Category Archives: Photo Essay

Beautiful Great Blue Herons – A Retrospective, Nbr 3

People who know me know my motto:

“Walk softly and carry a long lens™”

Babsje

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

Great Blue Heron Yearling Number 2 – babsjeheron

I learned long ago to open myself, and my eyes and camera, to whatever experiences and sights the waters bring forth at any moment. My emotions have run the gamut from excitement, to apprehension, to alarm, to amazement, to curiosity, to anxiety, to happiness, and (thankfully very rarely) to sadness. Close readers of this blog are aware of the protectiveness I feel towards the Great Blue Herons. The stories in this retrospective post all have happy endings. I like happy endings.

Once again, many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made it possible to share the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years.

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling

Close to the island, I found no crumpled birds littering the island floor, no sodden nestlings floating in the waters nearby.

Click here for Freshly Fledged
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Hot Time at the Boathouse

And what the taxi driver told me next made the hair stand up on the back of my neck… That day, he came across a great blue heron caught in fishing line on one of the pine logs. The line was caught in the heron’s wing and foot, and the heron was struggling but obviously very weakened by the time he got there.

Click here for The Taxi Driver’s Tale
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fishing with A Feather

Doesn’t this Great Blue Heron holding a seagull feather bring to mind a friendly dog playfully carrying his favorite toy back to you? 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. And then I realized it was another case of tool use by Herons.

Click here for Who’s a good Great Blue Heron?
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Yearling

There was reason to be concerned for the newly-fledged herons. Would they survive the migration south, the winter, and the migration back? If so, would they remember this lake where they were born and make it their home once again?

Click here for Full Circle: Freshly Fledged
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Meditation

I heard them – boisterous and happy – before I felt their wake, and I felt their wake before I saw them, and when I saw them the first thing I saw was the captain’s over-size gang hat. And the second thing I saw was their telegraphed trajectory – heading straight for the small nesting island. There was no doubt about that, and no doubt that they would make landfall, and no doubt that the adult male would flee the nest and abandon the chicks.

Click here for Pequeño: Stranger in a Strange Land
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for last week’s final WPC: All Time Favorites. Many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made sharing the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years possible.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her COB Photo Challenge: June 10 2018. Look closely at the set of five photos in this post. Do you see one that is not like the others? (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks to Paula and WordPress for her Thursday’S Special: Pick A Word In June. The Fledgling Great Blue Heron is a ‘nascent’ GBH, freshly out of the nest.

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place in the world is on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

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Beautiful Great Blue Herons – A Retrospective, Nbr 2

There are ways of seeing and there are ways of seeing. The way of the photographer need not be only the way of gadgetry and technology and calculations. The way of mindful seeing can open the lens as wide as one’s imagination.

Babsje

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

Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

As a nature photographer, spending time on the water with the Great Blue Herons is a meditation in and of itself. Capturing a photo that conveys the experience in the moment is a pleasing bonus. And then being able to share my love for these magnificent birds with others via blog posts or at galleries where I show is the icing on the cake.

I think that is a universal for artists – there is the joy of creating , and then the act of releasing the art into the world, followed by watching as a fly on the wall as others respond to the art – whether music or painting or writings – whatever the medium.

Many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made sharing the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years possible.

How long she was under, I cannot say, I lost track of time, but when she resurfaced, her prize catch struggled mightily, the curve of its back straining left then right, scales and fins glistening. It was an epic fight. And when she struggled to shore under the weight of her prey, I’m not sure whose eyes held more surprise — mine, hers, or the one that didn’t get away.

Click here for The One that Didn’t Get Away
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The day of my artist reception at Mass Audubon, I spent some time sitting outside on a bench before going inside to meet & greet gallery visitors. I sat there under the trees, composing myself and enjoying the dappled sunlight when suddenly I felt it. Plop!

Click here for Pictures at an Exhibition.
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Time stood still that day in the secluded cove. The rumbling of a lumbering Diplodocus moving towards the tallest stand of trees echoed over the ridge. A school of Leedsichthys searched for plankton in the watery depths, swishing this way and that. Overhead, a flock of Archaeopteryx flapped and wheeled, warming their wings in the late day sunlight.

Click here for It’s a Pterodactyl!.
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She flew low and slow, the water’s surface mere inches below her wing tips. I watched wordlessly from the eastern shore, taking in her grace and economy of movement. An engineer friend once explained to me that birds fly so close to the water because it gives them maximum air resistance for those huge wings.

