Blog Archives

Beautiful Heron Upstages… Bogart and Hepburn?

Great Blue Heron in the cove, foraging. - babsjeheron  © 2016 Babsje All. rights reserved. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron in the cove, foraging. – babsjeheron

I heard the Heron’s distress call before I saw him.

After literally thousands of hours in the field watching the Great Blue Herons, I am susceptible to “trompe l’oeil” moments. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve mistaken a twisted tree trunk glinting in the sun for a Heron, or a rock formation that fools my eye from a distance.

So, yes, my eyes have been fooled. But my ears?

In what seemed a “trompe l’oreille” fool-the-ears experience, the frantic frawhnk, frawhnk of a Heron being flushed erupted from the movie screen. In the blink of an eye, the Heron burst from the shoreline and fled the approaching boat.

That urgent croaking distress call distracted me from the actors on the screen: Bogart and Hepburn had been upstaged by a Heron!

Heron in African Queen circa 1950

You can hear Great Blue Heron calls at Audubon and also at Cornell’s All About Birds.

If you like old Bogart movies as much as I do, The Africa Queen spins a delightful story.

Filmed live on location, the film crew boat flushed the Heron, who burst away with frantic cries. The wildlife in The African Queen is as real as it gets. Not a frame of CGI, all shot on location in Africa. Hippos, fierce crocs, monkeys, lions, and that unexpected Heron.

(Who but yours truly will review a film and only focus on the Heron??)

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Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Nancy Merrill, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “You Choose.” Big surprise – I chose the Heron in pop culture.

Audubon Quacking Frog Trail - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Audubon Quacking Frog Trail – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Nancy Merrill for her A Photo a Week Challenge: Funny Signs . The sign post for the Quacking Frog Trail shown here tickles my funny bone. Quacking Frogs are native to Australia and so that arrow must be pointing a far ways away from here.

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Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s CMMC: Favorite Color. My favorite color for Herons is blue, although they come in many colors, including green, purple, white, and tri-color.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Guess What I’m Watching This Evening . The title is the requisite six words long.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

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.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, African Queen
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Saturday Fun

Great Blue Heron soaring upwards, like the mythical Phoenix - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron soaring upwards, like the mythical Phoenix – babsjeheron

Everyone who has ever “caught” a yawn from their cat or dog, please raise your hand.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning – babsjeheron

The yearling Great Blue Heron had been quietly perched on the top branch of the fallen willow at the end of the cove.

He pivoted round, and shifting his weight to his left leg, extended his right wing out and down. At the same time, he stretched his right leg out and down behind, in a big Heron stretch.

When he was done stretching, he yawned – just like a human would stretch and then yawn.

He opened his bill, angled his head skyward, extended his neck upwards, wiggled his head slightly from side to side and yawned.

His mouth opened wide, and wider, and then widest, before he closed it, shook his head again, and then tucked his head back down and lowered his neck.

I had never seen a Heron yawning, nor any other bird for that matter, and it was amazing and amusing to watch.

And then I caught his yawn.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning from a perch atop a fallen willow – babsjeheron

I wrote the above on the day I caught my first Heron yawn back in 2010. Since that day, I’ve observed several other Great Blue Herons yawning, and almost always catch their yawns.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning – babsjeheron

Not only do I catch their yawns real-time while observing the Herons in the field, I’ve also been known to yawn while looking at the photos of yawning Herons.

Do any of you find an urge to yawn while looking at photos of a yawn progress? If you do, please post a comment. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Do you catch yawns from your cats or dogs? Does anyone else looking at the yawning Herons here feel a yawn coming on?

Even preparing the photos in this post today has me yawning.

Although one could attribute today’s yawns to the fast-approaching midnight hour, I prefer to chalk them up to empathy for the Herons.

That’s my story theory and I’m sticking to it.

File this under Fun With Herons.

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Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Amy is “Celebrating.” The tag line for Ann-Christine’s inspiring blog is a line from poet William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand…” It is a celebration of the ordinary in our worlds. What can be more ordinary that a simple yawn? Wile I love spontaneous joy and adventure, I also love the freedom of routine ordinary day-to-day living. Dare I say normal life? I’m not so sure about the ‘new normal.’ Is anyone?

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Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s CMMC. These photos of yawning Herons are as close up as I could get.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: No Better Way to Tour Porto Sidecar . The title is the requisite six words long.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating.
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Magic Trick?

