Category Archives: Weekly Travel Themes

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Environmental Protection Gig

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

Great Blue Carrying Huge Plastic Bag – babsjeheron

When last we saw our plucky Heron heroine, her young suitor was about to challenge her for the huge plastic bag she had pulled from the muck along the shore. (Click here to read about the cleanup in the cove if you missed the earlier posts.)

In this photo, she’s carrying it as she starts her march out of the cove.

I wish I could say that she was carrying it voluntarily, but I cannot: the plastic was hooked securely on her lower bill.
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Thanks to Cee for her recent Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Good & Bad. It’s very GOOD that this Great Blue Heron did her part to remove that huge plastic bag from the cove at the lake. It’s looking very BAD, however, for the National Park Service and environmental science lately.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: March. Yes, the Heron is female, and yes, she is starting to march away with the plastic bag, and so this is indeed a Woman’s March, albeit missing that signature hat.

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

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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, environmental protection

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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

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

Possibly knowing that you could never find it again

“…the fishes swam into his hand, and he took them out of the water; he pulled the woodchuck out of its hole by the tail, and took the foxes under his protection from the hunters. Our naturalist had perfect magnanimity; he had no secrets; he would carry you to the heron’s haunt, or even to his most prized botanical swamp, — possibly knowing that you could never find it again, yet willing to take his risks. ”

Excerpted from
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Eulogy of Henry David Thoreau, May 9, 1862, Atlantic Monthly, 1862

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

Great Blue Fledgling Halloween 2014

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This week’s photo challenge is descent. This Great Blue Heron fledgling’s angle of vision descends towards the smaller rock at right as he sizes up his next move: a rapid leap across the small chasm to the next rocky outcropping along the shore. He stood motionless there, calculating his approach, looking left, right, then straight down before committing to flight. It was fascinating to watch – he seemed quite tentative about making that leap for some reason. Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks to Ailsa for hosting her wonderful Weekly Travel Theme: Autumn challenge. This photo was taken on Halloween. Do you suppose the fledgling Great Blue Heron was trying out a camouflage costume? He blended in so well there on the rocks that I nearly missed him as I paddled by on my kayak.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. This photo is almost, but not quite strictly monochromatic – the grasses at the fledgling Great Blue Heron’s feet are a very subtle exception. Often, people equate monochromatic with B&W. While black and white photography is monochromatic, it is not the only form of monochromatism. It’s worth visiting Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other excellent interpretations of monochromatic photography.
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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, Fledgling, Kayaking

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

Hey, Wait for Me!

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

Hey wait for me! Is there room for one more?

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Thanks to Ben Huberman and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Room. It was a surprise to see that the mother swan had room on her back for all five of her babies, tucked between those enormous wings.

Thanks to Paula for her wonderful Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge. This was a very special moment.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Unexpected. Seeing each of the five cygnets riding on the female swan’s back was an unexpected high point of that day at the lake.

Thanks to Sue for her A Word A Week Challenge: Happy. Cygnet number five may have felt very happy when it was his turn to clamber up on his mother’s back, or at least I felt happy for him.

Congrats to Stewart Monckton for his 100th Wild Bird Wednesday, and thanks again 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)

Mute Swan, Kayaking

As The Day Draws Near

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

Nesting mute swan joined by her mate on her nest as the day draws near.

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Thanks to Ben Huberman and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Room. It is surprising that the swan’s nest has room for both the pen (female) and her cob (male).

Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Unexpected. Seeing the pair of mated swans in the nest together was quite unexpected. I have never observed this behavior before.

Thanks to Sue for her A Word A Week Challenge: Happy. I was elated to come across this scene of domestic swan-bliss

Congrats to Stewart Monckton for his 100th Wild Bird Wednesday, and thanks again 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)

Mute Swan, Kayaking

Un-Usual Suspects

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms…

Mary Oliver
Swan -excerpt
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems
Beacon Press

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

Two mute swans nesting within yards of each other on a very small island.

For nearly ten years I have plied these waters, spring, summer, fall. Bright sunlit days so crisp they take your breath away. Misty mornings with slate-grey clouds so close you could touch them.

It is a medium-size lake, and a circumnavigation takes a couple of hours on a day when the wind is perfect. After thousands of hours there afloat, I know the shoreline like the back of my proverbial hand.

Most of the wildlife is territorial. Most of the usual suspects can be found in their usual places, year-in-year-out, yet each spring’s nesting season brings surprises.

Watching a great blue heron approaching the mute swan in her nest last weekend was an unexpected first.

Paddling round the small island from the east a week ago revealed the pair of swans’ nests shown here. Never have I seen two swans nesting so close together – never. I didn’t think it possible.

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

Two mute swans nesting within yards of each other on a very small island (close up with long lens).

There is an art to seeing the very familiar with fresh eyes, where no two days are the same.

It is a meditation to approach the lake with new eyes each outing, to not take for granted the usual suspects and their commonplace behaviors, to not fall into the trap of my own routines.

A frequent paddling route skirts the island on the western side, not the east. Had something not drawn me to the east that day, I would not have come across these two nesting swans.

Did I mention that no two days are the same?
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Thanks to Paula for her wonderful Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge.

Thanks to Erica and WordPress for their Weekly Writing Challenge: Lost Art. May seeing the world with fresh eyes never become a lost art.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Close Up.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for his Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

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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)

Kayaking, Mute Swan

Wings Akimbo for Wordless Wednesday

I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph…

From the poem “Birds”
Pablo Neruda,
Art of Birds

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

Great blue heron with wings akimbo in the cove.

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Thanks to Ese for her Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge: Celebrate. This week, I received a notice from WordPress reminding me of my one-year anniversary of joining the community. Thanks to WordPress and the many fine bloggers I’ve met here for the opportunities to connect via our blogs. Something to celebrate for sure.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Glow. The cove was shrouded in shadows that afternoon, but a few spots of sunlight dappled through the tree canopy, and cast an illuminating glow on the heron’s wing.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for his Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

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

Goes Around, Comes Around

It was twenty ten years ago today…

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) Great egret pauses by tunnel.

Great egret pauses by the round tunnel aperture.

In some unexpected and delightful alignment of the moon and the stars and the planets, both Ailsa and Sue have challenged bloggers this week with the same topic: Round.

This photo of the Egret standing near a round, corrugated metal pipe entrance, speaks for itself.

More subtle is a different sense of the word “round” – as in the way things can come around full circle. It was ten years ago today that I wrote my first great blue heron story. It is a piece that I’ve adopted as an informal “artist statement.” (If you haven’t read it before, please click here.)

And the herons? They’re a study of Patience and Grace.

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Thanks to Ailsa for her Weekly Travel Theme: Round.

Thanks to Sue Llewellyn for her Word a Week Photo Challenge: Round.

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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 Egret, Kayaking

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