Category Archives: Humor

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Love for Valentines Day

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

Great blue heron preening, shaped like a heart – babsjeheron.

And they whirl and they twirl and they tango
Singing and Jinging a Jango
Floating like the heavens above
Looks like Heron Love

With apologies to Willis Alan Ramsey and Captain & Tennille

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

Great blue heron adults pair bonding during nest building – babsjeheron.

It’s no secret that I love the Great Blue Herons you see here on this blog. There are some other photographers who also love the Herons they capture. To Judy and Phil and Jerry and Sylvia and Loukelier and Nick and Mike, “Here’s looking at you kid.” I love that you love your Heron models.

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Graceful. The courtship dance of the Great Blue Herons is often truly graceful. As the song quoted above says “…they whirl and they twirl and they tango…” and more.

Thanks also to WordPress for the recent Daily Prompt: Lovingly. I’m tardy for this daily prompt, but I think I can be forgiven what with this being Valentine’s Day and the prompt being titled “Lovingly.”

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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™

© 2017 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

If the Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sees His Shadow?

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

Shadow of A Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

If the Great Blue Heron sees his shadow
Does it mean six more weeks of winter??

Yes, I know Ground Hog’s Day was a week ago. But in the true spirit of that whimsical movie, every day is Ground Hog’s Day all over again. And so, if the Great Blue Heron sees his shadow, do we get six more weeks of winter? I sure hope not.

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Shadow.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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™

© 2017 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Each time I see the upside down Heron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)  Great blue heron reflection.

Great blue heron reflection.

Our Great Blue Heron in affectionate homage to Shel Silverstein…

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) Great blue heron with reflection.

Great blue heron with reflection.


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“Each time I see the Upside-Down Man 
Standing in the water, 
I look at him and start to laugh, 
Although I shouldn’t oughtter. 
For maybe in another world 
Another time 
Another town, 
Maybe HE is right side up 
And I am upside down.”

Shel Silverstein
Reflection

A Light in the Attic

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This week’s photo challenge is symmetry. Reflection is the most elemental form of symmetry. The photos here show a fledgling Great Blue Heron in relection. I find the reflection, with its sense of fluid movement, more visually interesting than the actual heron image, itself. Which do you prefer? Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for this topic.

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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Fledgling, Kayaking

In a Teachable Moment

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

Mute swan cygnet tries to fly.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts. Unlike tree-top dwellers who launch out of the nest for their maiden flight, the swans’ process of learning to fly is quite a contrast: the cygnet must develop sufficient wing muscle bulk, not to mention huge feathers, in order to achieve that first lift-off from the water’s surface. The male parent shows the cygnets how this is done by example, flapping his enormous wings as he advances across the water and finally upwards, the percussive slaps of his wings as they strike the surface resounding through the air like canon shot. I had been observing the swan family in this photo for several weeks, watching the father demonstrate his take off technique back and forth across the small lake. Then, one day, one of the cygnets imitated his father, rearing up in the water, trying to scoop the air with his budding wings to achieve liftoff. At this stage in his development, though, he lacked flight feathers and so his baby wings seemed more like plucked chicken wings than anything else. It was an endearing spectacle!

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.
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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan, Cygnet

The Security Cam is Down – Who You Gonna Call for Backup?

Oh, the irony.

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

“Man your station, Hawkeye, incoming kayak at ten o’clock.”

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File this one under silly nonsense.

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UPDATE: Speaking of Red Tailed Hawks, two fellow bloggers have been following an ongoing story out of Ithaca, NY, this summer. One of the fledglings at Cornell University had been injured, requiring surgery. Read more at the blogs of circuitousjourney and dearkitty1.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts. Looks like this building has enlisted a pair of Red Tailed Hawks to augment their roof-top security cameras. I couldn’t resist the irony and the contrasts of new-technology and Nature’s original (and best) hawk-eye tech.

Thanks to Paula for her wonderful Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge challenge.

Thanks to Cee for her Odd Ball Photo challenge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.
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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Red Tail Hawk, Humor

Busted!

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

Wonder what he’s thinking as he discovers the camera.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra-Extra. People who know me know that my motto is “Walk softly and carry a long lens.™” Because most of the photos on this blog were taken on the water, it is especially important to give the wildlife an extra-wide margin of personal space so as to not endanger them in any way by venturing too close. As much as I take special precautions to remain hidden from their view, including use of telephoto lenses and natural-cover hides, every once in a while the wildlife sees me. And every once in a while when that happens, the result is humorous, like the cygnet in the middle of today’s photo, staring straight at my camera. The other photos from that day’s series show the mother swan serenely ferrying her brood about the lake, but this one has that extra-extra something.