Great blue heron feathers - B+W - babsjeheron © 2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron feathers – B+W – babsjeheron

Look, you might as well know, this thing
is going to take endless repair: rubber bands,
crazy glue, tapioca, the square of the hypotenuse.
Nineteenth century novels. Heartstrings, sunrise:
all of these are useful. Also, feathers.

Barbara Kingsolver
“Hope, An Owner’s Manual”
(excerpt)

There’s an exquisite intricacy to feathers, the sublime structures of individual feathers, as well as the interconnectedness of groups of feathers working together in harmony to make flight possible.

Individually, so soft.

Collectively, so strong.

What is soft is strong, as Lao-Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching.

While the magnificent wingspan of the Great Blue Heron is spectacular, the beauty of Heron feathers isn’t limited to the powerful wings. In an earlier post, I shared photos of other less prominent but still stunning feathers, some arranged in intricate patterns. (Please click here to catch up if you missed those earlier photos.)

The feather shown at the top is the same feather as that shown at bottom. Both photos were taken on the same day, with the same camera and lens, within minutes of each other. Only the background colors have been changed. Years ago, before I knew it was not allowed, I gathered those Great Blue Heron aigrette feathers, which I treasure. You can see one of them in my blog’s masthead art.

Is an optical illusion magic? Yes, in fact, many magic tricks employ optical illusions. Some fascinating examples of ‘color illusions’ such as this can be found at Brain Den. Enjoy!

I think we need all the magic we can get. How about you?

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Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Ann-Christine is “One Image One Story.”

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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Matching Things.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Leaving snowy Luton for warmer climes. The title is the requisite six words long.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story.
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Tunnels of Great Blue Heron Love

Great Blue Heron at Keyhole Tunnel - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at Keyhole Tunnel – babsjeheron

Charles River Blues Nbr 2 B&W - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Morning – Charles River Blues Nbr 2 B&W – babsjeheron

Great Blue Herons know the best fishing holes in town: the entrances of tunnels often funnel small schools of fish into waiting Heron bills – tasty Brown Trout, Atlantic Salmon, Walleye, Largemouth Bass and more. Smart fishermen the Herons!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Marsha Ingrao, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Patti is “Shapes and Designs.” The lead photos today feature very old bridges and their tunnels with interesting arch shapes.

For Marsha’s and Cee’s co-hosted Photographing Public Art: Many towns have Little Free Libraries, but this town has a Free Little Art Gallery: Make Art – Leave Art – Take Art, which encourages making and sharing Art publicly.

Make Art Take Art Natick - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Make Art Take Art Natick – babsjeheron

And below you see making Art in a public place in town.

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 2 - babsjeheron   © 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

One morning I arrived at the Charles River dam and saw a big splash of color looming over the ancient grinding wheel across from the fish ladder. What came into view was first one, then two, then three, then four artists set up in 19th century vignettes with easels under brightly-colored umbrellas. They were spaced a good distance from each other, all with a differing vantage point of the river and dam and old stone bridge where the Herons fish.

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 1 -  babsjeheron  © 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

One of the painters in particular called to mind a scene from the mid-1800s as she gazed out over the lush water lilies floating above the dam, paints at the ready, paintbrush in hand.

The bridge in the second photo at the top of this post was constructed in the mid-19th century. There is a palpable timelessness to this location and the artists and easels enhanced that feeling. I can easily imagine a 19th century painter or photographer capturing an ancestor of one of the Great Blue Herons that frequent the area today.

Rosemary Morelli teaches painting including en plain air style at her studio in eastern Massachusetts. The artists painting at the dam that day were a few of her students.

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Thanks to Cee and Marsha for their jointly hosted PPAC from Marsha: Photographing Public Art Challenge #23. And here’s PPAC from Cee: Photographing Public Art Challenge.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: In or On Water.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: I Didn’t Recognize the Christmas Tree. The title is the requisite six words long.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 174: Shapes and Designs.
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Heron on the Charles River

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River – babsjeheron

The Charles River is a land of contrasts.

Babsje

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River - babsjeheron  © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron shown at the top of this post stands in a small cove just around the corner on the Charles River from a property teeming with whimsical statuary.

There’s an Alligator crouching on the shore.

An Iguana perches on an overhanging branch.

A giant Galapagos Tortoise lumbers ploddingly ahead.

A family of three White Tail Deer munch noiselessly on tender greens.

