Category Archives: Travel theme

To Sit and Wait is as Important as to Move

The thing is to be attentively present. 
To sit and wait is as important as to move.
Patience is as valuable as industry.
What is to be known is always there.
When it reveals itself to you, or when you come upon it, it is by chance.
The only condition is your being there and being watchful.

Wendell Berry
The Long-Legged House

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

Great Blue Heron’s erect back feathers stand on edge as a form of territorial dialogue.

“To sit and wait is as important as to move” could be a universal mantra for nature photographers, one I was actively practicing Friday from a secluded hide in the cove as the Great Blue Heron sunned herself on the half-submerged logs.

Unexpectedly, however, after half an hour of lazing about, she darted across the narrow channel and launched herself skyward to the west in a flurry of feathers and sqwaks.

Just as she was aloft, an alpha male in hot pursuit swooped down from the east to claim his territory in the cove. I eagerly panned the camera from my hiding place, trying without success to capture the fray, trying and failing to get both birds in a single frame.

The female vanquished from his turf, the male stood on the shore where he had landed – not ten feet away from me – and gazed after her disappearing form.

Only after a few minutes had passed did he turn around, and only then did he see me right there.

The tension was palpable. He stood stock still for a moment, sizing up the human interloper floating in his turf, and then started to erect his back feathers in a territorial display as if to tell me the cove is his.

I have watched this sort of feather display before, but it was always aimed at another heron. This time, though, it was unmistakably targeted at me.

It was a silent dialogue between heron and human about who’s the alpha bird.

I let the heron win.

How could I not?

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

Thanks once again to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Edge 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

Rubber Ducky You’re the One – Ailsa’s Relaxing Theme

Rubber Duckie you’re the one,
You make bathtime lots of fun,
Rubber Duckie I’m awfully fond of you
Vo-vo-dee-o!

Jeff Moss
The Sesame Street Songbook

Great blue heron bathing.

Great blue heron bathing.

Paddling around the bend at the far end of the middle pond, I caught a glimpse of a great blue heron lurking at the eastern end of the cove. Through the binoculars it looked like the heron was in a territorial display, erect back feathers gleaming in the bright sun. My pulse quickened. It’s always exciting to capture a territorial encounter between two herons with a camera.

The glare on the water made it difficult to be certain where the other bird was, and I needed to keep a good distance to not disturb their interaction. I was assuming that the territorial stance was directed at another bird, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any other herons nearby. I followed the heron’s gaze, looking for any antagonist in his line of sight, to no avail.

Confused about the heron’s behavior, I decided to just bide my time, and settled the kayak along the opposite shore, downwind and hidden from view.

A few minutes passed, with the heron still in a territorial pose.

A few more minutes, and suddenly the heron immersed itself fully under the water. Then that stiletto beak broke the surface, and the heron splashed up a froth of water.

The heron was taking a bath!

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

In nearly a decade of watching herons, this was only the second time I’d ever seen one bathing. I sat there mouth agape, watching and taking photographs as quickly as possible.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron continues bathing after turning around.

I stayed there sharing bath time with the heron until an interloper in an inflatable boat flushed the heron off, but even that couldn’t wipe the silly smile from my face.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Herons aren’t necessarily known for being playful when they’re alone, but perhaps bath time is a playful exception. That’s my story theory, and I’m sticking to it.

Ailsa’s prompt for this week is the theme of relaxing. I can’t think of too many things more relaxing than a nice, long Saturday night bath. Unless its downloading photos of a great blue heron taking a bath, all the whole humming the Rubber Ducky song to myself.

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Thanks to Ailsa and WordPress for the Travel Theme: Relaxing prompt.

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(This took place during September 20, 2013)

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

Birds Just Wanna Have Fu-un, Oh Birds Just Wanna Have Fun – Travel Theme: Play

  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) Egret pondering paddle boat. How many egrets will this boat hold?

Egret pondering paddle boat. How many birds will this boat hold, anyway?

Ailsa’s requested topic for this week is ‘play.’

Whatever Ailsa wants, Ailsa gets. But be sure to file this post under pure, unadulterated silliness.

How many birds will this boat hold, anyway? I promised the whole gang a paddle boat excursion today.

Let’s see, there’s one of me, plus eight herons… Maybe we need two paddleboats!

Well, if that won’t work, we can always soak up some rays on the beach, and hey, look, the lifeguards are still on duty!

  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)  Egret just wants to have fun.

Egret just wants to have fun.

Guys, believe me, this is going to be a great afternoon.

Why look, there are picnic tables over there! Wanna see if they have any goodies for us?

What do you mean birds shouldn’t mooch people food?

The pigeons and seagulls do it all the time. Why not egrets and herons?

Guys? Guys?

Well, that’s the last time I agree to coordinate a meetup for you guys.

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Thanks for the Play theme nudge Ailsa and WordPress.
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© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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