Category Archives: Nature

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at Waterfalls

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron fishing in water falling over a dam in the Charles River Watershed - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing in a Charles River Watershed dam – babsjeheron

Most of the time, the Great Blue Heron could be seen actively fishing at the base of the falls shown in photo above, retrieving fish unlucky enough to have been swept over. And sometimes, some very special times, the Heron would stand atop the dam, with the water rushing over his feet and stare off into the distance at the colors of the setting sun.

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall – babsjeheron

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens. That day of the above photo, I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air. Every couple of years, we read news stories of people falling off cliffs or going into waterfalls while taking photos. I learned how easily that can happen. One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.

Double exposure of a Great Blue Heron looking in the same direction fishing in the waterfall - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Double exposure of Herons facing the same direction at the waterfall – babsjeheron

To love is not to look at one another: it is to look, together, in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wind, Sand, and Stars

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can't step in the same waters twice - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can’t step in the same waters twice – babsjeheron

What a difference a year can make in the same waterfall. Normal years, top, and drought, bottom.

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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.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is The Ordinary. This week, the Lens Artists have invited blogger I.J. Khanewala here as guest host. Welcome I.J.!

All of the photos today were ordinary days fishing with my camera for Great Blue Herons that were fishing at local waterfalls. Of course, my sense of the ordinary may be different than yours.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Straight Lines. The lines of water falling came straight down.
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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. This post has quite a bit of water.
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From I.J. Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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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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Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

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Tomorrow, Sunday October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick comes alive with Art in the Park. There will be over 2 dozen local artists enjoying the fresh air and offering their art for your enjoyment. Stop in between 10am and 3pm ET for a gorgeous Autumn day of art and music. (I am recovering from eye surgery and will not be showing this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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

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! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
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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
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Gets Lucky

Great Blue Fledgling Sticks His Landing - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Sticks The Landing – babsjeheron

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Great Blue Heron With Pickerel Weed - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron With Pickerel Weed – babsjeheron

Boat traffic was ominously heavy that morning at the lake.
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Old Blue the kayak and I had put in later than usual, and it was dismaying to see motor boat after motor boat cruising down the channel towards us.
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Great Blue Heron Territorial Display - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Territorial Display – babsjeheron

Their wakes were tricky to navigate in a 15 foot kayak.
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Everyone seemed in a hurry to reach their favorite spots.
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The water churned from boat wakes crashing at me from different directions simultaneously.
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I was feeling the way the Great Blue in this image looked.
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Young osprey perched amid pinecones  - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young Osprey perched amid pinecones – babsjeheron

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One boat rushed by to my left, very nearly swamping me in Old Blue.
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So much for seamanship and courtesy.
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An Osprey watched us from high above.
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Great Blue Heron Camouflaged - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Camouflaged – babsjeheron

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The adults in the speeding boat were all facing forward, chatting away.
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But the young boy sitting in the back was facing aft.
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron preening Columbus Day weekend – babsjeheron

Facing aft and silently pointing as he caught my eye.
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And then it dawned on me.
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The boy was directing my attention to the beautiful Great Blue Heron perched on the branch just above the water to my right. How lucky I was.
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Great Blue Heron lands a large fish - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron lands a large fish – babsjeheron

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Thanks to the young boy’s keen eye, I was able to take many Great Blue Heron photographs that day.
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Until he pointed out that Great Blue, I was discouraged by how crowded things were on the water.
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Great Blue Heron carrying large Pike - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron carrying large Pike – babsjeheron

And I had considered turning the kayak around for home.
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Instead of leaving, I was able to watch this Great Blue catch the ginormous Pike.
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How lucky I was.
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Great Blue Heron catching prize fish - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Pteradactyl catching prize fish – babsjeheron

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You can read the story of Great Blue Heron’s Jaw-Dropping Day with a Fisherman CLICK HERE.
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How lucky she was.
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Great Blue Heron Swallows Two-foot Long Fish  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

How about a round of applause for this plucky Heron for swallowing the huge Pike? – babsjeheron

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You can read the story of the Epic Great Blue Heron Swallows Ginormous Fish CLICK HERE.
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How lucky she was..

