Romancing the Great Blue Heron Redux: Love Affair

Great Blue Herons pair bonding - babsjeheron © Babsje (

Great Blue Herons pair bonding – babsjeheron

My blog and I have been very quiet for many months due to serious illness that has prevented outings in nature, but the love of Herons is undiminished.


During a break in nest building, the Great Blue Heron pair enhanced their bond with courtship moves so intimate I imagined hearing the soft refrains of that old chestnut “I only have eyes for you, dear.”

“Our love must be some kind of kind of blind love.
I can’t see anyone but you.

Are the stars out tonight?
I don’t know if it’s cloudy or bright.
I only have eyes for you, dear…”

A. Dubin, H. Warren
I Only Have Eyes for You

“I Only Have Eyes for You” is a gem of a tune. This chestnut has been performed by a who’s who of musicians, including The Flamingos, Sinatra & Count Basie, Rod Stewart, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Mathis, Carly Simon, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Peterson, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and more…

But the best ever version in my opinion is this very sweet Art Garfunkle cover. Trust me on that.

This next trio of frames taken during a break in nest building that day shows the obvious connection between the mated pair of Great Blue Herons.

The Herons engage each other during a break in nest building - babsjeheron  © Babsje (

The Herons engage each other during a break in nest building – babsjeheron

Nest building had been completed four weeks earlier and the Great Blue Heron eggs were due to hatch any moment. The suspense was mounting daily – would this be the day? And then one day, the female swooped back to the nest bearing a small stick. How sweet, I thought to myself – a token of her affection for her mate, who was hunkered down on the eggs.

Four weeks after mating, a Great Blue Heron returns to the nest and presents a stick to the mate, hunkered down atop the eggs about to hatch - babsjeheron   © Babsje (

Four weeks after mating, a Great Blue Heron returns to the nest and presents a stick to the mate, hunkered down atop the eggs about to hatch – babsjeheron

It was a touching, tender moment to behold. They only had eyes for each other while courting, but even once they got down to the business of incubating the eggs, their pair bonding efforts persisted, with lavish greeting displays when one returned to the nest, occasional preening (allopreening) of each other, and more. I had watched their courtship and nest building four weeks earlier, but there was something special about seeing her bring that twig back to the male in the nest. I had never before seen them take little gifts like this small stick back to the nest. How sweet.

I am still smitten by their deep bonding, their dedication to each other and their nest.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Great Blue Herons & me!


Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface graced gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January thru February 26 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (

TCAN One-Woman Show January through February 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

TCAN One-Woman Show January thru February 26 2022 Front Lobby Trio © 2022 Babsje (

TCAN One-Woman Show January through February 2022 Front Lobby Trio

My Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. It was great to see so many of you there.

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 TCAN to see the wonderful gallery displays of artworks by many talented visual artists, as well as excellent live music performances and stage plays. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

As always, many of my own photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.


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.



Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas have opened back up in a new normal, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past THREE years and they still 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 – 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 Center Cultural District


Posted on February 14, 2023, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Art, Birds, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography. Bookmark the permalink. 104 Comments.

  1. So good to have you back Babsje, and I hope you are well. What a way to have a comeback with this lovely pair of herons. Beautiful photography.

  2. So sorry to read you’ve been ill. Hope you’ll be out and about again very soon.

  3. so good to hear from you Babsje! We’ve all missed you as I’m sure the Herons have as well!
    I hope you get well soon!

  4. Dear Babsje,
    we have very much missed you. We hope you are better now.
    Great pictures like always 👍
    Wishing you all the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dear Klaus, Dina, Siri and Selma, thank you very much for your caring comment. I’m so glad you enjoy the Herons. I feel badly that I haven’t been able to comment on your own beautiful posts. My eyesight is still too limited to read often. But I enjoy the beauty that you share.