Click here for Wordlessly Watching .
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Are there any artists who don’t fall in love with their models, their muses?

Click here for Artists and Models.
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for this week’s final WPC: All Time Favorites. Joining the chorus of folks who will miss the weekly and daily prompts, and the creative team at WordPress who have made them possible for all those years. Thanks for your enthusiasm and encouragement everyone.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her COB Photo Challenge: May 27 2018. Look closely at the photo of the Great Blue Heron winging her way across the water. Do you see anything odd about her left leg? That extra ‘bend’ shows a broken leg. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks to Paula and WordPress for her Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. The B&W photo of the Great Blue Heron with “It’s a Pterodactyl” would be much less evocative of the prehistoric era if presented color. (Linking to an earlier challenge from Paula, who runs the very good “Thursday’s Special.”)

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place in the world is on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Beautiful Great Blue Herons – A Retrospective, Nbr 1

The artist’s job is to get the audience to care about your obsessions.

Martin Scorsese

Frequent visitors to this blog know that most of my photos are taken from the waters of the Charles River Watershed area. There are moments of absolute stillness and peace there on the water, and mindful moments imbued with wonder. There’s love and concern for the herons I’ve come to know over the years. Sometimes there’s a touch of humor, and other times a sense of curiosity and a wanting to learn more. Sometimes the photos I take are capital A art, other times merely nature photos from the field. Some of the stories below are personal anecdotes about encounters with Great Blue Herons, some have more scientific value than others, such as the Great Blue Heron using a twig as a tool. Some have more artistic merit than others and some are quirky and just for fun.

Crows are the master tool users of the bird world, but as this first-hand experience shows, herons are smart birds, too. In this sequence showing tool use by herons, the yearling Great Blue Heron wiggles a twig in the water to attract the fish. Click here for Who You Calling a Birdbrain?.
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The small heron turned back and forth, from alpha heron to human, weighing, weighing the greater of the dangers, the lesser of the evils: alpha heron vs woman. And then he made his move. Click here for The Lesser of Evils.
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It is not so rare to see a human in the cove, and there’s one who sometimes watches me when I’m down at the end, where its more brook than cove. You know the place. She thinks I’m not aware of her presence, but I am. I just let her think that. Click here for Brown Bag Lunch in the Cove.
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It took them quite a while to position the branch, and there  were a few cliffhanger moments as the branch nearly escaped their beaks’ grasp and almost plummets to the island floor 70 feet below. Click here for Our Love must be Some Kind of Blind Love.
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Fearlessly, fleet of wing and nimble of foot, he practiced take offs and landings from the tip of that branch. My heart was in my throat as I watched, because it was such a long way down and he was still a beginner. And his nest mate? I imagined him thinking, “My turn, I want my turn now!” Click here for Fleet of Wing, Nimble of Foot.
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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Twisted. The Herons building their nest twisted and turned almost acrobatically as they attempted to position that exceptionally long branch into their nest.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her SYW Challenge: Share Your World May 28 2018. The Herons, themselves, obliquely answer some of Cee’s thoughtful questions for this week. And my answer to her question about my choice of vacation spot? My beloved lake. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for thei recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place in the world is on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Great Blue Heron Doesn’t Let A Broken Leg Get Her Down

Break a Leg and Carry On ??

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake.

Worst-case scenario thoughts abounded as the photos downloaded that day.

Look closely at the Great Blue Heron’s left leg. Notice the extra bend?

I was really alarmed to see that broken leg.

Later on, I reviewed some older photos of that same Heron and realized the break had been there for some time.

The photos shown here are all of that same magnificent Great Blue Heron, taken over a period of three years after the photo at the top of this post.

Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder.

Great blue heron with broken leg soaring up high. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron with broken leg soaring up high.

Great blue heron with broken leg chasing off an interloper. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron with broken leg chasing off an interloper.

Great blue heron perching on a well-healed broken leg. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron perching on a well-healed broken leg.

Thanks again to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Resilient. No big-ticket Orthopedic Surgeon bills, no crutches, and no fancy orthopedic boot for this Heron. Nature has a way of healing her own. Wildlife needs to be resilient – like this Great Blue Heron – in order to survive.
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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

Beautiful Great Blue Herons After the Storm (Not Art Nbr 10)

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

Great Blue Heron and Four Chicks in Nest

The house rocked.
Windowpanes trembled with each percussive blow.
There was no separation at all between lightning bolt and thunderclap.
I huddled in the middle of the room, as far from windows as possible, waiting out the storm at ground zero.
But it wasn’t ground zero at all.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Photographer gets too close to a great blue heron nest while the nestlings are being fed by an adult.