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Van fully engulfed in flames on road next to boathouse on Columbus Day weekend - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Van fully engulfed in flames on road next to boathouse on Columbus Day weekend – babsjeheron

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This was also the day the boathouse caught fire, and a few hours later, an heroic boater saved the life of the Great Blue Heron shown in today’s photos.
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You can read the story of the Happy Ending to Beautiful Great Blue Heron Rescue CLICK HERE.
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Thanks to him, this Heron was lucky to be alive!
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How very lucky she was!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Dawn Miller and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is The Ordinary. This week, the Lens Artists have invited blogger I.J. Khanewala here as guest host. Welcome I.J.!

The day shown in my post, Columbus Day – now Indigenous Peoples’ Day – started out as an ordinary holiday day at the lake. The second Monday in October is the traditional closing day for the boathouse for the year.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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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 Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . Autumn leaves are subtly reflected in the Preening Heron photo.
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From I.J. Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Herons’ Autumn Day

Great blue heron preening on log in Autumn - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Preening on Log in Autumn – babsjeheron

The map is not the territory. ~ Korzybski

The photo is not the experience. ~ Babsje

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The coldest afternoon of the season on the lake, and there I was in my protected blind in the cove with the yearling Great Blue Heron, a Green Heron, several Canada Geese and no footgear. Not expecting the chill winds, I put in barefoot, warm neoprene socks snug in the drybag stashed in the rear hatch of the kayak.

The yearling Heron had been eyeing the Geese warily after five of them flew in perfect vee formation and splash-landed about fifteen feet south of us. They had paddled lazily past us and meandered deep into the Eastern end of the cove. The Heron seemed aroused by their intrusion into his turf, but too afraid of them to do anything about it.

A detente was reached and the Heron resumed fishing for his lunch, and I resumed taking photos and shivering. Whole-body shivers that made me wonder if ANY of the photos would be free of blurring.

Klonk!

A small fish leapt forward, smack into the side of the blue kayak with a loud klonk.

The Heron didn’t bat an eye, though I suspect the fish was stunned momentarily. I peered over the side of the kayak, half-expecting to see a fish surface floating belly-up.

I had been at the lake less than two hours and was considering leaving because it was so cold, but if the young Heron could take it, then so could this human. I thought about my feet, very cold and  unprotected in the bow, and was considering make-shift socks as solutions to be able to stay out longer…

… And then it happened.

The Heron stopped fishing, he tensed visibly, and before my eyes, his plumage expanded in an unmistakable display. His back arched, tail tilted up, head tilted upwards, too.

Young male Great Blue Heron in display while approaching older female in the cove - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young male Great Blue Heron in display while approaching older female in the cove – babsjeheron

He was looking directly at me.

But he couldn’t have seen me as an interloper suddenly. That didn’t seem possible at all, but he was looking right at me, and approaching, with an intensity in his eyes and a purposefulness in his strides.

And then, then I looked over my right shoulder…

… And saw her there…

… Not eight feet behind me – an adult female Heron, one I know from years on the lake.

She had flown down and landed eight feet from the blue kayak and Blue Heron and me. Usually, the wary Herons will over-fly if they see a kayak, but this one came right up to us. Extraordinary.

I looked directly at her, clicked off a couple of totally unfocused frames in eagerness to not miss the moment. I didn’t look in the viewfinder, just pointed the camera in the right direction and hit the shutter.

And she looked back calmy and said “Arh…” using the Heron “greeting” call.

Maybe she was greeting the other Heron, maybe she was greeting me, maybe both of us?

“Arh…” again.

Since the other Heron was in a display posture by this time, I’d like to think she was greeting me.

I backed my kayak up farther away, towards the other shore to give them more space.

The yearling Heron strutted the length of the half-submerged log and branches, plumes puffed and gorgeous.

The female watched, unmoving, unthreatened.

The yearling climbed off the branch, into the water, and waded closer to her. His plumes  returned to normal configuration, but he waded with his back arched, neck and head angled upwards in display.

And suddenly, a flurry of silken plumes as he lept into the air towards her, and she took flight towards the deep end of the cove.

He wheeled mid-air and followed suit. She rose and arced North, over the tallest pines and then curved East over the far end of the cove.

He sped after her, just above water-level, deep into the cove. When last I saw him, he was climbing swifty up into the canopy after her.

I think it was an amorous display, and not a territorial display at all – a courtship chase flight. The season was wrong for that, of course, but a couple of recent years, it had been very warm into October and some birds were showing evidence of breeding plumes growing longer. But then again, maybe it was only a territorial display.

