Category Archives: Sunday Stills

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Shyly Hides Her Eyes Under Layers of Feathers on Silent Sunday

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

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Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday.

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

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

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

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(This photo was taken July 8, 2010)

A selection of my heron and flower photos are 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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Ardea Herodias

Lovely Great Blue Heron with Lavender Flowers for Wordless Wednesday

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

Great blue heron with lovely lavender pickerel weed.

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Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Spread. (When stretching like this, the heron extends a leg outward and then spreads feathers and wing atop.)

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

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

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: Behind. (Boy am I behind on my Wednesday post for NaBloPoMo!)

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

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place August, 2013)

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron’s Gorgeous Wing

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

Detail of great blue heron fledgling wing.

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Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Spread. (What a huge wing spread he has!)

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

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

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: Behind. (Boy am I behind on my Tuesday post for NaBloPoMo!)

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

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place September 2, 2012)

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron

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)

Two Great Blue Heron Peas in a Pod for Wordless Wednesday

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

Great blue heron fledglings in mirror-image preening. Remarkable how in sync!

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Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

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.

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

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Intricate. (How delicately, intricately woven is the nest.)

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place July, 2013)

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Not Art

This photo is not a work of art, but the model is.

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

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

They say that once it has healed, a broken bone is stronger than it was originally.

Our great blue heron shown here is standing with all of her weight on her broken leg. You can see the healed break in her lower leg, midway between knobby knee and ankle. (She has been featured in earlier photos in my blog. If you missed seeing those previous posts, please click here and here and here.)

After first noticing the broken leg, I wondered how the heron would cope with sleeping and perching, especially when the weather turned cold. Would the heron be limited to perching only on her “good” unbroken leg? Herons tuck one leg up into their chest feathers for comfort and warmth, preventing frost bitten feet in cold weather. It could spell disaster if the foot on her good leg got frostbite.

My earlier posts show the heron prevailing in aerial combat with an interloper, and soaring low and slow across the lake, and high above the trees, but still I worried about her standing positions.

Perhaps you can imagine my relief, then, when I saw her perching on her broken leg. What they say about a broken bone healing stronger in the end seems borne out by the above photo. That, and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Asking me which great blue heron is my favorite is like asking a parent which of their children they love the most. While I love all of the herons – just as an artist falls in love with his models – this one is clearly special.

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River.

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River.

And while we’re on the subject of “Not Art,” this second photo shown here is also definitely not art.

It certainly was exciting fun, though, to be kayaking the Charles River that October day. Imagine coming round a bend and seeing him leering from the northern shore, underneath that canopy of early Autumn leaves!

From time to time, there are reports in the local media of pet alligators being released in the local rivers once they grow too large. Happily, this was not one of them.

(Question: what size is too large for an alligator to be kept as a pet? Answer: Any size.)

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

Thanks once more to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Obsession prompt. Maybe one day I will overcome my obsession with great blue herons, but today is still not that day.

Thanks also to Sue for the Word a Week Challenge: Favorite. No secret, great blue herons are my favorite passion.

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

Thanks also to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Trees & Leaves prompt. I couldn’t resist posting the alligator in Autumn.

With thanks again to Verena for her Festival of Leaves opportunity.

And thank-you once more as well to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.

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

Following the Sun

For tomorrow may rain,
so I’ll follow the sun.

Paul McCartney
Help!

Great blue heron profile in Autumn.

Great blue heron profile in Autumn.

The cove is a mere finger of water, pointing to the east, bounded by tall pines and oaks and an occasional maple. As the season shifts into Autumn, the sun spreads her gold very narrowly, illuminating the full swath of water only at certain times of day. By October, the great blue herons all work a similar circuit as they follow the sun in the cove.

In this photo, the heron stands on a dock shrouded in shadow. The sun blazes on the far shore, but only teases the heron across the way, illuminating just her head.

As they follow the sun, I follow the herons.

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With thanks to Verena for her Festival of Leaves opportunity.