Bear Along the Charles River in Autumn - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bear Along the Charles River in Autumn – babsjeheron

An inquisitive Black Bear rears up on hind legs with her cub underfoot.

The whimsical menagerie greets boaters on a point jutting into the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts.

And no, the Great Blue Heron shown in the top photo isn’t one of the fanciful life-like statues – it’s the real deal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they added a Heron statue to the menagerie.

A large Bison stands guard next to a copper tub at the point of land.

The sign saying WATER ENJOY” is a welcome sight for thirsty kayakers and canoeists on hot summer days: the owners fill the copper tub with water bottles.

Charles River tableau as seen from a kayak - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Charles River tableau as seen from a kayak – babsjeheron

View Through a Tunnel on the Charles River in Autumn - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

View Through a Tunnel on the Charles River in Autumn – babsjeheron

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “Interesting Architecture.” One of the libraries has very interesting architecture. In 1873, the Morse Institute Library was dedicated in a Gothic-style red brick building, made possible by the bequest of Mary Ann Morse.

Morse Institute Library Exterior - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Exterior – babsjeheron

By the 1980s the town’s needs had outgrown the existing building and groundbreaking on a new library building took place in 1995. The new library opened in 1997 and kept the 1873 red brick building as the southwest cornerstone of the new library. The above photo shows the original red brick library at left and abutting it at right you can see a short flight of steps leading to entrance doors.

From the inside, you can see the full brick shell of the 1873 building, along with the beautiful stained glass windows.

Notice the large windows at the center of the second floor in the above exterior photo. The photo below shows those same windows when viewed from inside the second floor of the library.

Morse Institute Library Interior Stained Glass Windows - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Stained Glass Windows – babsjeheron

Similarly, here is the second floor interior view of the Henri Prunaret History Room. As you can see, the windows and brick and stone work are the same as shown on the exterior photo.

Morse Institute Library Interior Henri Prunaret History Room - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Henri Prunaret History Room – babsjeheron

The new library meets the old library using this walkway from the Reference Desk area into the History Room:

Morse Institute Library Interior Walkway to Henri Prunaret History Room - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Walkway to Henri Prunaret History Room – babsjeheron

Morse Institute Library Interior Corner with Mansard Roof and Struts - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Corner – babsjeheron

The integration of the new building with the original building preserved the 1873 walls, windows, rooms and roof in an ingenious way.

This photo taken from inside the top floor of the new library shows one top corner of the original brick building and the actual mansard roof, with struts securing the old building to the new.

Morse Institute Library Interior View Looking Upwards Towards Sky - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior View – babsjeheron

Looking up from the lower level of the new library, you can see the original 1873 wall’s brick and stone facade with joining struts at top.

You can learn more about the history of this interesting library CLICK HERE.
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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: The Color Blue. Great Blue Herons appear to be blue but the blue color is an illusion created by refraction.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: They Are Coming to Get You. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . Autumn leaves are present in several photos today.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture.
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

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Please join Natick Artists TODAY on November 13 on Zoom from 2-5 pm ET for a Virtual Exhibition & Sale. The Natick Artists deferred their scheduled Open Studios until Spring 2022 due to COVID, but didn’t want to wait to see you again. They’re all looking forward to sharing artwork with you in this safe virtual environment. Zoom link: November 13 2-5pm ET
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85739018397?pwd=MDlGbXpPMitTZklERE1oR1ozMmRmZz09

You can learn more about the November 13, 2021, Natick Artists Virtual Exhibition CLICK HERE.

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days

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

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days – babsjeheron

And when I’ve reached the end of my days, may I be found with a Great Blue Heron nest built within my ribcage.
With apologies to Robert Macfarlane
The Old Ways

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

Great Blue Heron has caught a small Pickerel after stalking it like a cat – babsjeheron.

(Frequent visitors to my blog know that some posts are Art-with-a-capital-A, some are more scientific, and some are my personal photojournalist observations from the field. This post is not capital-A-Art, although the Great Blue Herons, themselves, are decidedly works of art in and of themselves as far as I am concerned.)

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

Great Blue Heron about to strike – babsjeheron.

Have you ever watched a cat stalking something? You might have noticed the cat “triangulating” on the prey if the prey is still. Because cats can’t see motionless critters well (or perhaps at all), the cat will move in order to pinpoint the precise location where it needs to pounce.

And just before the cat pounces, you may notice that often the cat hunkers down, raising its butt while lowering its head, then shifting its weight on rear paws from side to side.