      • Thank you very much for your kind answer, dear Babsje.
        We wish you that your eyesight is improving soon. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma send you a lot of healing fairy magic.
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • You’re welcome Klausbernd and my special thanks to Siri and Selma for the healing fairy magic! I have discovered many helpful tools for eyesight impairment, such as a voice-to-text speech recognition application that makes writing email possible, and inverting background and foreground so that white font appears on a black background instead of the standard black on white. More importantly, I have recognized that loss of “eyesight” does not mean a loss of “vision.” I’m sure you understand what I mean by that. Also, I just noticed yesterday that your household had Covid earlier this winter, and I’m sorry all of you had to experience that. I hope everyone has recovered fully and you’re all looking forward to Spring. My best to all the Fab Four of Cley!

          • Dear Babsje,
            I know your problem from my sister who lost 90% of her eyesight (glaucoma with other complications). She is now so used to it that if you would meet her you wouldn’t notice. Her solution was a computer with a small screen and with big letters because of her tunnel sight.
            We had a very light form of covid, just a bit of sneezing and one day of coughing. We haven’t been handicapped in our daily life at all. Now we are healthy and happy again.
            We wish that you’ll be happy again and your eyesight will improve
            The Fab Four of Cley
            🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

            • Thank you for your kind comment and well wishes. How remarkable that your sister manages so well – the large fonts definitely make a huge difference. Happy to hear that you are all now well and I’m looking forward to seeing Dina’s excellent photos from excursions you may be taking in that boat you acquired last year. All my best to the Fab Four of Cley.

  5. I love that song! Hope things are getting better for you, Babsje. You and your beautiful herons have been missed.

  6. Add my wishes for a wonderful 2023 to those here! In hopes that you regain wellness and are able to hike around more and enjoy the bird sounds outside. I do love hearing them!! And the whoosh of big wings.
    You have well captured the mating GBH pair in this post. Sometimes I think we humans have a lot to learn from the way seem to treat each other and share duties, care and feeding of offspring. Wonderful thoughts for Valentine’s Day!!

    • Hi Judy, thank you very much, and I agree that we can learn much from the birds. I like your expressions in appreciation of the sounds of the birds and the whoosh of their wings- especially in light of your past experience of hearing loss. So glad the treatment worked so well! AND your post about the Great White Herons in various “moods” showcased remarkable images! My eyesight is very limited and I couldn’t comment on your post but that lead image was incredible!

  7. This definitely caught my attention. Thanks Anita

  8. So glad to see you back, Babsje. I hope your health is improving and you feel better than ever. The herons are watching over you.

  9. Nice to find a post from you! I am sure the herons have missed you. Hope you are continuing to get better. Happy Valentine’s Day, babsje!

  10. Welcome back! I am sure the herons have missed you too. I hope you are doing better every day. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Thanks so much for the well wishes! It has been a long 10 months and trying to recall how WordPress works was a small adventure, but the Herons are worth the effort. Happy Valentine’s Day to you also.

  11. What a love-ly post. Great to hear from you again, and I hope your illness is diminishing.

    • Hi Deb – wonderful to hear from you. Many thanks for your kind welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the love-bird Heron pair. Looking forward to more of your own National Parks excursions in 2023!

  12. Babsje, thank you for this Valentine’s Day celebration of heron love. We look forward to your recovery and whatever you will post in the future.

    • Many thanks Gary, I’m looking forward to seeing better and getting out there. In the meantime, I’ll watch for your own kayaking tales to experience vicariously. Wishing you and Joyce a lovely Valentine’s Day.

    • Many thanks Gary, looking forward to seeing better and getting out there. In the meantime, I will watch for your own kayaking tales to experience vicariously. Wishing you and Joyce a lovely Valentines Day!

  13. Its great to see your post!! Glad you’re feeling better!!

  14. Welcome back…I have missed you here!

  15. What an adorable love story. I have to link it to my Wednesday Quotes post for last week and this week – love and red were the topics. Your post is so unique, and people might want to know about your presence other than online!

  16. Welcome back, Babsje!
    Wow!! Love these photos!

    • Dear Amy – many thanks for the warm welcome back greeting. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the Herons for Valentine’s Day. It has been a challenging time with very little eyesight, and attempting to post that story having not used WordPress for 10 months was quite an adventure. Hopefully with time and more healing my Adventures will have me out on the lake with the herons in real time rather than in my photo archives. And I really liked your most recent post. Thank you for your encouragement.