Whichever it was, it was extraordinary to see it from so close a vantage point.

And once again, I am smitten by the Great Blue Herons.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. This week, I had eye surgery number five. I’ll spare you a photo of me once again wearing an eye patch this time, but needless to say I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing the Great Blue Herons better in 2022.

The next two photos are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images from one of my favorite, most-photographed corners of the cove. That is, “most-photographed” until a greedy real-estate speculator illegally bulldozed beyond the water-line under klieg lights after dark.

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron in Destroyed Habitat that had Seen Better Days – babsjeheron

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A fine was levied: $103,000. $1,000 a day for 103 days in violation of a court order. The first of the two scenes above can never be photographed again.
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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Autumn or Spring. This is an Autumn post.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: A few spare minutes well spent . Any minutes with the Herons are well spent!
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has dark red autumn leaves.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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

Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Osprey Fish Tail Lore

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

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

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

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Some birds are more egalitarian than others when it comes to incubating their eggs and attending to their chicks in the nest.

Mute Swans for example? Both males and females have been observed sitting on their eggs during their five-to-six week incubation. Click to see the male Mute Swan incubating eggs.

Great Blue Herons share the care and feeding of their chicks. Click to read about the Great Blue Herons’ shift change at the nest.

And what about Osprey? One bit of Osprey lore is that they always carry fish with the fish head facing in their direction of flight, for better in-flight aerodynamics. In the photos today, although the fish has no head, the Osprey is indeed carrying it with an invisible head forward. I find that aspect of the headless fish photos amusing.

Incubating eggs is largely the job of the female Osprey. It is the role of the male to bring meals back to the nest for the female during the one-month incubation period. I’ve read that the male Osprey shares his catch with his mate at the nest: when he catches a fish, he brings half the fish back to the female.

Until that October day, I had often seen and photographed Osprey carrying fish, but those fish were always whole fish. In both photos today, the Osprey is carrying half a fish. Presumably he has already given the other half to the nesting female.

I am moved by his heartwarming pair-bonding gesture.
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And since this is a Great Blue Heron blog, obligatory Heron photo:

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron


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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. That half a fish being carried by the Osprey was once a whole and very alive fish swimming through the lake. Those were certainly better days for that fish. Even the Great Blue Heron with her broken leg had seen better days!
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Half of Anything. The Osprey is carrying half a fish. The image is straight out of the camera (SOOC), as-is except for cropping and was not artificially manipulated to become B&W. The skies were a beautiful October leaden grey.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
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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, Osprey, Mute Swan

Read the rest of this entry

Blue Heron Guest…Osprey’s Epic Fail?

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron

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The tall dead White Pine is favored by Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, and Osprey that perch on branches offering excellent views of two coves. Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree, and it is one of my own favorite spots to fish for wildlife photos – more than a few of my favorite images on this blog were captured there.

I always scan for birds atop that tree with my binoculars before passing through the tunnel that separates the Middle and North lakes. That day, an Osprey carrying a very large fish was just about to touch down on the tree, and so I backpaddled the kayak to stay put on my side of the tunnel, and quickly retrieved the camera from beneath the cockpit deck.

Osprey Drops Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Drops Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Looking at the above sequence, you can see the Osprey – with its wings fanning for balance – trying mightily to secure that large fish, which swings like a pendulum beneath the branch. The above sequence took only 53 seconds, from landing on the branch with the huge prize fish to losing his grip and watching the fish plummet.

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Poor Osprey! The expressions on its face ranged from surprise to disbelief that the fish got away. It just seemed stunned and stood there staring downward, as though looking everywhere for that fish, angling its head this way and that for a better view.

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish – babsjeheron

The Osprey stared down at the surface of the water for a long time after losing his prize catch, before taking flight nearly twelve minutes later.

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

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There’s a symbiotic relationship among the birds that perch high up in that tree and the birds that fish at the base. The Eagles and Hawks and Osprey watch for and intercept fish that elude birds fishing from the shore. And vice-versa.

And what of the fish that got away from the Osprey? You may remember that I wrote that Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree. I like to think that a Great Blue Heron had a tasty free lunch that day.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Autumn or Spring. Autumn leaves fit this topic.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has bright muted red autumn leaves.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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, Osprey

Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in Autumn and a Large Mouth Bass

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

Great Blue Heron by Falling Waters in Autumn – babsjeheron

“Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top
of the highest tree until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast…”

Advice to Beginners (excerpt)
Ellen Kort


If I Had My Life to Live Over: I Would Pick More Daisies, Sandra Martz, ed.