Close readers of this blog are aware of the protectiveness I feel towards the Great Blue Herons and their nesting places, especially the nesting island in the southernmost lake. I’ve written here about the fact that humans are among the most dangerous threats to the Herons.

Over the years, I’ve fretted about too much boat traffic encircling the nesting island, concerned that the adult Herons would abandon the nest and their chicks. And I’ve watched as predators like Osprey and Red Tailed Hawks threatened them.

Despite cautious monitoring of small craft and water skiers looping the island, despite watching with a lump in my throat as the predatory birds set their sights on the Heron chicks, at the end of the day, the nest was toppled by extreme winds.

An act of Nature, not of Man.

It was the Great Blue Herons’ nesting island – and not my home – that was at ground zero for the storm that night, and the tall tree supporting the Herons’ nest collapsed.

Only two months before the storm, I wrote of the sounds of the four Great Blue Heron chicks in the nest as music to my ears:

Chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih… changes.
It’s not just a David Bowie song.

And what of those four chicks in the photo at the top of this post? Had they fledged before the storm took out their nest? Surely that would be their only hope for survival.

I returned to the lake every day I could after the storm, looking for survivors. I saw at least one of the fledgling chicks and one of the adult, parent Herons. My heart beamed elatedly.

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

Great Blue Heron adult two days after the storm – babsjeheron

Back in August 2015, I wrote of that nest

Those chicks are destined to be the last brood to fledge from our island.

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling sighting locations on the Lake September 2016 – babsjeheron

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Fast forward one year, to September 2016. I had no idea where – or even IF – the Herons would breed again in that area. You may remember my story of the Bald Eagle stalking the Great Blue Fledglings one rainy day.

That day, the Eagle was looking for lunch in all the wrong places.

That day, I counted more Great Blue fledglings than I’d ever seen before in a single day.

I’ve been looking for the new nesting spot, to no avail so far. That is a good thing. If I can’t find it, neither will the water skiers with their noisy motor boats.

I love happy endings like that.

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Resilient. If surviving that fierce storm and coming back the following year with an even larger crop of fledglings is not a sign that the Great Blue Herons are resilient, I don’t know what is. Events like that storm and the survival of some of the Herons in the aftermath, and their successful breeding the following year are also increasing my own resilience, increasing my optimism for the future survival of the small community of Herons at the lake. Each year there are new threats – especially from habitat destruction along the shoreline and in a few of the coves – but so far, each year, the Herons maintain their wing-hold at the lake.

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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

Great Blue Heron Chase Scene (Not Art Nbr 7)

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

Great Blue Heron Adult and Fledgling Chase Scene – babsjeheron

Heart pounding in my throat, partly hidden under overhanging branches along the channel, I watched the chase unfold. Will the Great Blue Heron Fledgling escape the territorial adult?

I was returning to shore after a relaxing morning, hoping to get back to the dock before the rains started. The grey skies threatened to open any minute. Passing into the channel, I noticed the adult Great Blue Heron foraging on the south side and so I stopped under the oaks to watch. This particular Heron was a capable fisher and it occurred that maybe I could capture him as he captured a big fish. I looked at the threatening sky and stuffed my camera into a handy ZipLok bag, and stashed everything else below decks, and then settled in to watch him work for his supper.

After a few minutes, a Great Blue fledgling landed on the same shore as the adult, about 20 yards east. My heart rate picked up as the fledgling quickly made a beeline for the adult, taking long strides along the water’s edge, closing the gap between them. Usually a fledgling will not try to approach a ‘strange’ adult Heron, and so that behavior was a clue that the adult was a parent of the fledgling. The question was, which parent – father or mother?

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

Great Blue Heron Adult Territorial Display on Shore – babsjeheron

It didn’t take long to find out, as the adult Heron suddenly erupted from the shore, and burst over the small rock-island. He landed less than five feet from the fledgling, in an unmistakable territorial display posture that told me the adult Heron was the father of the fledgling, not the mother. Female Great Blue Herons will allow the fledglings to join in feeding activities even after the youngsters have left the nest. The father birds, however, will defend their territory and chase away their own offspring.

And so the chase was on.

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

Great Blue Heron Adult Chasing Fledgling – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Adult Territorial Display on Branch – babsjeheron

Having vanquished the fledgling, the adult Heron landed on a fallen tree jutting over the water, his back feathers still in an erect territorial configuration.