  17. Lovely images, Babsje. Welcome back! I hope you are well.

    • Hello Patti. Thanks for your kind comment, good to hear from you. I think I’m on the mend, although my eyesight still leaves much to be desired. I hope you are well wherever on Earth you are calling home these days. Happy travels.

  18. I’ve really missed your posts, Babsje. I’m sorry to hear about your health issues, and it’s especially distressing to read that you have some eyesight issues. That said, it sounds as though you’re developing good coping techniques, and finding ways to enjoy the world around you in new ways. One of the great blessings for us — and probably for you — is that you have those rich, rich archives. There’s no reason not to make use of them while you’re continuing to move toward the future!

    • Thank you so much for your warm and encouraging comment. It’s nice to know that the herons and I have been missed. I do feel badly that my diminished vision has made it difficult to participate in the community of bloggers. It has been difficult to even log at times but I’m grateful that the many tools available online for the visually impaired are expanding the world before my eyes. And you’re right about the wealth of our photo archives- what a joy they bring. As you say, that’s a blessing. I’m very happy for your lovely comment. Thank you!

  19. Great to see you back online! Fantastic heron photos of the heron parents together.

    • Thanks so much Rebecca. 2022 was … interesting. A life-threatening bacterial infection, two surgeries, 8 weeks inpatient and then (totally unrelated) my eyesight failed. I’m looking forward to 2023 and am hoping the eyes improve. I have missed being able to participate in the community online and IRL. Keep those Flamingos and Chickens coming!

  20. Sorry you have been suffering from an illness, Babsje. I hope you feel better as hints of spring are showing up around the country. Loved your glimpses of nest building activity!

    • Thank you very much for your kind, empathetic comment. I’m so pleased that you like the Great Blue Heron lovebirds doing their courtship nesting. I have been enjoying your blog as well, even though my limited eyesight impede’s commenting there. And you were so right about spring, bring it on. Thanks again.

  21. You’ve been missed! So sorry that illness has been the cause of your absence. I hope you are improving every day and can fully enjoy your Great Blues and all of nature very soon.

    • Hi Martha – thank you very much for your warm welcome back comment and well wishes. I am so hoping to be back out on the water by this summer, fingers crossed. Toes, too! When I spent 7 weeks in the nursing home after surgery last summer, my room was literally a stone’s throw from the lake and my beloved Herons. I swear I could hear them calling around sunrise and sunset. Perhaps it was only wishful thinking, but it helped sustain me. Thanks again!

  22. It has to be tough to have eyesight problems when you’re as involved in the visual world as you are. It’s good to know you’re on the mend and posting again. Take it easy and enjoy spring!

    • Many thanks for your empathy, Lynn! You’re right – having limited eyesight has been extremely challenging. Other artists of great repute have gone through similar challenges – Monet, Goya, Mary Cassat to name just a few – whereas now in the 21st century there are incredible tools available for the eyesight-impaired that those artists could never have imagined. I’m grateful for all of the assistive software out there, especially voice-to-text speech recognition. And loss of “eyesight” doesn’t necessarily mean loss of “vision,” if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Thanks again for your kind comment.

      • You’re right and you’re the perfect example of the importance of the advances like voice-to-text. I’m glad you’ve made it work for you! Keep thinking about vision, that’s where it’s at. 🙂

        • I love how you say “keep thinking about vision, that’s where it’s at.” One thing I’ve noticed in looking at some of the Heron photos I have framed is that they have taken on a soft focus look that is more painterly then I could ever hope to emulate through the lens. It’s just an artifact of my poor vision, but one I’d love to be able to replicate. Ironically this week’s Lens Artists photo challenge asks people to describe their technical processes for making their own photos have a “softer” look, but in my case diminished eyesight does the trick automatically. I find that amusing. Thanks again for your encouraging comments!

          • That is a really interesting observation about how changes in your vision have allowed you to see other possibilities. What about increasing that effect in processing – in Lightroom reducing clarity in certain places or reducing texture or dehaze just a little might do it. I don’t know if you use LR but even changing the way an image is sharpened can lean it more toward a painterly look. In this age of hyper-sharp images it can be refreshing to see more softness.

