeles bowling alley. The photographer? Ansel Adams! He kept it in his archives, and I figure if it was good enough for him, that’s fine by me.
    Your first photo’s wonderful. I sometimes see herons striking that pose in the summer heat as they cool themselves. The first time I saw it, I thought something was wrong. Now, I just enjoy the show.

    • Ansel Adams photographed bowlers in a bowling alley?! Who knew? That must have been something to see. Will have to look for that photo online. I’m pleased that you like that lead Heron Portrait. You’re right – they often do that pose to cool off and also when it is colder to get the warmth of the sun on their wings. Many thanks for your lovely observations. Best, Babsje

      • I need to rework my post about Adams. Here’s a link to a collection of his Los Angeles work.

        • Thanks so much! Sadly I only know of his iconic outdoors nature photography and his Zone system. Thanks for the link.

        • Aha I found it at that link:
          “Over the Foul Line: A rare, perhaps singular, Ansel Adams double exposure.” I wonder if he intentionally made the double-exposure or if it was a happy accident like my own were? Thanks again for the link – fascinating material there for rabbit hole explorations.

  21. I enjoyed our walk together, Babsje. How grateful I am that we live alongside such beautiful creatures. The sentence that gave me pause was : “Today I watched a human in my cove…”. Perhaps if we are being watched (which I think we are) we should be on our best behaviour. Loved the links to the photographers. Thank you!

    • Hi Rebecca. You’re welcome, and thank you for joining me on the visit to the cove. I think you’re right that we are being watched by the wildlife, perhaps even more than we watch them. They are very observant and the many ways animals and man can communicate with each other is a never-ending source of wonderment! I appreciate your thoughtful remarks. And I still smile when I recall your Stanley Park sign saying “Shhh…Herons are Nesting.” Best, Babsje

  22. This is a lovely story. It made me smile. 🙂 Thank you. I think I have a heron in my yesterday’s bird post too. The only time I saw one.

    • Hi Manja! Thanks for pointing out the Grey Heron in your post from yesterday! Apologies that I had missed that CFFC post of yours – lovely Heron! And many thanks for your kind comment about my little story. I’m glad it made you smile. Best, Babsje

  23. What fabulous photos! That one of the herons fishing at the waterfall…..

    • Hi Margaret. I’m so glad you like the Herons fishing photograph. It’s one of my own favorites. Many thanks for your kind compliment. Best, Babsje

  24. Excellent photos as usual – love the double exposures especially!

    • Hi Leya. Thanks so much for your lovely compliment about the double exposures. They were a happy accident of a new lens failing on my film camera. Best, Babsje

  25. Every time I see the heron I am amazed at what angles they can stretch their neck – amazing. You are showing the feathers in the next, another amazing capture. Thanks for coming by and have a great weekend

    • Hi Emille. Many thanks for your lovely comments and observations. I’m glad you appreciate the elegant long necks of the Herons – they are truly graceful and unique among the birds. Take care. Best, Babsje

  26. Babsje, thank you for helping us glide into heron mind. Imagination the root of empathy.

    • Hi Gary. Many thanks for your very understanding comment. I love how you have phrased it “Heron mind.” And imagination is indeed the root of empathy – excellent reminder to us all. Best, Babsje

  27. Great opost and nice photos

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