Beautiful Great Blue Heron… Not Just Another Pretty Face

Great Blue Heron head-shot in the cove - babsjeheron  © 2022 Babsje (

Great Blue Heron head-shot portrait – babsjeheron

Great blue heron fledglings in nest in mirror image - babsjeheron  © 2022 Babsje (

Two peas in a pod: Great Blue Heron fledglings in symmetry – babsjeheron

Great blue heron fledglings in synchronized, mirror-image preening. Remarkable how in sync they are - babsjeheron  © 2013 Babsje. (Http://

Great Blue Heron fledglings in synchronized, symmetrical preening. Remarkable how in sync they are – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Feathers - Detail - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

Great Blue Heron Feathers – Close-up Detail – babsjeheron

Look, you might as well know, this thing
is going to take endless repair: rubber bands,
crazy glue, tapioca, the square of the hypotenuse.
Nineteenth century novels. Heartstrings, sunrise:
all of these are useful. Also, feathers.

Barbara Kingsolver
“Hope, An Owner’s Manual”

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Patti is “Close and Closer.” Patti wrote “we challenge you to move closer to your subject. Post one photo or a series of photos showing what happened when your subject filled the frame. Did this reveal new details? Did this eliminate distracting or unnecessary elements in the photo? Did this add more drama or empathy to your image? Get closer by moving your feet, by using a zoom or macro lens, or by cropping the photo.”

As a wildlife photographer, I can endorse the use of “a zoom or macro lens or cropping the photo.” However I cannot support the idea of moving closer to wildlife. Humans can unintentionally endanger the wildlife they wish to photograph. For example, as passionate Eagle blogger Doc Ellen points out, “People must stay 660 feet from an active bald eagle nest, according to Federal law.” Learn more from Doc Ellen about efforts to protect Bald Eagles CLICK HERE.
From one of my own impassioned PSA posts about Great Blue Herons needing their space:

If the Great Blue Heron can read this, you’re too close.

It bears repeating: If the Great Blue Heron can read this, you’re too close. Every so often going back a decade or so, I feel compelled to caution folks that Herons need their space. In the past few weeks, I have seen several photos of Herons that had obviously been flushed by photographers. Flushing a Heron is not good, it is a rookie mistake – even if it makes for a dynamic photo. In fact, birding ethics organizations from Audubon to the US Fish & Wildlife Service almost all universally say avoid flushing birds. Don’t get too close.

People who know me know that my motto is “Walk softly and carry a long lens.™” It is important to give wildlife an extra-wide margin of personal space to not endanger them. I take precautions to remain hidden from their view, including use of telephoto lenses and natural-cover hides.

In taking hundreds of thousands of photos over a couple of decades, I can count on two hands the number of times I was within 10 feet of a Heron who could see me. Half of those times happened when I was hidden under a tree canopy and the Heron didn’t see my kayak and dropped down to land literally next to my boat. And one time was because I stepped in to protect the Heron from fishing lines.

This is a critical time in the life cycle of Great Blue Herons, when the Herons are getting ready to nest and create the next generations. This is the time of year when Herons can frequently be spotted, and when novice birders or photographers put them at risk by getting too close. Interrupt a nesting or feeding adult Great Blue, and the chicks may go without a meal. Interrupt a feeding fledgling could ultimately mean life or death for the bird.

As a photographer, ask yourself:
Did you get that perfect shot, but flushed the fledgling in the process?
How long will your friends and family remember your photo?
How long will the fledgling remember the meal he missed or the calories he wasted fleeing you? 
Maybe only that single meal, those much-needed calories were his tipping point between life and death.

The post below was an earlier PSA rant about endangering Herons. Please humor me again.

“… Eventually it all boils down to this: fifty-nine million years later, a caveman, one of a dozen on the entire world, goes hunting wild boar or saber-toothed tiger for food. But you, friend, have stepped on all the tigers in that region. By stepping on one single mouse. So the caveman starves.”

Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder,”
In “A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories

Great blue heron fledglings practicing 24 hours before they fledged.

Great blue herons practicing 24 hours before they fledged.

The sleek kayak had been tugged up into the shrubbery on the hillside just south of the keyhole bridge. No, wait, make that a sleek kayak and a custom canoe nestling there in the bushes. How odd.

