Category Archives: Thursday’s Special

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 Heron in the Morning

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

Great Blue Heron on Bough – babsjeheron

I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach 10,000 stars how not to dance.

e.e. cummingsE.E. Cummings:
Complete Poems 1904-1962

On the first outing each spring, I am reminded that there is an art to seeing the very familiar with fresh eyes, where no two days are the same. I am reminded to not take for granted the usual wildlife and their commonplace behaviors, to not fall into the trap of my own routines.

The inaugural circumnavigation of the lake is fast approaching – though not quite fast enough for me this spring.

Will I see this Great Blue Heron once again this year?

Have I ever mentioned that no two years are the same?

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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: I’d Rather Be. I’d rather be out, camera in hand, today, but it is still too cold for kayaking. Soon. Soon I keep telling myself. Soon.

Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for the recent WPC: Favorite Place. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is.

Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special: Verdant. The green of the bough in the faint mist that morning was verdant.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Photo Challenge: Birds. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee, but I couldn’t resist. Your challenges are inspiring.
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Watch this space for news of my next one-woman photography show for the months of May and June, 2018.
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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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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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Expecting to Fly

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

Great blue heron practicing flying one day before fledging.

There you stood on the edge of your feather
Expecting to fly…
Neil Young
Buffalo Springfield Again

The fledgling Great Blue Heron seemed to hover atop the branch mid-flight, toes outstretched with only one goal in mind, stick the landing. There was no margin for error 80 feet above the island floor.

My heart was in my throat as I watched – riveted – from across the channel, eight stories down.

The next day, only one Heron remained at the nest.

And the next day?

Spoiler alert here.

What a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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Thanks to Cherie and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Atop.

Thanks once again to Paula for her Thursday’s Special challenge.

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

Thanks to the kind folks hosting SkyWatch Friday.

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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

Eat poems for breakfast

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

Advice to Beginners (excerpt)
Ellen Kort

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

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

Great Blue Heron fishing as the waters descend.

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This week’s photo challenge is descent. This Great Blue Heron frequents these falling waters, fishing for the trout, bass, and pickerel in the pools at the base of the falls. Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks again to Paula for hosting her wonderful Thursday’s Special non-challenge.

Thanks also to Ailsa for hosting her wonderful Weekly Travel Theme: Autumn challenge.

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

Thanks to the kind folks at 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)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Silken Feather Against Feather as She Rises

It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
‘if you keep the faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain:  heads in the light,
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.

William Stafford, Oregon Poet Laureate
For Great Blue Heron Week, 1987
Spirit of Place (excerpt)
The Way it Is: New and Selected Poems

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

Great Blue Heron’s exultant wings.


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This week’s photo challenge is dialogue. Thanks to Frederic B and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks again to Paula for hosting her wonderful Thursday’s Special non-challenge.

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

Thanks to the kind folks at 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)

Great Blue Heron

Why Have Wings at All?

If not to touch the sky.

Great blue heron silhouetted two hundred feet up. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron silhouetted against threatening skies.


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This week’s photo challenge is silhouettes. Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks again to Paula for hosting her wonderful Thursday’s Special non-challenge.

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

Thanks to the kind folks at 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)

Great Blue Heron

Sometimes You Gets the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Gets You

Erm, make that ‘great blue heron,’ not ‘bear.’

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

Great blue heron takes aim at a passing dragonfly.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts. When last we saw this female heron, her prey was a hapless chipmunk. Earlier, she took aim at this dragonfly. Given the contrast in size of the heron and dragonfly, I wonder how many insects it would take to make a nourishing snack? Herons must consider dragonflies tasty morsels: the base of that waterfall is usually teeming with fish.

Thanks again to Paula for her wonderful Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge 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)

Great Blue Heron, Dragonfly

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

“My What Big Wings You Have!” Exclaimed Goldilocks to the Swan

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

How delicate the three-day old cygnets look between their massive parent swans.
Please click here for the new Swan Photo Gallery

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

Thanks once more to Danielle H and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Between.

Thanks to Sue for her A Word A Week Photo Challenge: Delicate.

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)

Cygnets, Mute Swan, Kayaking

Thus Spake Yoda

    Do, or do not. There is no try.

    Yoda
    Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

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

    Great blue heron flies by.

    I blame it on the beaver lodge.

    No, that’s not right.

    I blame it on the beavers.

    Or more accurately, on the beady eyes peering up at me from the shallows near the shoreline.

    Actually, that’s not correct either.

    I blame it on the absence of beady eyes just above the surface.

    While kayaking a few weeks ago, I discovered a beaver lodge in the cove, the first one there in at least a decade. I took a few photos of the tall tangle of branches and twigs, but was more interested in seeing, and photographing, a beaver. (I have never done that before, muskrats, yes, beavers, no.) As luck would have it that afternoon, there were two beaver kits paddling around the point not far from the den, but they both quickly slipped beneath the surface and disappeared before I could focus the camera.

    So, last weekend I went back to the cove to try to photograph the beavers.

    This, of course, was a mistake.

    I learned long ago to open myself, and my eyes and camera, to whatever experiences and sights the lake brought forth at any moment. I had learned the hard way that “trying” to capture a specific subject meant that I would be missing out on what was unfolding right before my eyes.

    I learned that mindfulness is a powerful tool for a photographer.

    So, there I was last weekend in the cove fifty yards or so from the beaver lodge, scanning the surface of the waters with my binoculars, looking for a pair of beady eyes or a tuft of greenery being dragged along, trailing a small wake behind.

    A flurry of activity at ten o’clock caught my eye and I paddled a bit closer and refocused the binocs.

    Nope, not the eyes of a beaver: a swarm of dragonflies flitting and alighting on something, maybe a leaf.

    I padded closer still to frame the swarm and through the lens realized the leaf was a feather, a single gorgeous raptor feather.

    And as I was dialing down the lens for a closeup of the feather, a shadow passed directly overhead, and I saw a reflection framed on the water a few yards south – a great blue heron.

    Without thinking – without having to “try” at all – I lifted the camera and fired off this one shot as the heron flew by.

    Did I mention that no two days at the lake are the same?

    You can’t step in photograph the same waters twice.

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    Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra-Extra. The water droplet falling from the heron’s talon adds something extra to this high-speed action shot.

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

    Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird 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)

    Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

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