Thanks to Sue for her A Word A Week Challenge: Happy. The cygnet in the middle brought a big smile when I downloaded the photos from this session.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan, Kayaking

Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 1 – Nancy Drew and the Case of the Purloined Heron

The southwest staircase wall was empty – a blank white space stared at me starkly from the landing between floors.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)  Great blue heron amongst water lilies in the cove.

Great blue heron amongst water lilies in the cove.

The framed great blue heron was gone!

Shades of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist!

Someone had been in the house, but who?

Had a burglar made off with the heron?

Was anything else missing?

Was he still in the house?

Was it safe for me to be there alone?

My sensitive radar for danger didn’t kick in this one time – I didn’t “sense” anyone lurking about in the broad daylight. The 19th century wood floors gave no telltale creaks of footfalls, and, most significantly, the dog snored loudly on his cushion.

I roused the dog and gingerly we checked all the rooms, upstairs and downstairs – looking behind doors, peering into closets and even behind the shower curtain.

Whomever it was, was gone.

A relief.

And a mystery: nothing else seemed to have been disturbed, nothing else missing. Just that one great blue heron photo.

It is a good photograph – one of my favorite painterly photos, one I’m proud of, and definitely “art.”

But definitely not great art.

Yet it was missing,

Had someone thought it valuable enough to steal?

How much self-flattery would it take for me to believe that someone entered my home and stole a photograph, yet left behind anything else of value? A lot. I would really have to be flattering myself a lot to believe that.

And yet the great blue heron was missing, and remained missing.

Until…

Until I opened the built-in pantry cupboard two days later, and found the missing photograph. The glass had been partly shattered and the frame dinged a bit, but the print, itself, was undamaged.

A relief.

And another mystery: who hid the heron photograph in my pantry, and why?

The mystery became amusing, and I had a bit of fun imagining scenarios once I realized that the heron hadn’t been purloined.

My landlord’s son solved the mystery a few days later: he had accidentally bumped into the framed print on the staircase wall while taking something up to the attic. The painting fell and he hid it in the pantry. His plan was to get a new pane of glass and replace the photo before I noticed it missing. What a sweet, thoughtful young man.

And what fun entertaining the thought – if only for the fleetingest of moments – that someone might have liked this photo enough to take it for themselves.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art. While the great blue heron photograph shown here is a work of art, click here to learn about a new virtual tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and see works of art in an entirely different league.

Thanks to Paula for her wonderful Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for his Wild Bird Wednesday 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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Just for Fun – A Silly Genre

As any honest wildlife photographer can attest, there’s nothing “rare” about the subject of a photo suddenly leaping or flying or running just out of the frame as the shutter trips.

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

Most photographers never let those photos see the light of day, but not Lyle from Krahnpix, who boldly posted his Inaugural Butt Collection last fall.

The moment this Bald Eagle cruised directly over my head, I was reminded of Lyle’s great collection (click here).

The way the sunlight paints the underside of the eagle’s wing in this photo gives it some artistic merit, but file this post under just for fun.

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Move. The Bald Eagle was definitely on the move, stroking his enormous wings handily as he flew directly over my head.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for his Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bald Eagle

“I’m just swimming au naturelle,” he lied smoothly.

In children’s fables, the crafty trolls lived in the shadowy worlds of tunnels beneath bridges.

My troll preferred the trail above the tunnel, where he walked back and forth above the parapet.

Buck nekkid.

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

Great blue heron female taking off from nest, while her mate tends their eggs.

The great blue herons had laid their eggs about three weeks earlier, and I was eager to see if the adults were still on the nest, incubating them.

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

To reach the island and the great blue herons’ nest, I would need to paddle inside this narrow tunnel, one of my favorite spots.

The nest was a couple of miles from the boathouse, usually a pleasant twenty-minute kayak trip due south. I would paddle the length of middle lake, under the stone bridge, past the softly flowing waterfall, and emerge at the top of south pond just as I had done hundreds of times before.

As I approached the tunnel, a flash of movement from the path above caught my eye. A shirtless man was moving first towards the bushes at the right, and then he reversed direction and walked eastwards weaving amongst the bushes.

His behavior up there seemed a bit odd, but I was anxious to get to the herons, and so slipped inside the tunnel and was on my way after one last glance up at him. Exiting the tunnel, I exchanged pleasantries with two other kayakers. It felt reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one around that day.

