Category Archives: Cats

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days – babsjeheron

And when I’ve reached the end of my days, may I be found with a Great Blue Heron nest built within my ribcage.
With apologies to Robert Macfarlane
The Old Ways

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron has caught a small Pickerel after stalking it like a cat – babsjeheron.

(Frequent visitors to my blog know that some posts are Art-with-a-capital-A, some are more scientific, and some are my personal photojournalist observations from the field. This post is not capital-A-Art, although the Great Blue Herons, themselves, are decidedly works of art in and of themselves as far as I am concerned.)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron about to strike – babsjeheron.

Have you ever watched a cat stalking something? You might have noticed the cat “triangulating” on the prey if the prey is still. Because cats can’t see motionless critters well (or perhaps at all), the cat will move in order to pinpoint the precise location where it needs to pounce.

And just before the cat pounces, you may notice that often the cat hunkers down, raising its butt while lowering its head, then shifting its weight on rear paws from side to side.

Great Blue Herons sometimes do that same maneuver before striking. As you can see in the animation here, the Heron’s head is very nearly motionless, while its neck and body sway from side to side as it fixes on the location of the Pickerel it is stalking. The Heron then lowered its head, raised its tail, and struck with lightning speed.

It was a lucky strike because, as the photo shows, the Heron just barely caught the Pickerel – the fish was easily a foot long, but the Heron only was able to grasp the end of the Pickerel’s snout. The Heron easily swallowed the Pickerel in one gulp. Happy Great Blue Heron!

I can remember the first time I observed a Heron stalking a fish using that cat-like sequence as though it was only yesterday. Watching through the binoculars, I saw the Heron sway from side to side, raise its butt, lower its head and then strike below the surface, and I broke into a big smile when I realized it was hunting just like my cat. Who knew?!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community 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 “Interesting Architecture.” While photographing Herons in Boston one day, I captured the Museum of Science. From the vantage point of my kayak, the building looks very interesting, as though it has airplane propellers on the roof and the pilot is just waiting to hear the control tower declare “Museum, you are cleared for take off.”

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff – babsjeheron

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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. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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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.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
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A Great Blue Heron is Most Like a Cat When…

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.  

Thich Nhat Hanh,
Peace is Every Step

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron has caught a small pike after stalking it like a cat.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron about to strike.

Have you ever watched a cat stalking something? You might have noticed the cat “triangulating” on the prey if the prey is still. Because cats can’t see entirely motionless critters well (or perhaps at all), the cat will itself move in order to pinpoint the precise location where it needs to pounce.

And just before the cat pounces, you may notice that often the cat hunkers down, raising its butt while lowering its head, then shifting its weight on rear paws from side to side.

Great blue herons sometimes do that same maneuver before striking. As you can see in the animation I’ve created here, the heron’s head is very nearly motionless, while its neck and body sway from side to side as it fixes on the location of the pike it is stalking. The heron then lowered its head, raised its tail, and struck with lightning speed.

It was a lucky strike because, as the top photo here shows, the heron just barely caught the pike – the fish was easily a foot long, but the heron only was able to grasp the end of the pike’s mouth. The heron easily swallowed the pike in one gulp. Happy heron!

I can remember the first time I observed a heron stalking using that cat-like sequence like it was only yesterday. Watching through the binoculars, I saw the heron sway from side to side, raise its butt, lower its head and then strike below the surface, and I broke into a big smile when I realized it was hunting just like my cats. Who knew?!

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Thanks again to Cee for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Happy.

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote: Happiness prompt.

Thanks once more to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Still prompt. How is it that the heron can hold its head so utterly still while the rest of its body sways from side to side? I find that fascinating.

Thanks also to Michelle for her Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge prompt.

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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Cats

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