I had noticed the same two paddlers the day before, farther north. How could a person not notice their high-end boats and expert-looking water skills?

Fast forward a day, and there were those boats again, cruising the southern waters.  The two men beached their custom-made canoe on the tiny nesting island. I quickly paddled my kayak over and explained to them about the great blue heron nest and the eggs that were due to hatch within the next 10 days. They replied, “OK, we’re outta here,” and left right away. Success!

Keyhole tunnel portal to the southern waters.

Keyhole tunnel portal to the southern waters.

I should have expected that something was afoot when I noticed a white flag hanging off the promontory southwest of the keyhole tunnel the next morning, it wasn’t there the day before. I should have connected it to the two expert paddlers, but didn’t grasp what it foreshadowed.

The next morning, I was enroute to the secluded shady hide along the western shoreline, thinking to pull in and read a book while munching a bagel for breakfast, when I noticed a man in a red kayak heading for the island. I wanted to warn him off, and so spun my kayak around. As I was about to aim towards him, a red canoe came out of nowhere, making a beeline for the island, the woman in front paddling harder and faster than I’d ever seen in a canoe.

I intercepted them, positioning my kayak in their path and they started to curve around me back towards the island. By this time, the man in the red kayak had meandered around the island and maybe 20 yards to the south, not threatening the island, so I focused on the red canoe and explained to the woman that they needed to steer clear of the island due to the nesting herons and chicks that should be hatching soon. She got the message and she and her partner gave the island and nest a wide birth and paddled in the direction of the east shore. Whew.

Next, I paddled south of the island and to the shady hide on the opposite shore,  and turned around to face the island before settling in, when I noticed a green canoe perilously close to the east side of the island, within a foot of the shore, ducking under some tunnel-like branches and then exiting and paddling farther east.

Curious about their odd behavior, I got out the binoculars and saw something hanging from one of the lowest branches on that side of the island. There was a flash of red, and I remembered seeing it Saturday afternoon when I had dissuaded the two men in a canoe from hanging out there – the two who said to me “we’re outta here.” I thought it was red from the baseball cap one of the men was wearing yesterday. But maybe it wasn’t that at all.

By this point, the man in the red kayak had circled the island and was coming around the north side, very close, too close. I paddled up to him and explained about the nesting herons and incipient hatching. He took off his baseball cap, craned his head and neck backwards to look straight up into the trees at the nest, and then back down. He gave me a level gaze and laconically drawled “Well, I need to rest my kayak in a stable spot for a few minutes,” and pulled out a snack and settled in. Aaarrrgh, he was virtually at the base of the nesting tree, his red kayak shining like a beacon that the adult herons couldn’t possibly fail to notice.

I paddled back towards the west because there was now another green canoe heading straight for the island. I paddled alongside and explained to the young woman in front that they needed to steer clear of the island due to the nesting birds, and – to my relief and gratitude – they headed much farther south.

Then, I circled the south side of the island and ducked into the tree tunnel and saw the red thing. There was a plastic ribbon sash circling a low branch, the red ends flapping down about six inches. Suspended from a white cord was a sort of rectangular card with a large number written prominently on it. The cord was wrapped around the neck of the top of a cut-off white plastic milk-bottle with the another number hand-written on it, such that about five inches of the milk-bottle top was suspended mid-air about three feet above the surface of the water. I thought maybe it was a trap for mosquitoes – they sometimes try to detect virus-carrying mosquitoes with traps, but an open-bottomed milk bottle wouldn’t be a very effective trap.

Putting one and one together, I deduced that it was some sort of scavenger hunt.

A scavenger hunt using the nesting island as a way station.

I was, and still am, horrified.

Even though I had explained to the men who placed the scavenger hunt apparatus in the shrubs about the federally protected herons sitting on eggs in a nest on the tiny island, they chose the island as part of their game. Even though I explained about the eggs about to hatch to the man in the red kayak, even though he looked directly up at the heron’s nest, he still chose to park his boat on the island shore for his snack.

I cut down the offending dangling plastic red sash and the milk bottle apparatus, and as I pulled it into the boat I noticed some sort of red plastic fob dangling from the bottom, sort of like a very large clothespin or something strange. I had no idea what it was, probably a weight to keep things from blowing in the wind, and I pulled that into the kayak too, and stashed it all behind the seat back with my sneakers and socks. In that instant, in my own small way, I understood what Greenpeace might feel like.