The next hour was enthralling – the adult herons did their “changing of the guard ritual,” with the male arriving to relieve the female, who had been sitting on the nest. Sometimes the hand-off is perfunctory: the incoming bird swoops in unceremoniously and simply takes over the nest, while its mate departs quickly. Other times, they engage in pair-bonding rituals, greeting each other with elaborate courtship and greeting displays. This day, they captivated me with their feathery displays, spending some time together at the nest before the female took off.

Satisfied with my visit with the herons, I headed back in for the day after an hour. Just past the waterfall, I encountered the same two women kayakers seen earlier in the day.

One paddled right up to me and asked, “Did you see the naked guy?”

Uh oh, not only was the “shirtless man” I had seen atop the tunnel parapet “shirtless,” he was also pantsless.

The two women headed on their way and I turned towards the tunnel, heading back to the boathouse.

There on the path above the bridge once again (or perhaps not once again, but rather “still”) was the man – buck naked – walking across the top of the tunnel.

And there I was with my camera stashed below decks. What a photo op that was and I missed it.

He followed the path as it curved along above the shore, and ducked behind some shrubs, but not before he saw me seeing him.

We stared at each other, me from my kayak yards away in the cove, he on the shore, wrapping a blue towel around his waist.

For many people, it might have been a funny situation, but I was frightened. On the one hand, rationally, I knew I was safe in my kayak (unless he was the sort inclined to have a weapon), but I felt frozen by fear. In the past, I had been on the receiving end of several incidents of “violence against women” at the hands of strangers (such as stalking, rape, arson), and so this stranger’s strange behavior brought back a deeply-ingrained panicky urge to get away from him.

There we were, looking at each other. I didn’t want to upset him, wanting to appear nonchalant lest I do something that would incite him to try to follow me home later.

I mean, what do you say to a naked man parading around, and so I blurted out an inanity about the lovely weather that day.

To which he lied, “I’m just swimming au naturelle.”

Deep breath.

I paddled on through the tunnel, and once in the cove, phoned the encounter in to the boathouse.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the boathouse half an hour later and was told they caught him. The state Environmental Police and town police converged on the trail and when they caught him, he was still walking around on the path naked.

I didn’t press charges and the police made sure he understood that the lake is not a “clothing optional” sort of place.

I love happy endings.

But ever since that day, I can’t slip inside that tunnel in my kayak without first scanning the nearby shore and bushes and the trail above the parapet, looking out for the naked guy.

One day this past summer, I saw him again, in the exact same spot, walking back and forth across the trail above the tunnel. I had to do a double-take because he looked naked once again, but when I got the binoculars focused, I could see what he was wearing: light tan/flesh-colored socks, light tan/flesh-colored shorts, and a light tan/flesh-colored shirt. Just an illusion of being nekkid. Lol.

I love funny endings.

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This week, Erica challenged us with the topic of the way our perspective changes as we age. I mentioned in the post above having first-hand experience of violent acts at the hands of strangers. There are subtle scars that can result from those sorts of situations, reactions and memories that would be triggered in most any woman survivor, coping strategies we adapt for protection. Having been stalked more than once, I no longer drive a car. (In one state where I lived, anyone could go to the motor vehicle registry and pay less than $5.00 to get the home address of any license plate number.)

So, I don’t drive BUT I do kayak. I have discovered as I have grown older the liberation of being on the water with the great blue herons. It is a floating meditation. I’ll write more about that one day.

Actually, I’ve been writing that in one way or another all along.

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Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge.

Thanks to Krista and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: Brilliant Disguise. (What a brilliant disguise, for the formerly-nekkid guy to wear flesh-colored clothing to give the appearance of being naked. How funny that was.)

Thanks to Josh R and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside.

Thanks to Erica and WordPress for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years.

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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron

Cat Got Your Tongue?

Not likely with a tongue like this!

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

Great blue heron fledgling licking his lips, erm bill.

This week, Ben and WordPress challenged us to show you TONGUE. The photo here shows a great blue heron fledgling licking his lips, erm licking his bill after downing a small fish.

As you can see, a heron’s tongue is as long as their very long bill, and…

Oh, wait, not what Ben meant by showing tongue?

As dear Emily Litella used to say on the original SNL, “Nevermind.”

What Ben actually meant was for us to speak about what language we would wish to be fluent in.

I would choose to be fluent in “Heron,” and have already learned three words from their vocabulary:

Frawhnk
Gooooh
Arrrrh, arrrrh, arrrrh

I wrote about learning arrrrh earlier, click here.

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Thanks to Ben Huberman and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: TONGUE.

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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™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Fledgling

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