Great Blue Herons sometimes do that same maneuver before striking. As you can see in the animation here, the Heron’s head is very nearly motionless, while its neck and body sway from side to side as it fixes on the location of the Pickerel it is stalking. The Heron then lowered its head, raised its tail, and struck with lightning speed.

It was a lucky strike because, as the photo shows, the Heron just barely caught the Pickerel – the fish was easily a foot long, but the Heron only was able to grasp the end of the Pickerel’s snout. The Heron easily swallowed the Pickerel in one gulp. Happy Great Blue Heron!

I can remember the first time I observed a Heron stalking a fish using that cat-like sequence as though it was only yesterday. Watching through the binoculars, I saw the Heron sway from side to side, raise its butt, lower its head and then strike below the surface, and I broke into a big smile when I realized it was hunting just like my cat. Who knew?!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “Interesting Architecture.” While photographing Herons in Boston one day, I captured the Museum of Science. From the vantage point of my kayak, the building looks very interesting, as though it has airplane propellers on the roof and the pilot is just waiting to hear the control tower declare “Museum, you are cleared for take off.”

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Dragonfly?

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron eye-to-eye with Dragonfly – babsjeheron

“So lovely. There were many dragonflies – tasty – and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…” said the Great Blue Heron to nobody in particular.

Looking at the Dragonfly perched so enticingly on the tip of the Heron’s beak above, did you wonder if Dragonfly was on the lunch menu that day?
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Dragonfly teasing great blue heron - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Dragonfly teasing Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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Is it just me, or did you, too, hear a Dragonfly’s voice sing-songing that childhood playground taunt, “Nah nah nah boo-boo, you can’t catch me?”
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Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm dragonfly - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm Dragonfly – babsjeheron

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“Now, where did I put my glasses, erm Dragonfly?” the heron asked of no one in particular, wondering where his memory has gone. Often, I wonder where my own glasses have wandered off to. What about you?

Dragonfly Hitchhiker - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Dragonfly Hitchhiker – babsjeheron

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File this one under silly nonsense just for fun!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think it weird for a Dragonfly to tantalize a much larger Great Blue Heron? Cheeky Dragonfly!
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. The foreground of one photo is water.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Dragonfly
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at Waterfalls

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron fishing in water falling over a dam in the Charles River Watershed - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing in a Charles River Watershed dam – babsjeheron

Most of the time, the Great Blue Heron could be seen actively fishing at the base of the falls shown in photo above, retrieving fish unlucky enough to have been swept over. And sometimes, some very special times, the Heron would stand atop the dam, with the water rushing over his feet and stare off into the distance at the colors of the setting sun.

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall – babsjeheron

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens. That day of the above photo, I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air. Every couple of years, we read news stories of people falling off cliffs or going into waterfalls while taking photos. I learned how easily that can happen. One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.

Double exposure of a Great Blue Heron looking in the same direction fishing in the waterfall - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Double exposure of Herons facing the same direction at the waterfall – babsjeheron

To love is not to look at one another: it is to look, together, in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wind, Sand, and Stars

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can't step in the same waters twice - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can’t step in the same waters twice – babsjeheron

What a difference a year can make in the same waterfall. Normal years, top, and drought, bottom.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is The Ordinary. This week, the Lens Artists have invited blogger I.J. Khanewala here as guest host. Welcome I.J.!

All of the photos today were ordinary days fishing with my camera for Great Blue Herons that were fishing at local waterfalls. Of course, my sense of the ordinary may be different than yours.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Straight Lines. The lines of water falling came straight down.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. This post has quite a bit of water.
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From I.J. Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

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Tomorrow, Sunday October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick comes alive with Art in the Park. There will be over 2 dozen local artists enjoying the fresh air and offering their art for your enjoyment. Stop in between 10am and 3pm ET for a gorgeous Autumn day of art and music. (I am recovering from eye surgery and will not be showing this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Herons’ Autumn Day

Great blue heron preening on log in Autumn - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Preening on Log in Autumn – babsjeheron

The map is not the territory. ~ Korzybski

The photo is not the experience. ~ Babsje

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The coldest afternoon of the season on the lake, and there I was in my protected blind in the cove with the yearling Great Blue Heron, a Green Heron, several Canada Geese and no footgear. Not expecting the chill winds, I put in barefoot, warm neoprene socks snug in the drybag stashed in the rear hatch of the kayak.