Great Blue Herons and Red Tail Hawks often frequented this spot, fishing for the Trout, Bass, and Pickerel in the pools at the base of the falling water. Finding a Heron there when the Autumn colors were in full display was challenging and I spent many hours over 7 or 8 years hidden in my kayak across the channel in hopes of capturing a Great Blue with the striking autumn leaves. Good things come to she who waits.
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The Herons have plenty of other fishing holes nearby. And so do the humans. Bass Fishing Tournaments take place frequently – some with big bucks in prize money.
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I don’t think the Great Blue Heron in the photo sequences below paid a tournament entry fee, but he didn’t use any illegal bait to land that Largemouth Bass. I know the Bass he caught didn’t get properly weighed at take out what with having been gulped down mid-tourney, but I bet the size of that fish would have made some of the fishermen weep.
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Great Blue Heron Lands Large Mouth Bass - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Lands Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 1- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Walking Down the Shore Carrying the Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

The Heron Put Down the Bass for a Moment, then Picked it Up and Turned Around – babsjeheron

The Heron Once Again put the Bass Down then Retrieved it – babsjeheron

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The bulge in the Heron’s elongated neck in the last frame above? The Largemouth Bass. The total elapsed time between landing the Bass and the final frame above was only two and a half minutes. I’m not sure how to estimate the weight of that Bass, but I’m pretty sure any good fisherman reading this can weigh in.

I think this Bass is a bigger fish in terms of weight than the large Pike shown below. What do you think?

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

Great Blue Heron with large Pike – babsjeheron

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When I returned belatedly to the dock after one Bass tournament, the boat departures had already begun, yet there were still more than 30 boats lined up on the shore.

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats Remaining on Shore – babsjeheron

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.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Dawn Miller, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

.

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.
.
.
Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has bright red autumn leaves.
,
,
Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. This post has quite a bit of water.
.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
.

.

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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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, Large Mouth Bass
Read the rest of this entry

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon…

The Sun, Mary Oliver, excerpt
New and Selected Poems

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

On cold winter days, one of the Mute Swans resident on my small lake watched from just beyond the dock as I refilled the birdfeeders each morning. When my back was turned as I walked up to the house, the Swan would occasionally venture into the yard to scoop up seeds scattered by our winter birds – Blue Jays and Cardinals and Chickadees.

But only when my back was turned.

The winter turned harsher than any in recent memory. The birds were ravenous and emptied all the feeders before noon.

And then one morning it happened.

The Swan climbed up the short bank to where I stood at the third feeder. He dipped his head, bending that graceful neck down and then back up.

Twice.

We locked eyes.

I extended my arm tenuously towards the Swan, my gloved hand full of seeds.

As he nibbled hungrily, I stared at the top of his head. The feathers weren’t the pristine white I expected to see. And they didn’t look like any feather I’d seen before or since. They looked like rows of the tiniest, finest wale corduroy imaginable.

Peaceable co-existence abounded on those frigid mornings. And eventually the Swan became comfortable with my presence.

I love peaceable co-existence, wherever – and however – it manifests.

.

.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Artificial Light. Herons usually don’t hang out in artificial light where I live, so how about two photos illuminated by artificial light.

TCAN One-Woman Show December 2019-January 2020 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN Lobby Wall Photo with TCAN Graphic Reflection

x-ray of broken heel © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

My Broken Heel – An X-Ray uses Artificial Light

.

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.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
.
.
Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has muted autumn leaves, to go with the mute swans.
.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial wLight .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

.

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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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, Mute Swan
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Breaks into Flight

Great Blue Heron With Wounded Wing Soaring - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron With Wounded Wing Soaring – babsjeheron

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into flight.

With apologies to James Wright’s poem “A Blessing”
The Branch Will not Break

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

Great Blue Heron fishing near the mossy log – babsjeheron

That day, I went out in the kayak for two and a half hours. There was no wind then, it was calm, and sweet, and I felt suffused with joy.

At one point in the secluded cove, I failed to notice a Great Blue Heron on a fallen willow, the one felled by the big winds of the previous summer.

I had drifted up very close. I didn’t see her, but she saw me. Only when she burst into flight did I notice her.