He pivoted on the branch and settled in, staring up into the trees.

Where was the fledgling? I scanned and scanned the canopy with binoculars but couldn’t find the fledgling.

I tried to follow the line of sight from the adult Heron’s angle of view and at last found him about 50 feet up in the trees.

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

Great Blue Heron Adult on Shore and Fledgling in Tree – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in Tree – babsjeheron

And so we three had a standoff – fledgling in the trees, adult on a branch at the shore, and me across the channel, trying to stay hidden below the oak branches.

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. Such was the case yesterday – busted by both birds – the fledgling gazing down from his perch 50 feet up, and the adult glowering at me from across the channel.

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

Great Blue Heron Adult and Fledgling Looking at Photographer – babsjeheron

The question was, which of the three of us would give in first. Would the adult give up his rapt focus on the fledgling? Would the fledgling make a run for it? Would I tire of getting drenched watching them from under the oaks along the shoreline?

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Gets Away from Adult – babsjeheron

It was music to my eyes to see the fledgling make a run for it. The adult Heron swiftly took chase, but the fledgling had enough lead time to soar around the corner at the end of the channel before the adult got close.

I paddled off after them, well off their intense pace. When I rounded the curve at the end of the channel and panned the sky with binoculars, there was no sign of either Heron.

Lazily, I headed into the first cove I came to. There was the fledgling on the southern cove. His body language was anxious, and he was repeatedly glancing back to the mouth of the cove. It seemed like he was “looking over his shoulder” to make sure the territorial adult wasn’t still chasing him. He eventually settled down and began plying the shore for dinner. I felt as though he had had enough excitement for one day, and didn’t need my presence to add to his nervousness, and so I quietly backed out of the cove and headed south.

Within less than 3 minutes of leaving the fledgling in the cove, a shadow passed very close and very low over me. It was the fledgling.

I love happy endings.

Great Blue Heron Fledgling 1, Adult Great Blue 0

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Edge. Ben has asked for something that kept our heart beating fast. Yesterday’s encounter on the lake kept me on the edge of my kayak’s seat and my heart in my throat and beating fast: would the fledgling escape the territorial adult?

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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™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Herons 1, Bald Eagle 0 (Not Art Nbr 6)

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

Great Blue Heron watching a Bald Eagle in the rain September 2016 – babsjeheron

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

Bald Eagle in the rain at water level – babsjeheron

Wherein the Bald Eagle was looking for lunch in all the wrong places.

Readers may remember the dismay felt when a fierce storm toppled the Great Blue Herons’ nesting tree on the island in August, 2015. Back then, I wrote of that nest

those chicks are destined to be the last brood to fledge from our island.

Fast forward one year. I had no idea where – or even IF – the Herons would breed again in that area.

[Editor’s Note: All of these photos were taken in the rain, with the camera encased in a gallon-size ZipLok bag. Ordinarily, I feel that if I need to use yellow circles to point out features in a photo, I’m on a slippery slope and probably shouldn’t publish them, but this was an extraordinary experience, a once-in-a-lifetime and so I’ve made an exception.]

Suspense was palpable as I ventured south in search of Great Blue Heron fledglings. Over a short distance I counted them. One, two, three… then four, then five. Could there really be five fledglings there? One adult, then two adults – both on alert, staring in the same direction from opposite shores. And then Fledglings six, seven, eight on various patches of shoreline. I hardly knew which way to aim and focus the camera.

I panned down the western shore, and the Eagle perched on a stump at the water’s edge suddenly filled the viewfinder. So that’s what the adult Herons were watching so intensely.

Scanning the shoreline father south from the Eagle, the whole picture came into view. The Eagle was closely watching two Great Blue Heron fledglings.

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

Bald Eagle on Shore Watching Great Blue Heron Fledglings – babsjeheron

Great Blue Herons are not noted for being playful birds, yet fledgling Herons, like youngsters of many species, often engage in rough and tumble play. The two fledglings on the shore were engaging in mock-territorial squabbles, one challenging the other, back and forth until they lost interest, all the while unaware of the danger posed by the Eagle nearby.

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

Great Blue Heron Fledglings squabble in the rain – babsjeheron

The Bald Eagle quickly took flight up into the tree canopy, unseen by the fledglings, but the adult Heron nearest stood up higher, alert on the shore. I scanned the trees, myself, but no sign of the Eagle.

The fledglings, meanwhile, had separated and settled onto separate areas of the shore. I worked my camera, trying to capture as many birds as possible in the rain.

