Category Archives: NaBloPoMo

Great Blue Heron Using Wings for Wordless Saturday

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

Great blue heron hover fishing – high wings cast a shadow over the water to lure fish.

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Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November. (Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo, so congrats to all who participated by posting every day during November,)

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Sky. (The heron reaches for the sky with wings to create shadows on the water’s surface, then stands stock still until the fish are tricked by the shadows.)

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: High. (Holding wings high casts shadows on the water that lure in the fish, they fall for it repeatedly.)

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken July 22, 2007.)

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

Great Blie Heron, Hover Fishing

Beautiful Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron for Wordless Saturday

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

Juvenile night heron about to land in a tree.

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Thanks to Petrel41 at the Dear Kitty blog for posting this video of a juvenile black crowned night heron.

Thanks once more to Prairiebirder Charlotte for her Feathers on Friday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at SkyWatch Friday.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Sky.

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: High. (The angle of the night heron high above me was so great that it appears headless!)

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken September 2, 2012.)

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

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Studly Egret Channeling John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

Yesterday, our egret was channeling Isadora Duncan.

Today? John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

White suit and all.

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

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What is this, an audition for Dancing With The Stars?

Whatever it is, file this post under silly humor.

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Thanks to Paula and WordPress for the Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge. (I hope silly humor is occasionally allowed, because this egret is definitely a special bird, not to mention quite the dancer, too.)

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Fragrant. (Just out of frame to the left are a few blossoming bushes. I’m not sure if the egret can smell how fragrant they are – I certainly could from the kayak – but they attract dragonflies, which in turn attract the egret and herons.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken August 19, 2013.)

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

Egret

Stunning Egret Channeling Isadora Duncan

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

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Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday prompt.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Fragrant. (Just out of frame to the left are a few blossoming bushes. I’m not sure if the egret can smell how fragrant they are – I certainly could from the kayak – but they attract dragonflies, which in turn attract the egret and herons.)

Thanks to Debbie of Travel with Intent for her Look Up, Look Down Challenge. (The spiraling hawks definitely made me look up, then down.)

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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™

(This photo was taken August 19, 2013.)

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

Egret

Red Tailed Hawks’ Courtship Flight

The male Red Tailed Hawk suddenly dropped into a downward spiral, a kamikaze move designed to delight his intended beloved. She followed suit, and together they spiraled down and then back up, coming out of the dive flying in parallel as though they were pairs figure skaters and the sky their ice rink.

The video here is just 13 seconds long, if you sneeze, you will miss the death spiral.

Apologies in advance for the choppiness – it was filmed handheld with my Meade CaptureView binoculars back in the days when the video format was only 320×240 and image stabilization technology wasn’t available. If you click the icon to expand the viewing area, the clip will appear very very pixilated, so that’s not recommended.

This week, WordPress had challenged us with the word “unexpected.” The sight of these courting Red Tailed Hawks was very unexpected as I sat at the West Natick commuter train station that afternoon.

A flash of feathers caught my eye, and I happened to have the binocs handy, with the presence of mind to push the record button.

Raising the binocs, I noticed that there were three hawks interacting. Two were males vying for the female’s attention.

After chasing off the competition for her favors, the male engaged the female in this remarkable display of his prowess. It was the first courtship flight I had ever seen with the death spiral move, and also the last.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t post a clip with this much noise, but I am guessing that not many readers here have seen this sort of courtship display before, and hope you’ll be forgiving of the video quality.

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected.

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Direction. (Ese, I don’t have a catchy quote for this one, the beauty of their spiraling courtship dance leaves me wordless.)

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to Debbie of Travel with Intent for her Look Up, Look Down Challenge. (The spiraling hawks definitely made me look up, then down.)

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken August 21, 2010.)

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

Red Tailed Hawk

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected Hawk Encounter for Great Blue Heron

The raptor swooped low across the secluded cove where the yearling great blue heron was fishing far out in the middle, exposed and vulnerable to danger.

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

The hawk strafing the great blue heron flew faster than the
heron’s reflexes could handle, not to mention my shutter speed.

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

Great blue heron reacts with erect cap feathers when buzzed by a hawk.

The atmosphere in the cove had been supercharged with energy when the hawk first made its presence known. The great blue heron’s cap feathers erected suddenly, and his neck feathers puffed out simultaneously, making his neck grow to three times it’s usual size as you can see in this next photo. (If you missed the earlier post, please click here to catch up.)

The ducks clamored furiously, and the jays squawked, but almost as quickly as it arrived, the hawk disappeared deep into the thicket at the East. As far as I could tell, no ducks or jays were harmed there below the dense canopy of trees.