Usually when they take off, the air is silent. That day, though, what alerted me to her presence was the rustle of her feathers. It was a sound unlike any other, and the soft, unmistakable friction of quill against quill brought me to goosebumps.

Her flight was only a short, slow hop across the cove, to the other side, and when she landed, she stood upright and stared at me as if to say “Well, are you happy now?”

We stayed together, the Heron staring at me, for a few minutes, then she turned and stalked deeper into the mysterious forest at the eastern end of the cove, where humans never go.

Only this time – since she knew I was there and, even knowing of my presence, she plied the shore very slowly, unafraid, not at all warily – I took her behavior as an invitation to follow her deeper and deeper along the slender finger of water until it was too shallow for even a kayak.

Any farther and I would have had to grow flight feathers to continue on.

Some day, I may just do that anyway – step out of my body and break into flight.

.

.

.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Artificial Light. Herons usually don’t hang out in artificial light where I live, so how about a two-fer: two full moon photos with artificial light.

Full Moon with Lights - babsje© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)heron

Full Moon with Lights – babsjeheron

Full Moon Train Mass Turnpike - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Full Moon Train Mass Turnpike – babsjeheron

.

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.
.
.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

.

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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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, Full Moon
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Swimming Deer?

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

The subtle shift in the tilt of the Great Blue Heron’s head alerted me to an unseen presence.

Great blue heron watching deer across the cove.

Great Blue Heron peering across the cove – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron perched, stationary and gazing off to the east under half-closed eyes, and I sensed that she was going to go to sleep standing there.
.

It was mid-morning, her early fishing and feeding done. The log next to the blooming pickerel weed made a quiet resting place.
.

She was unmoving, serene, a study in tranquility, and those qualities were once again contagious – I felt the peacefulness of the space we share, as I always do in the presence of Herons.
.

Deer viewed through leaves of blind.

Looking through leaves of my natural cover hide/blind – babsjeheron

Half an hour elapsed when a shift in the tilt of her head signaled that she was alert and watching something on the opposite shore. Lulled into a sense of complacency, I thought that it was probably just the Irish Setter I had noticed ambling along when I paddled into the cove that morning.
.

The Heron stiffened upright suddenly, as though coiled for action. Something, intuition perhaps, told me it wasn’t an Irish Setter at all. Maybe the Fox I’d photographed there a few years earlier was back!

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the great blue heron.

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

Holding my breath, I stared through the lens directly into the eyes of – not an Irish Setter nor a Fox – a large, mature Deer, a first-ever Deer sighting in the cove.

For forty-five minutes, the three of us shared the lower cove. The Deer watched the Heron during breaks in munching tender leafy bushes, but didn’t seem aware of me. The Heron also didn’t pay any attention to me, but watched the Deer intently, at one point flying about ten feet for a closer look.
.

And me? I watched both Deer and Heron with my heart on my sleeve.

Time stood still as I put the camera down and peered through my higher-magnification binoculars. I soaked in those enormous soulful eyes, the tickly-looking whiskers, and the adorable ears that seemed to swivel with their own sense of direction, the better to hear us with as the children’s fable says.
.
The encounter ended as all such wildlife-human encounters should end, utterly without drama: nobody spooked or flushed anybody.

The Deer finished munching greens, turned and sauntered softly back into the woods.

The Great Blue Heron stared after the Deer for a long while, and then once again took up her perch on the log.

And I, still wordless from the wonder of what had just unfolded, paddled on to the next lake, smiling all the way.

.
Fast forward ten months

Silent as a whisper, the Deer
Poem by Babsje

What of last summer’s Doe
Who watched from the shore
The Heron preening,
Ears attuned for movement,
Then ambled off into the ferns?

That was long ago –
Before that bad winter
Took so much.

Today
She bowed to nibble
Columbine and hosta
On the far shore.

And swam home.

In less than a minute
Water sluiced from her shoulders
Her heavy udders,
Then she was gone
Silent as a whisper

.
.

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

A glimpse through trees – could it be the White-tailed Deer? – babsjeheron

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

White Tail Deer Entering the Water Alongside the Dock – babsjeheron

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

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water – babsjeheron

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

.White Tail Deer Vanishing into the Woods – babsjeheron

Fast forward four more months.

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn - babsjeheron © 2014 - 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn – babsjeheron


.
.

Between the first Deer encounter and the second one ten months later, the Polar Vortex had brought devastating, vicious cold.