Suddenly chaos erupted from the trees, and the Eagle swooped out and down, but just as quickly, some of the Herons took flight, too.

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

Bald Eagle swoops out of tree towards Heron fledglings – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling heads East and Bald Eagle soars West – babsjeheron

By this point, the Heron fledglings had scattered, and the Bald Eagle left the area, without its intended lunch. In the top photo here, you can see the Eagle soaring up and over the trees at the end of the lake.

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

Bald Eagles Dispersing – babsjeheron

But wait, what’s that you see in the bottom frame above? It was taken 5 seconds after the frame above it, along the same patch of shore.

Yes, there were two Bald Eagles that day.

Amazing.
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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Rare. This was an exceptionally rare experience to witness. In 2015, I had no sightings of Bald Eagles. Additionally, the bumper crop of Great Blue Heron Fledglings was the largest I’ve observed. On a scale of 1 to 10, that day on the lake was a 15 for me… But not for the Bald Eagle, who left without having lunch. For that, the Great Blue Herons and I are grateful.

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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™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Herons Create the Future

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Landing at Nest with Branch for Nest Building – babsjeheron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Carrying Another Branch for Nest Building- babsjeheron

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

The herons engage each other during a break in nest building.

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Future. It is that time of year, when Great Blue Heron courtship, mating, and nesting gets underway here. As this photo essay shows, the Herons sometimes select branches of great length for their nests – the branch in the top photo is nearly the entire length of the bird’s neck and body. After landing in the crotch of the tree, both the male and female worked diligently together to position that branch 70 plus feet above the island floor. They then took the break shown in the bottom photo, enhancing their bond in courtship moves so intimate I imagined hearing the soft refrains “I only have eyes for you, dear.”
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For the month of July 2016, I will be the Featured Artist once again at the Summer Street Gallery of The Center for Arts in Natick. TCAN is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

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™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Kayaking, The Center for Arts Natick

There Be Herons Here

Out of the shadows, the wild steps
lightly, all sharing the same dream
rising from the dry, dry earth.

In Sight (excerpt)

John Dofflemyer
Wind Under my Skin

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

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr1 (09-21-2014)

 © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)   Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder.

For perspective, the only-slightly-below-normal water level of an earlier summer. (09-05-2011)

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

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr2 (09-21-2014)

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

There Be Herons Here (09-28-2014)

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

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr3 (10-13-2014)

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

Two Boulders Après le Deluge (10-25-14)

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Last week’s photo challenge is Depth. Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this topic. Our lake is 625 acres, with a depth around 69 feet. The water level fluctuates during every summer, but the summer of 2014 saw a drought unlike years in recent memory. As the drought wore on, the receding waters opened new shallows where the Great Blue Herons could forage. The rains came at last during mid-October, raising the water level more than two feet. How much rainfall do you suppose it takes to raise a 625 acre lake two feet?

This week’s photo challenge is Scale. Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress. The three Great Blue Herons here offer a glimpse of the scale of the drought here last summer. Compared to the heartbreaking drought out West, the scope of the situation in Massachusetts was nothing. One of my favorite WordPress poets, John Dofflemyer, has eloquently, poignantly chronicled the impact of the near-five-year-long drought at his ranch. If you like the poetry of Wendell Berry, you will like John’s. Check it out at drycrikjournal.
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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™

© 2015 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Great Blue Heron Photos of the Year

Frequent visitors here know that my photos are a mixed bag in terms of genre – some have more artistic merit than others, and some are quirky and just for fun. Some are personal anecdotes of encounters in my kayak, and some the field notes of a naturalist. One thing they all have in common, though, is they’re wild creatures observed in nature along the waterways of Eastern Massachusetts.

Coming up on the horizon in a few months is my next one-woman photography show, comprised of 35 photos. For the most part in the past, pieces I’ve included in the galleries are different than the ones I post online, selections made in a vacuum, by myself.

As a new approach for 2015, I’m reaching out to readers here for your input, for your votes on which of the 2014 posts you like the most.

So, after the photos posted here, there’s a poll where you can let me know which are your favorites.

I do hope you participate, and I’m looking forward to seeing your responses.

Wishing peace, prosperity, and creativity to all in 2015!

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: New. Soliciting the opinions of others about which photos to include in the upcoming show is a new approach for me. Like many artists and writers, I’m often surprised by what resonates with people. Looking forward to being surprised by the poll results here!

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2015 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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.

Great Blue Heron, Egret, Kayaking, Photography

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