Category Archives: Red tailed hawk

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Photos of the Year

And the winner selected by popular vote?
Great Blue Heron Fishing at Waterfall

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

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Waterfall – babsjeheron

Frequent readers here know that my photos are an eclectic mix: some have more merit as Art – capital A – than others, some are quirky captures just for fun. Some are personal anecdotes of encounters, and some the field notes of a naturalist. One thing they all have in common, though, is the birds are all wild creatures observed in nature along the waterways of Eastern Massachusetts.

As 2017 was winding to a close, Ben H and WordPress asked about our favorite photos posted in 2017. As an artist, I’m always curious about what you, the readers, appreciate, and so I posted a poll on New Year’s Eve for your feedback. You can click here to see the photos included or even vote. (It’s not too late to participate)

The photo at the top of today’s post had the greatest percentage of votes, and as you can see from the results below, second place had a three-way tie, and there was a five-way tie for third.

Thankfully there were no calls for a recount of any votes and voting wasn’t plagued by any hanging chads.

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

Great Blue Heron 2017 Poll Results – babsjeheron

A big THANK YOU to all who voted.

(And if you didn’t vote yet, now’s your chance.)

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for the recent WPC challenge: 2017 Favorites. Ben asked us to share our favorite photos posted in 2017. Please click here to see the photos I selected from this blog.

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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 for my third 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.

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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

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Beautiful Great Blue Herons – Your Favorite Photos Posted In 2017

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

When I Met My Muse
by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

Frequent visitors to this blog will have little doubt that the Great Blue Heron is my muse. Perhaps she is also yours?

This week’s WordPress challenge has asked about our favorite photos posted in 2017. As an artist, I’m more interested in YOUR favorites – enough about me!

Whether or not the Great Blue Heron is your own muse (or totem, or spirit animal, whatever) I would love to know which are your favorites.

After the photos below, there’s a poll where you can let me know which you like. It has been 4 years since I’ve included a poll and so I hope you participate.

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

Great Blue Heron on a Pedestal – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron With Pickerel Weed – babsjeheron

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

Shadow of A Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Waterfall – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in Territorial Display at Sunken Boat – babsjeheron

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

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

Young Great Blue Heron in Molt – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Wings her Way Across the Lake – babsjeheron

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

Heron and Roots – B&W- babsjeheron

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

Guest Birds: Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron and Four Chicks in Nest – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron on the March – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Herons with Litter – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Greetings – babsjeheron


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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for the recent WPC challenge: 2017 Favorites. Ben asked us to share our favorite photos posted in 2017. But enough about me! I am more interested in YOUR favorites.

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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.

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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 for my third 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.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Great Blue Heron’s Guest Bird of the Day – Beauteous Buteo (Not Art Nbr 13)

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

What, you were maybe expecting Great Blue Herons today?

Just as I swung my camera into position, another flash of feathers. Two. TWO Red Tailed Hawks splashing into the lake.

Rounding the corner coming out of the channel, a flash of movement to the left caught my eye. Raising binoculars, I discovered it wasn’t the Canada Goose I had expected to see. It was a Red Tailed Hawk about to launch in to the lake for a cooling bath. Thrilling. Only once before – nine or ten years ago – had I seen a Hawk bathing, and here, at nearly the same spot along the shore, was another.

Just as I swung my camera into position, another flash of feathers. Two. There were TWO Red Tailed Hawks splashing into the lake together, bathing together while cacophonous Blue Jays and Grackles pestered from branches above.

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks Bathing – babsjeheron

File this one under once-in-a-lifetime Hawk encounter.

(We now return to the regularly scheduled Great Blue Heron program. Thanks for indulging my love for Hawks, too.)

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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Delta. Compare the mood of the two Red Tailed Hawks in the top photo with that at the bottom. Do you see the change, from excitedly animated when landing in the water to what might be called affectionate, as the hawks bathe together side-by-side, nearly touching beaks. The other, more surprising change, is the shift in this blog from the customary focus on Great Blue Herons to the interloping Red Tailed Hawks just for today.
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From now through July 13th, I am a Featured Artist 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.

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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.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Red Tailed Hawk, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

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

Oh, the irony.

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

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

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File this one under silly nonsense.

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

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

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

Thanks to Cee for her Odd Ball Photo challenge.

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

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

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

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Red Tail Hawk, Humor

Red Tailed Hawks’ Courtship Flight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

(This photo was taken August 21, 2010.)

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

Red Tailed Hawk

Nest 1, Hawk 0: Nesting Great Blue Herons Threatened by Red Tailed Hawk

The threatening skies weren’t the only peril facing the great blue herons on the nesting island.