I then quietly, nonchalantly paddled southeast a bit and circled back to the front of the island. As I was doing this, a silver-haired couple wearing circa 1960 vinyl PFDs proclaiming Boy Scout Troop NNNN was bearing down hard and fast on the island in an ancient silver aluminum canoe. I explained to the woman that they couldn’t approach the island because of the nesting birds and eggs due to hatch and I thought they were paying attention to me, but I was mistaken. They were heading closer and closer as they circled around to the back of the island.

In the meantime, I paddled up to the snacking man in the red kayak still beached on the island, literally to beseech him to leave before the heron abandons the nest. While I was trying to talk to him, the silver canoe came upon me from behind and rear-ended my boat. Outrageous lack of seamanship on a 700-acre body of water. I asked them to get away from the island and again explained about the nest and what would happen if they got too close for too long and the adult herons abandoned the nest.

My heart was in my throat again and I paddled away from the island, heading west. I turned the boat around, and the lunkheads in the silver canoe were still there. I boldly waved my left arm in broad sweeping strokes motioning them all away from the island. And I kept on motioning them away.

The silver canoe then came right up to me and the woman asked me “Did you see the remote?”

I had no idea what she was talking about and so honestly said “no.” It was only after they paddled away that I realized that the red plastic fob on the end of the milk carton string behind my seat back must have been the “remote,” whatever a remote is.

Father great blue heron has fled the nest and watches anxiously from the tall pines.

Father great blue heron has fled the nest and watches anxiously from the tall pines.

I paddled to a secluded spot on the northern shoreline of south lake and relocated the milk carton and dangling fob on the branch of a different bush, far enough from the island to not be a concern for the herons, but close enough to their original placement to not make a huge difference in their little game.

As I raised the binoculars,  I could tell by then that the adult heron was not in the nest. Would the adult return? All I could do was watch and wait. 

I lost track of time, but it seemed an eternity. 

I headed west a little bit more, turned around, and there in the sky was the adult, making a nice big circle and a perfect landing on the nesting tree! He quickly got back into position on the nest and hunkered down.

By this point in the afternoon, the silver canoe was gone, the red kayak was a fair distance away, and I needed to head back for the day, and so I turned my kayak towards home.

Just then, a middle-aged woman in a tiny tan kayak with a big black dog wearing it’s own adorable PFD passed by. I remarked about her cuddly first mate and she said he couldn’t wait to get out of the boat.

I then realized that they were going very fast, straight for the island. I called to her and said you can’t go the island, there are nesting herons with chicks due to hatch soon and she replied, “I’m doing an orienting weekend. I need to get to the remote.”

And on she paddled towards the island, as my blood ran cold. I could only imagine the havoc her dog would cause romping about the island floor.

If you’ve been following this blog, you already know that the eggs hatched, the two heron chicks fledged and they have both successfully migrated, fall and spring, and found their way back to their home at the lake. I am in awe of how they did that.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Between mid-June, 2012, when the above story took place, and August 12, 2012, when the herons fledged for good, there were many – too many – instances of human encroachment at the nesting island. The father heron in particular would leave the nest, and watch anxiously from tall pines across the channel.

Whenever I noticed people landing on the island, or venturing too close and jeopardizing the herons’ survival, I’d try to educate them, and often shared my binoculars to let them see the beauty of the herons.

Fellow photographers were often the worst offenders, so eager to get closer and closer to get that “perfect shot” of the baby birds.

What is the cost of people being careless or disrespectful in nature?

If you’re a nature lover, birder, photographer, boater, whatever, take a minute and read Ray Bradbury’s short story “A Sound of Thunder,” and imagine that instead of a  butterfly, it’s a great blue heron.

And after your next nature outing, how would you answer these:

Did you and your children have a wonderful nature walk, but did the fledgling flush as your toddler squealed and clapped in delight at seeing the pretty birdie?

Did you and your group have a great afternoon orienteering, but did the mother heron veer away while taking fish back to the chicks because you ventured too close to the nest?

Did you and your friends have a fun time waterskiing, but did the father heron abandon his brood when your boat circled the nesting island too close one time too many?