Thanks to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Trees & Leaves prompt.

And thanks once again to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

Thanks also to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Obsession prompt. Maybe one day I will overcome my obsession with great blue herons, but apparently today is not the day.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.

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(This photo was taken October 10, 2011)

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

And I Said to Myself, What a Wonderful World

My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn. 

Louis Armstrong

Great blue heron in the Charles River in Autumn.

Great blue heron in the Charles River in Autumn.

Satchmo would have understood Ese’s focus on “obsession” for this week’s challenge. That one quote of his says it all.

As for my obsession with great blue herons, when my favorite local boathouse closes for the season, I simply move on to the river, the Charles River. The photo in this post was taken during my first kayak outing there, and it’s one of my favorites photos of the great blue herons that ply the Charles.

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Thanks to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Trees & Leaves prompt.

And thanks also to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

Thanks also to Ese for her Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Obsession prompt.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.

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(This photo was taken October 13, 2007)

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

Any Day is a Good Day

… for lounging around in a hammock suspended over the water.

Great blue heron exploring the shoreline near suspended hammocks.

Great blue heron exploring the shoreline near suspended hammocks.

Last month I described an idyllic area of the shoreline at the lake. (If you missed that earlier post, please click here to catch up.)

Great blue heron yearling investigates a fire pit.

Great blue heron yearling investigates a fire pit.

A place where flowers grow in a partly-sunken boat.

A place with a fire-pit to occupy a curious heron.

A place with hammocks suspended over the water.

While my favorite elements of nature are always the wild and untrammeled ones, this section of the shoreline is a place I’d love to inhabit for an evening or three, lazing in one of the hammocks, with fireflies twinkling around the flowers and the scent of dinner wafting from the grill. And a great blue heron, there would be a heron there, too.

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(When I take photos like this, I often wonder if the property owners have any idea about the herons’ visits that make their beautiful area even moreso.)

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

And thanks also to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

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(Thess photos were taken in September, 2009 and September, 2011)

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

Not Quite the Hudson River School

Something different today for this 100th WordPress post: one of the more “painterly” photographs.

Great blue heron fledgling deep in the cove in Autumn.

Great blue heron deep in the cove in Autumn.

This is the great blue heron fledgling first seen in the cove mid-July. Now, three months later, he has grown into a capable fisherman sporting his first winter feathers as migration nears.

It was poignant last weekend watching him follow the sunlight around the lake: the boathouse has closed for the year. Photos of him basking in the warmth of the sun under a golden canopy or perching deep in the mist-laden cove will have to tide me over until springtime, and his return. The photo here is very special for that reason.

I take photographs for various reasons: some are strictly nature-blogger photos that record life out in the field, some are news photos in my role as a photojournalist, and some are fine art photographs. Sometimes the three approaches overlap, many times they do not; the rules for photojournalism are very strict when it comes to post-processing.

Speaking of art, WordPress has asked us today to write a post we’d like our entire community to read. As I mentioned, last weekend was the closing of the boathouse. This coming weekend? It’s the opening of the Natick Artists Open Studios weekend, where artists and craftspeople open their studios to the public. (I’m not one of them this year, but maybe next year.) Here’s more about this wonderful collective:

Now in its 12th year, Natick Artists Open Studios is comprised of over 70 artists who live, work or show in Natick. We are committed to bringing art to the local community by opening our studios and welcoming conversations about the experience of creating art. We offer the opportunity to see art, learn about how it is made, and buy local art directly from the artists. Participants include painters, photographers, jewelry makers, ceramicists, sculptors, woodworkers as well as paper, fabric, glass and garden artists.

Wherever you live, whatever your community, please support your local artists. The world is richer for their presence.

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

Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: Community focus.

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

Thanks again to Ailsa for the Travel Theme: Deep challenge.

And thanks also to Verena for the Festival of Leaves opportunity.

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(This photo was taken October 13. 2013)

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

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