© 2012-2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron guarding the nest while a red tailed hawk circles in the background.

In heightened vigilance, one heron stood sentry above the nest while it’s mate stretched out low over their clutch of eggs.

They had mated not quite four weeks earlier, and predators already had designs on the eggs and chicks. The top photo here shows a red tailed hawk circling menacingly.

Less than 48 hours earlier when only one heron occupied the nest, a red tailed hawk landed on the treetops mere feet away from the nest. Great blue herons have little to fear from predators in a nest seventy feet up, except for eagles, great horned owls, and certain raptors. This red tailed hawk is one such predatory raptor.

© 2012-2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Red Tailed Hawk threatening nesting Great Blue Heron as smaller birds look on.

The photo above shows the scene two days before, with the red tailed hawk lurking at the left of the frame. At right, the heron in the nest is on alert, cap feathers erect in alarm. Above the hawk, several smaller birds wheeled and spun and scolded the hawk in a cacophonous squabble that was audible in my hide all the way across the channel.

My heart was in my throat as I watched the scene unfold. I have written before about the symbiotic relationship between cormorants and great blue herons, but on this day there were no cormorants about. Instead, jays and grackles came to the rescue.

The standoff went on for quite a while, but when it was done, the jays and grackles had vanquished the red tailed hawk.

If a hawk can be said to “slink off” in defeat, this one certainly did. As you can see from the photo below, not content with the hawk merely leaving the island, one of the smaller birds latched on to the hawk’s shoulder and pecked at the hawk’s head as they flew off together.

© 2012-2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

One of the smaller birds rode on the hawk’s back, pecking at his head.

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

Thanks to the kind folks at SkyWatch Friday.

Thanks to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Birdhouses prompt.

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

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

Thanks also to Skinnywench for the Word a Week Challenge: Two. (Two birds flying together, hawk and hitchhiker.)

Thanks to Ailsa for the Weekly Travel Theme: Delicate. (How delicately, intricately woven is the nest.)

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place June18, 2012)

The Tao of Feathers™

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

The Red Tailed Hawk’s Guide to Hitchhikers

The red tailed hawk perched less than 20 feet from the adult great blue heron and stared at the nest, thinking no doubt about tasty eggs for dinner.

Red tailed hawk being mobbed, with a bird perched on the back of his head.

Red tailed hawk being mobbed, with a bird perched on his head.

I wrote the above lines in a post about the symbiotic relationship between cormorants and great blue herons, and how cormorants seemed to stand sentry over the nest. (If you missed that post, you can click here to catch up.)

Other birds also had a presence on the nesting island while the eggs and then chicks were growing that summer, and blue jays in particular created a noisy ruckus when a red tailed hawk ventured too near.

Red tailed hawk being mobbed, with a amaller bird perched on the back of his head.

Smaller bird perching on a red tailed hawk.

On many occasions, smaller birds would mob a hawk that had circled close to the island. That’s not surprising at all.

What was surprising, though, was that one of the small mobbing birds landed on the much larger hawk’s head or shoulder, and hung on to the hawk while the hawk flew on, trying to escape the mob.

The mob consisted of several different kinds of birds, including blue jays and grackles. On this day, the bird on the hawk’s head is a blue jay. On a different day when I was lucky enough to witness a red tailed hawk with a hitchhiker, it was a grackle on the hawk’s shoulder.

This is one of those occasions when a 600mm lens would have been great, except that I photograph from a moving kayak on often-rolling waters. It wouldn’t be prudent, as someone famous used to say.

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Thanks to the kind folks at Skywatch Friday.

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

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

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(The photos here were taken July 4, 2012)

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

Being Now, Here

The kayak drifts in the deserted channel, weathercocking in a stiff breeze as I compose this post.

Alone. Just me and a great blue heron foraging under the maples on the far shore, 200 yards away.

Red tailed hawk silhouetted against a bruised sky.

Red tailed hawk silhouetted against a bruised sky.

Today, WordPress asked about the strangest place from where we have posted. That’s a no-brainer for me: as I write these words today, I’m floating along in a kayak on a moderate current, composing on the tiny keypad of a smart phone. I’m able to do almost anything from here that can be done on my laptop at home thanks to the wonders of android and WordPress.

It even let me insert the silhouetted red tailed hawk photo here as my entry for Sue’s “Silhouette” challenge this week.

WordPress, what a platform!

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Thanks to Michelle W. for the Daily Prompt: Blogger in a Strange Land.

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: Silhouette.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.

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

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