Did you get that perfect shot, but flushed the fledgling in the process?

How long will your friends and family remember your photo? The waterskiing, orienteering, that particular nature walk?

How long will the fledgling remember the meal he missed or the calories he wasted fleeing you? 

Maybe only that single meal, those much-needed calories were his tipping point between life and death.

Read “A Sound of Thunder.”

Imagine that instead of a  butterfly, it’s a magnificent great blue heron.

Don’t be “that guy.”


Here are some great resources for birding/photography ethics:

The Jerk – ABA Blog by Ted Lee Eubanks

ABA Code of Birding Ethics

About the tagline of this post, it’s a bumper sticker I’d love to see:

“If the Heron Can Read This, You’re Too Close”


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.


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.

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.


Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds. Anybody see any birds around here?
Thanks to Debbie for her One Word Sunday: Symmetry. The two photos of the Heron fledglings are symmetrical.

Thanks to Mama Cormier for her Thursday Trios. The panel of three mirror-image Heron fledglings is a trio, even if today isn’t Thursday.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer .

From Anne Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer.

From John Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 190: Close and Closer.


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 13, 2022, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Birds, Inspiration, Mindfulness, monday portrait, Nature, Photography, thursday trios, ukraine, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. Great coordination and symmetry performed by the fledglings. And I adore that headshot – what a hair do! And a great sparkle in his eye.

    • Hi Debbie. So glad your liked the Heron’s “good hair day!” I had fun with your One Word Sunday today! Many thanks for your kind compliments. Best, Babsje

  2. Ah, Babsje, the cloesups of your beautiful model are exceptional. As for the synchronicity… they are so elegantly synchronized! One could of course argue that they are simply posing for you! 😉 Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and week ahead. xoxo

  3. Great photography Babsje, my compliments !
    Many greets,

  4. I bet the vast majority of people paddling near the nesting island do not know that there are Heron’s nesting there.
    You should get 4 sheets of plywood and paint them white. Write something on them (maybe……Heron’s Nesting. Stay Clear) to ward people off as you cannot be there all the time.
    Having said that, because the island is so populated with Herons, whatever paddlers that do come by cannot be disturbing them very much. If they were being bothered that island would have far fewer Herons, but because it’s packed from one end to another I suspect they are happy campers.
    Animals are far more resilient and tolerant than Humans are.

  5. Beautiful post for this challenge Babsje. I admire your dedication to the nesting island. We have a set of nesting trees in nearby Lincoln California. I’m going to try to get up there within the next two weeks. Herons and Egrets nest there. The trees are located in a green space located between two parking lots. So far, photographers and neighbors seem respectful of not disturbing the area. Watch for a post.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Anne. Please keep in mind that people should not get close to Herons, no matter what the crowd may be doing. Everyone needs to stay preferably half a mile from the Great Blue Herons UNLESS you are in an actual “hide” so they are not aware of your presence. If those people you mentioned are closer than that, they are not being respectful of the needs of the birds. Best, Babsje

  6. The other day I saw a great blue heron nab a fish from a pond. The fish was at least 6 inches long and about 3 inches in width. The heron had it firmly in its beak, then it let it drop onto the grass and gave it a few pecks. Once the fish was still it picked it up and swallowed it! Amazing to see such a big fish go down the heron’s slim neck. I was hand grazing my horse on the grass about 30 feet from the heron. My horse looked up when it came up onto the grass and then went back to eating. I have a post going up tomorrow with a photo of a heron I saw where we live. I too the photo using a 600,mm lens so I was a long way away from him.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. Wildlife is why we have long lenses. If you disturb your subject, you’re too ******* close!

    Thank you for all you do. But remember there are crazies out there who might not take kindly to your suggestions.

    • Thanks very much for saying that! I’ve had a few up-close-and-personal encounters on the water with some over-eager boaters, but “no blood no foul” ensued, fortunately. As for online? When I see people intent on getting too close or otherwise set on disturbing the Herons, I try to gently and politely dissuade them and then I vote with my unfollow button. Some people don’t take a hint. Thanks again! Best, Babsje

  8. These are amazing images. Thanks

  9. Interesting as always Babsje. be careful out there, you never know who you’ll run into. Here they are very used to people and rarely move for us. We can easily be within a few feet of them and they’ll just go about their business. They have a healthy respect for our alligators though, and often compete for prey in and around our lagoons. When they fly they remind me of pterodactyls – or what I assume pterodactyls once looked like! It’s wonderful to share our world with them and they with us.