Seeing a Deer swimming after the killing colds of winter was thrilling.

Viewing the photos on download was heartwarming: the Deer was the same one I had seen one day that previous summer. She had survived that harsh winter, and she had apparently given birth in the interim.

Four months later, the last photo of that Doe with her Fawn, brings great joy.

Great joy.

.

.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Going Wide. Here’s the wide shot of the swimming Deer:

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

White-Tail Deer swimming, the long view – babsjeheron

.

Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Greatest Love of All. The Fawn is the future of the Deer.
.
.Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!

.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

.

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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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, White Tailed Deer
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and One Special Feather

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

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather – babsjeheron

.

Great blue heron fishing with a feather as bait.

Great Blue Heron shaking a seagull feather – babsjeheron

Doesn’t this Great Blue Heron holding a seagull feather bring to mind a friendly dog playfully carrying his favorite toy back to you, wagging his tail?
.
.

At the time, I wanted to say to her, “Who’s a good girl? You are! You are a good girl!” because the way she pranced the length of the submerged log seemed so playful – at first.
.

At first, it looked playful, but then I realized the seagull feather was not a mere toy to this Great Blue Heron – it was a tool, a fishing lure she repeatedly dipped into the water to entice fishes up to the surface, making it easier for her to spear them with her stiletto beak.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

For some birds, it is dinnertime more often than not.
.
.
/
Searching for their next meal, or that of their offspring, is a full-time job.
.
.

.
.
A few Great Blue Herons at the lake have adapted tools to make fishing much easier, and dinner more of a sure thing.

.
.

.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 4 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 4 – babsjeheron

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.
She would pluck the feather from the water’s surface, and shake loose the droplets…
.
.
.

.
…And then carefully drop the feather back down into the water…
.

.
.

.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron   © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron

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.
After a few moments, she retrieved it with that stiletto beak again, shook it dry, and then dropped it into the water once more.
.

.
.

Transfixed, I watched her repeat this for more than ten minutes.
.

.

.
.
It looked almost ritualistic – totemic or shamanic even.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 6 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 6 – babsjeheron

To see a feathered creature brandishing a feather from a different bird in such repetitive behavior.
.
,
,

And then it dawned on me.
.

.
.
Before she first picked up the feather, she had been fishing, staring intently into the water as though tracking a fish, from the half-submerged pine trunk.
.
.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron

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And once she picked up the feather, she continued her fishing – using the feather as bait to attract her prey, the fish.
.
.
.

.
.
How smart a bird and how alluring a lure she chose.
.

.

Crows are the master tool users of the bird world, but as this experience shows, herons are smart birds, too.
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 10 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 10 – babsjeheron

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I’ve observed herons using tools for fishing on other occasions, but there’s something magical and special about her choice of a feather.
.
.

.
.

After all, don’t human fishermen – especially fly casters – often fashion their lures with feathers?
.
.

.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 11 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 11 – babsjeheron

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.
.
Why should a Great Blue Heron choose any differently?
.
.

.
Ingenious heron!
.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 13 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 13 – babsjeheron

.
.
That day, I took more than 925 photographs at the lake.
.

.
.

The Great Blue Heron you see here is one of only three I’ve named: Juliette.
.

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 14 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 14 – babsjeheron

.
.

.
While Juliette and I were in the middle cove, her suitor Romeo was just over the ridge in the long slender cove, oblivious to the mysterious joys of fly casting with a feather.
.
.
.
Romeo missed all the fun that day.
,
,
,
.
.
.

Last Wednesday I had a successful eye surgery, but apparently it hasn’t cured my dyslexia, and I posted my photo backwards accidentally. I think this is right now?

Babsje With Clear Eye Patch - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Babsje With Clear Eye Patch – babsjeheron

The eye patch is only temporary, but I sure could use a more fetching one!

.
.

.
This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Going Wide. Isn’t Go Wide something the Coach calls as a football play? Or wasn’t there a saying Go Big or Go Home? I don’t have a wide-angle camera lens any more, so I can’t Go Wide. Maybe I should just Go Home. Unless the big, wide sky encompassing Comet Hale-Bopp and the Pleiades counts:

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

Comet Hale-Bopp at top right, the Pleiades mid-frame above the trees – babsjeheron.

.

Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Dark Greens. Green foliage abounds at the lake.
.
.

.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
.

.

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 they need your love.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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
Read the rest of this entry

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