            • Exactly! You’re 100% right about that. It is the software version of putting Vaseline on the camera lens to soften the facial lines and wrinkles of an aging actor in an old film. Once my eyesight has improved, I’m eager to experiment. For the time being, I haven’t found any image processing software that is friendly or flexible enough for me to see the tiny tool icons and their settings. Patience is the word of the day for the near future. Thanks for the helpful suggestion and encouragement!

  23. Happy to meet your Great Blue Herons again 🙂 And I like their story!

  24. It’s time for love now.

  25. I am glad you are back. Hope for your continued healing. This tender post was touching way to return. Taking time to watch them over weeks, and gift us this story is a treasure. Once again welcome back.

    • Aw, what a sweet and thoughtful comment, thank you so much for the warm welcome back. I’m on track for 3 or 4 eye surgeries and am hoping that my eyesight improves enough to be back out with the Great Blue Herons at the lake this summer. They are a true labor of love. Thanks again.

  26. Hat a fantastic photos

  27. Dear Babsje
    We really love your blue heron pictures and your text.
    Thanks for sharing.
    All the best for your eye surgery
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Dear Klausbernd and all the Fab Four, thank you very much for the healing energy. And I’m pleased that you appreciate the Herons as I do. My best to you, Dina, Siri and Selma.

  28. Great to see you back online! Fantastic heron photos of the heron parents together.

  29. I. So sorry you’ve had vision issues, Babsje. I hope you’re improving every day. I thoroughly enjoyed your Great Blues and your narrative. Take care and keep your creative vision going strong.

    • Thank you very much Jane for your encouraging thoughts and I’m glad you get that loss of eyesight doesn’t necessarily mean loss of “vision.” The hopeful news is that eye surgery at the end of the month should make a significant improvement in my right eye and then later another procedure in each eye will be the icing on the cake. Fingers crossed. I am looking forward to being able to see your own exquisite snow-capped California mountain photos from your post today with clear eyes – even with diminished eyesight today your images look luminous.

      • I’m glad that encouraging surgeries are in your future. I bet the images take on a soft abstract quality right now. Thank you. ☺️

        • Thanks Jane and you’re right – the soft abstract qualities are actually a beautiful artifact of the condition. I’ve looked at some of my own framed photos and see them in a new way – with a softness I would like to reproduce in time after eyes surgeries are done.

          • A new impressionistic vision!

            • Yes, and speaking of impressionists, Monet had his own eye challenges. He had cataract surgery that noticeably influenced his color palette afterwards. It is fascinating to read how earlier artists have coped with eye disorders – Mary Cassat gave up painting entirely, unfortunately.

              • Yes, there was a fascinating Monet exhibit in SF that showed how his work changed as his eyesight was failing.

                • Wish I could have seen that one. He refused surgery on his second eye after the results and kept it patched. That really affects depth perception along with color recognition. Amazing how prolific he remained!

  30. I found your post about the bonding pairs of great blue herons enchanting, Babsje, thank you. I am sorry to hear you have been ill, but I hope you are recovering, and what better way than to watch the beautiful herons. I enjoyed your narrative here, especially the story about one bearing the stick gift, and that photo of the three pairs is terrific.

    • Dear Jet – Thank you very much for your lovely comment and we’ll wishes. I was captivated by those Herons’ pair-bonding activities and I’m so glad you were touched by the image of the female carrying the gift of that twig back to her nesting mate. I’m on the mend – I had been in the hospital and then a skilled nursing facility for 9 weeks after surgery for a bacterial infection. The nursing home was literally a stone’s throw from the lake those beloved Herons call home. I couldn’t see them, but I swear I could hear them calling at twilight. Maybe that was only wishful thinking? The challenge now is that I have lost most of my eyesight, but am to have 3 eye surgeries which should make a huge difference. Even with diminished eyesight now, I thought your own recent post about the Coyote showed the most beautiful Coyote I’ve seen, what a gorgeous pelt! Thanks again for your kind thoughts.

  31. I’ve missed your postings – glad to see you back.

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