    • Thanks so much, Tina. I never put in without my canister of Mace. It’s the pink girly flavor, lol. One thing that intrigues me are the Egrets that stand or ride atop the backs of gators. I have read of the symbiotic relationship between gators and birds, and have seen photos of wide-mouthed gators with small birds pecking away at the gator’s teeth like tiny avian dental hygienists. You have amazing wildlife there. Best, Babsje

  10. Ha! A face ‘that only a mother could love’. 🙂 Love the N’Sync too!!

  11. So amazing, WoW!! What a special place for GBH! I love the details of the bird images. Oooh, two birds in a row. Beautiful, indeed!

    • Many thanks for your lovely comments, Amy! I’m glad you appreciated this one. I had fun with this LAPC topic and Debbie’s Symmetry challenge. Best, Babsje

  12. Hard to believe how thoughtless people can be, Babsje. I love that first photo! Looks like me on a grumpy day. Thanks so much for your attention and care of the birds.

  13. Your close ups are great – especially the first one! Sorry you ran into some inconsiderate kayakers and I can’t believe one of them rammed you. Years ago I took a wildlife photography class from a well-known photographer. He bragged about constructing scaffolding next to a tree with an owl nest to get his “perfect” shots. Grrr. Some people just don’t get it.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely compliment about that lead photo and for sharing your story about that jerk who built scaffolding next to an Owl nest! Some people are just so desperate for their perfect photos or perfect orienteering experience and should know better! Including those folks who rammed my kayak. Best, Babsje

  14. Your first photo is my favorites. It is so dramatic. I love your close up of the feathers too. Okay, I just like your post 😀 😀

  15. Lovely macro details of the feathers, Babsje, and the eye of the heron. Good point about respecting wildlife and keeping our physical distance.

  16. Nice close-ups.

    Unfortunately, too many who call them professional photogs aren’t. If you look at their work resume, they began shooting quite recently … 2010 seems to be the popular year. It coincides with DSLRs becoming more affordable. What it comes down to is not having the right equipment, not understanding the rules (particularly with wildlife), and more. JN Ranch and us ban hunters, photogs, hikers, etc. Essentially, we ban everyone. If you don’t have legitimate business with either of us, it’s keep out. It is easy to spook cattle and horses. Consequently, we have plenty of wildlife on our range.

    PS – Elizabeth sent an email.

    • I typed “themselves” in paragraph two. It seems WP cut off the “selves” part.

    • Hi David, many thanks for your kind compliment and thoughtful remarks. You’re very intelligent to keep the ranch property free from uninvited interlopers, for the good of your horses and cattle and the safety of your family. About the “professional” photographers and the timing of DSLRs becoming more popular. I think you make a good point. (My own involvement predates DSLRs by a number of decades.) And thanks also for the heads-up about Elizabeth’s email. I have already replied to her. Best, Babsje

  17. Great photo for Debbie’s ‘Symmetry’ challenge. Your advice about giving wildlfe their required space is very important. The Barbara Kingsolver quote is very apposite considering the state of our world today.

    • Hi Sylvia. Many thanks for your thoughtful observations. I know you have beautiful wildlife at your home and I can tell from your own photos the respect and care you show them. And you’re right about that Kingsolver passage in these days. Best, Babsje

  18. Love that first photo.

  19. Respecting wildlife is essential. You are doing a great job every day. Love that headshot!

  20. Hi, I have always admired your heron images since discovering your blog, but this time, I read your post in detail. You truly are dedicated to those beautiful birds. It is a shame that people when told of the issue, ignore the explanation and do what they planned to do anyway.
    You have written an interesting and insightful post in telling the tale of your encounters with those scavenger hunters. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi John. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and for your thoughtful, considerate comments. As you can tell, the Herons are a true labor of love. Best, Babsje

  21. My dear friend, this is the third time around to this post. Thank you for your commitment to amazing creatures who share our world. I have come to wonder whether humans are the most advanced creature?!!! While we desire to receive compassion, we must also learn to develop compassion and empathy for the world around us. I especially noted your words:

    “In the past few weeks, I have seen several photos of Herons that had obviously been flushed by photographers. Flushing a Heron is not good, it is a rookie mistake – even if it makes for a dynamic photo.”