The danger past, I returned to taking photos of the heron, who had resumed fishing mid-cove, his cap and neck feathers back to their normal sleek configuration.

What happened next was unexpected.

Through the camera, I noticed the heron’s neck blow up in alarm again to three times it’s normal size.

The hawk had returned, and was barreling down the cove – straight for the heron.

This time, unlike the first, I kept my eye glued to the camera and fired off shots as fast as possible.

The hawk appears in only one frame of all the photos I squeezed off, it’s the photo at the top of this post. The hawk was so spectacularly fast that the heron was still looking in the direction from where the hawk came long after the hawk had flown by.

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken August 21, 2010.)

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

Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier Hawk

My What Blue Eyes You Have!

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

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Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday.

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: Lines. (The title of this post – My what blue eyes you have – seems like one of the oldest lines in the book.)

A thank-you to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken July 27, 2007.)

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

Peregrine Falcon

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Rain for Wordless Saturday

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

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Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday.

Thanks to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Favorite prompt. (No secret that great blue herons are a favorite model of mine.)

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Fragrant. (The Great Blue Heron seemed to be smelling the fragrant flowers there in the cove in the rain that morning.)

A thank-you to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken August 14, 2011.)

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

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron’s Gorgeous Wings Akimbo in Molt

Question: How do great blue herons fly when they’re molting?

Answer: Awkwardly.

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

Great blue heron molting.

Some birds molt by dropping most of their feathers at the same time, and then go into hiding while the new feathers are coming in.

As you can see from the top photo, this young great blue heron has only dropped a full layer of wing feathers already. For comparison, the photo here below shows the intact wing feathers.

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

Great blue heron wings for comparison with wings in molt.

It was a treat to observe the molting young great blue heron that summer. Birds in molt tend to make themselves scarce, hiding away until they have regained solid flight, to keep safe from predators. This young heron chose my favorite cove as a hideout, and so I was able to photograph for a couple of weeks, well-hidden in a natural-cover blind along the shore.

The heron was able to fly while missing that layer of feathers, but lifting off and gaining altitude seemed slow and clumsy compared to the heron’s usual gracefulness. Coming in for a landing was also awkward – with fewer heathers to act as “brakes.” If you look closely at the top photo here, you can see that the heron’s neck and head feathers are all erect. That isn’t a configuration that’s part of their usual landing, and I had the impression that the bird was straining to use all of its feathers – even neck feathers – to land.

Great blue herons have special downy feathers that crumble and create a powdery substance they use to clean their other feathers. While the powder down feathers are most comminly mentioned as occurring on the heron’s chest, I believe that the bright white bands you see in the top photo give a good look at other layers of these special feathers.

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Thanks once more to Prairiebirder Charlotte for her Feathers on Friday prompt.

Thanks to Sara Rosso and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(These photos were taken in June 2007 and July 2010.)

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

Great Blue Heron, Molt

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Pair Bonding at the Nest

Nest building was 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 as I watched from the kayak hidden across the channel – a token of her affection for her mate, who was hunkered down on the eggs.

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

Four weeks after mating, a great blue heron returns to the nest
and presents a stick to her mate, hunkered down atop eggs.

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

Great blue herons pair bonding during nest building.

It was a touching, tender moment to behold. 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.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, 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 of each other, and more. I had never seen them bring back little gifts like this twig, though. How sweet.

It was especially gratifying to see the progression of their nesting that summer. It was a brand new nest, one they built from scratch five weeks earlier.

The island had a long-standing nest used by pairs of herons over the years, shown at left and top right in the photo below circa 2008.

Unfortunately, the pair abandoned the nest during the summer of 2010 due to human encroachment. (I wrote about the dangers humans pose to great blue herons earlier, please click here.)

Then, sometime between October 2010 and May 2011, a bad storm felled the tree and nest. As you can see in the middle right photo below, that tree and nest have vanished entirely.

But look closely at the highlighted box at the bottom of that frame: one of the young great blue herons from the 2009 brood born on the island is perched on a limb. When first I came upon the island that spring and saw the nest gone, I was crushed, but then, I saw the heron through the binocs and felt stirrings of hope. He was there day after day for weeks at the beginning of the summer, and then later he moved northwards to a different cove.

But the following spring, on my first kayak outing to that section of the lake, there he was.

With a mate.

Building the nest you see at bottom right, below.

And those two shadowy sticklike figures in the nest? His chicks.

I love happy endings.

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

Great Blue Heron nesting trees, clockwise from top left, 2008 through 2012.

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Thanks to Paula and WordPress for the Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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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.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(These photos were taken between June 2008 and July 2012.)

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

Great Blue Heron

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