Category Archives: Photography challenge

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and Wishes of Spring

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

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Waterfall – babsjeheron

Like the heron, who can only croak,
who wishes he could sing,
I wish I could sing…

The Pond,
Excerpt,
From Felicity: Poems
By Mary Oliver

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Wish. As we stare into the barrel of a blizzard this week, thoughts are drawn to reassuring scenes of spring that are sure to follow. The last I saw this Heron at the waterfall, it was July and our summer drought had worsened to the point that only a trickle dribbled over the dam. Eventually, the Heron no longer appeared on schedule at the falls. Now, in winter, the falls are a torrent, and the water too forceful for fishing. My wish is for the becalmed waters of late spring, and the return of the Herons.
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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 Heron and Joy

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

Great Blue Heron With Pickerel Weed – babsjeheron

There is not only peacefulness, there is joy. And the joy, less deniable in its evidence than the peacefulness, is the confirmation of it. I sat one summer evening and watched a great blue heron make his descent from the top of the hill into the valley. He came down at a measured deliberate pace, stately as always, like a dignitary going down a stair. And then, at a point I judged to be midway over the river, without at all varying his wingbeat he did a backward turn in the air, a loop-the-loop. It could only have been a gesture of pure exuberance, of joy — a speaking of his sense of the evening, the day’s fulfillment, his descent homeward.

Wendell Berry
The Art of the Commonplace: Agrarian Essays by Wendell Berry

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: A Good Match. Scientists say that there is no such thing as a truly ‘blue’ Heron feather, and that the color is an illusion created by the refractive play of light. Looking at this Heron fishing along the pickerel weed, it seems to me that the hue of the pickerel weed blooms and that of the Heron’s feathers are a very good match for each other… even if one blue is real and the other an illusion.
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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 Heron Love for Valentines Day

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

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

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

With apologies to Willis Alan Ramsey and Captain & Tennille

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

The Great Blue Heron and Art – Beauty and the Beast Revisited

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

Great blue heron on the rocks.

Is a Great Blue Heron a thing of beauty?
And the shadow cast on the background here?

Do you find the background in this photo ‘interesting,” or “appealing,” or “intriguing,” or even perhaps “beautiful?”

If you answered “Yes” to any, would your opinion change if I told you the background is the shadow of a half-fallen chain-link fence? The rusty fence sags and droops out over the rocks and is a eye-sore in and of itself.

But the shadow cast when the sun is over head? A thing of beauty.

It would take volumes to answer the question about art and beauty and ugliness posed in this post. Philosophers have argued over the ages about what constitutes beauty and whether the ugly can also be beautiful. I am not a philosopher, myself, but you can learn more about aesthetics in this pdf The Aesthetic of Ugliness — A Kantian Perspective by Mojca Kuplen

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

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

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

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

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

If the Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sees His Shadow?

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

Shadow of A Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron on the March

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

Great Blue Heron strutting down the shoreline – babsjeheron

Yes, even Great Blue Herons strut and march, especially when protecting their turf. This Great Blue Heron marching down the shoreline to deter an interloping bird showed off an example from their powerful body language repertoire: the erected back feathers.
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Thanks to Ailsa of “Where’s My Backpack” for her recent Travel theme: Walking. Do strutting and marching count as “walking?” Yes, I say!

Thanks to Jeff G and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Ambience. The mood in the cove that day was suspenseful as the adult heron marched the length of the upper shore in an aggressive effort to stake its territory. It was a powerful display of the birds’ urges to claim and protect their feeding grounds.

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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

A Great Blue Heron Named Romeo? (Not Art Nbr 11)

In the beginning she’d lobbied to name the turkeys, which I nixed, but I relented later when I saw what she had in mind.

She christened them Mr. Thanksgiving, Mr. Dinner, Mr. Sausage, and—in a wild first-grade culinary stretch — Sushi.

excerpted from “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life”
by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

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

Great Blue Herons with Litter – babsjeheron

Long-time readers may remember posts about an apparently lovelorn young male Great Blue Heron coming of age and his ardent pursuit of an older female.

On this day of cleanup in the cove, the young male had been intently watching the female from yards away down the cove, while the female poked the mud with her long beak, tugging persistently at something.

Just as the young male made his move, strutting up the clove towards the female in his courtship posture, her beak lurched free from the mud, with a huge plastic bag stuck on her lower bill.

I watched from my kayak hidden from their view in the trees along the shore, wondering if his ardor would be cooled by the plastic bag, or if he would try to wrest the trophy from her.

She pivoted on her heels and flew westward out of the cove with the bag trailing from her beak, leaving the young male behind.

I would be anthropomorphizing – something forbidden for field naturalists – were I to describe him as being dejected, of course.

But then again, these are the only two wild creatures to whom I’ve given names.

How much – or how little – do we know about the emotional lives of birds?

And how do we know what we know?

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Names. At a presentation at the lake’s Nature Center years ago, the noted raptor rehabilitator Tom Ricardi was asked what he named the Eagles and Hawks and Falcons in his care. His reply was that he did not name the raptors, because to name them would diminish their wild nature. That philosophy struck a chord, but I made an exception for Romeo, shown in the photo here. Similarly, the marvelous author Barbara Kingsolver described teaching her children to not name the animals they were raising as their food, and even she allowed an exception for some obstreperous young male turkeys, who became known as Mr. Thanksgiving, Mr. Dinner, Mr. Sausage and even “Sushi.”

I’ve written here in the past about Tom Ricardi’s delightful presentation of Bald Eagles at our Nature Center, and this short video shows Tom with a 35 year old Golden Eagle, Turkey Vulture, Kestrel, Gyrfalcon and more.

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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

ew a cardinal

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Flight Path

Life spreads itself across
the ceiling to make you think
you are penned in, but that
is just another gift. Life takes
what you thought you couldn’t live
without and gives you a heron instead.

On the Meaning of (excerpt)
Linda Back McKay

The Next Best Thing: Poems

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

Incoming ducks approaching the great blue heron as twilight deepens – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cherie Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Path. Some paths – like the boardwalk in a nature sanctuary – are concrete, well-defined, tangible things, easily seen even when nobody, or no thing, treads upon them. Others, like the migratory path of birds or butterflies are no less real, but difficult to see except when the creatures fly along them. The far end of this slender cove marks a point on the migratory path of these ducks. The Heron stood frozen in place as wave after wave of ducks noisily invaded.

And thanks also to Cee for her recent Fun Foto Challenge: Duck Duck Goose Heron. Sorry, Cee, but I couldn’t resist taking a bit of liberty with your title.

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My Great Blue Heron photography has been featured in 3 one-woman shows at the Summer Street Gallery of The Natick Center for the Arts. 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, TCAN, kayaking

Great Blue Heron Wishes of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All (Not Art Nbr. 9)

…I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things…

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, excerpt
from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Greetings – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Anticipation. I am anticipating Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

And thanks also to Nancy T and WordPress for her recent WPC Challenge: Time of Year . It’s that time of the year when many express fond wishes of seasonal cheer. Count the Herons and me in as extending wishes of goodwill to all, and gratitude for the many sharings by others.

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My Great Blue Heron photography has been featured in 3 one-woman shows at the Summer Street Gallery of The Natick Center for the Arts. 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, TCAN, kayaking

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