    If we don’t like to be “flushed out” and scared by sudden movements, why would we do that to a Heron? To me photography is about capturing our extraordinary moments. Special care must be taken when entering into nature photography. I think Ralph Waldo Emerson has the best advice: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

    A wonderful post, Babsje!

    • Dear Rebecca, my friend. If I could “like” your thoughtful comment 10 times, it wouldn’t be enough. Many thanks for your sweeping observations. I, too, question those who consider humans the most advanced creatures, and these sentences of yours expresse words to live by: “While we desire to receive compassion, we must also learn to develop compassion and empathy for the world around us. …Special care must be taken when entering into nature photography.  I think Ralph Waldo Emerson has the best advice:  “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”” Exactly so! The closing sentence of my “About” page is “And the herons? They’re a study of Patience and Grace.”

      You and Emerson got that right. Thanks again Rebecca! Best, Babsje

  22. This was a long post that kept me biting off word after words as I would my fingernails if I was nervous. You are doing a brave job of education. Not many teachers would go to the lengths that you did to protect and educate. Thank you for your big heart and the effect you are having to save these beautiful creatures, Babsje.

    • Hi Marsha! Thank you so very much for your generous and thoughtful comment. I appreciate your kind words about “education” and am glad you like the Great Blue Herons. Best, Babsje

  23. Your dedication to protecting the herons read like a thriller novel, Babsje. It’s amazing and disheartening how clueless people can be about wildlife. Your images are fabulous and the repeating three nests in sync really made me smile. Great post! 🙂

    • Hi Jane. Thanks so much for your generous compliment. I’m glad you appreciated that trio of Heron chicks in the nest – it seemed uncanny to me how in sync they mirrored each other’s motions while preening and I’m smiling at the way you likened the story to a thriller. Thanks! Best, Babsje

  24. Astonishing photos, Babsje. So beautiful! Conversely, what an incredibly sad story. (But I am not surprised…) Thank you for your perseverance in helping these beautiful creatures.
    I hope you are as well as anyone can be in these trying times.

    • Hi Julie. Thanks so much for your very thoughtful comment. I know you are a fellow bird-lover and it must feel that I am preaching to the choir. I hope you are well and enjoying the start of Spring there despite the distressing state of world affairs. Thanks again. Best, Babsje

  25. Blue Herons are my favorite!!! This picture is fabulous!!!

  26. First… I am glad you talked about getting too close, in person. We have cameras for that. It was always a chore to keep people from the wildlife when I worked in Yellowstone.

    Next… Wow. I love the close up face photo, but how cool to have the fledglings in sync. Fun. ( I think they did it on purpose- they love you back)

    • Hi Donna. Aw you say the sweetest things about the fledglings posing on purpose and loving me back! Thanks for the heartwarming comment. And you worked in Yellowstone? How awesome is that. I’d love to hear more – have you posted about it? Thanks again. Best, Babsje

      • You are welcome. I always enjoy your “story of the day”. I have posted about Yellowstone , more so in the earlier days of my blog. How we ended up there and my impressions of our time there. I think I have a tab for posts from there. Lol. I don’t know anymore. I have to tiny up my site. In time… for now I just enjoy.

        • Thanks again for your kind words about the story of the day. They are fun to experience and write. I’ll have to look for tabs on your site when on a real computer! I use the WP app on mobile most of the time, and it works nicely but one drawback is that it doesn’t present full-site views, just posts from the Reader. So thanks for pointing me in the direction of Yellowstone in your tabs. Have a lovely spring weekend!

  27. Have you thought of publishing a coffee table picture book?
    You certainly have enough photographs to do it and you already have a fan base from your blog.

    • Thanks so much for your creative idea! I’m glad you appreciate the Heron photos enough to make that suggestion. It is definitely a labor of love, and a coffee table book is something I had considered in the “before times” when brick & mortar book shops had closed to foot traffic. But now? Maybe the time is better. Thanks for the encouragement. Best, Babsje

  1. Pingback: Fame – Travel with Intent

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