The yearling Heron had been eyeing the Geese warily after five of them flew in perfect vee formation and splash-landed about fifteen feet south of us. They had paddled lazily past us and meandered deep into the Eastern end of the cove. The Heron seemed aroused by their intrusion into his turf, but too afraid of them to do anything about it.

A detente was reached and the Heron resumed fishing for his lunch, and I resumed taking photos and shivering. Whole-body shivers that made me wonder if ANY of the photos would be free of blurring.

Klonk!

A small fish leapt forward, smack into the side of the blue kayak with a loud klonk.

The Heron didn’t bat an eye, though I suspect the fish was stunned momentarily. I peered over the side of the kayak, half-expecting to see a fish surface floating belly-up.

I had been at the lake less than two hours and was considering leaving because it was so cold, but if the young Heron could take it, then so could this human. I thought about my feet, very cold and  unprotected in the bow, and was considering make-shift socks as solutions to be able to stay out longer…

… And then it happened.

The Heron stopped fishing, he tensed visibly, and before my eyes, his plumage expanded in an unmistakable display. His back arched, tail tilted up, head tilted upwards, too.

Young male Great Blue Heron in display while approaching older female in the cove - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young male Great Blue Heron in display while approaching older female in the cove – babsjeheron

He was looking directly at me.

But he couldn’t have seen me as an interloper suddenly. That didn’t seem possible at all, but he was looking right at me, and approaching, with an intensity in his eyes and a purposefulness in his strides.

And then, then I looked over my right shoulder…

… And saw her there…

… Not eight feet behind me – an adult female Heron, one I know from years on the lake.

She had flown down and landed eight feet from the blue kayak and Blue Heron and me. Usually, the wary Herons will over-fly if they see a kayak, but this one came right up to us. Extraordinary.

I looked directly at her, clicked off a couple of totally unfocused frames in eagerness to not miss the moment. I didn’t look in the viewfinder, just pointed the camera in the right direction and hit the shutter.

And she looked back calmy and said “Arh…” using the Heron “greeting” call.

Maybe she was greeting the other Heron, maybe she was greeting me, maybe both of us?

“Arh…” again.

Since the other Heron was in a display posture by this time, I’d like to think she was greeting me.

I backed my kayak up farther away, towards the other shore to give them more space.

The yearling Heron strutted the length of the half-submerged log and branches, plumes puffed and gorgeous.

The female watched, unmoving, unthreatened.

The yearling climbed off the branch, into the water, and waded closer to her. His plumes  returned to normal configuration, but he waded with his back arched, neck and head angled upwards in display.

And suddenly, a flurry of silken plumes as he lept into the air towards her, and she took flight towards the deep end of the cove.

He wheeled mid-air and followed suit. She rose and arced North, over the tallest pines and then curved East over the far end of the cove.

He sped after her, just above water-level, deep into the cove. When last I saw him, he was climbing swifty up into the canopy after her.

I think it was an amorous display, and not a territorial display at all – a courtship chase flight. The season was wrong for that, of course, but a couple of recent years, it had been very warm into October and some birds were showing evidence of breeding plumes growing longer. But then again, maybe it was only a territorial display.

Whichever it was, it was extraordinary to see it from so close a vantage point.

And once again, I am smitten by the Great Blue Herons.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. This week, I had eye surgery number five. I’ll spare you a photo of me once again wearing an eye patch this time, but needless to say I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing the Great Blue Herons better in 2022.

The next two photos are the ‘before’ and ‘after’ images from one of my favorite, most-photographed corners of the cove. That is, “most-photographed” until a greedy real-estate speculator illegally bulldozed beyond the water-line under klieg lights after dark.

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

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

Great Blue Heron in Destroyed Habitat that had Seen Better Days – babsjeheron

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A fine was levied: $103,000. $1,000 a day for 103 days in violation of a court order. The first of the two scenes above can never be photographed again.
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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Autumn or Spring. This is an Autumn post.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: A few spare minutes well spent . Any minutes with the Herons are well spent!
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has dark red autumn leaves.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Read the rest of this entry

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon…

The Sun, Mary Oliver, excerpt
New and Selected Poems

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

On cold winter days, one of the Mute Swans resident on my small lake watched from just beyond the dock as I refilled the birdfeeders each morning. When my back was turned as I walked up to the house, the Swan would occasionally venture into the yard to scoop up seeds scattered by our winter birds – Blue Jays and Cardinals and Chickadees.

But only when my back was turned.

The winter turned harsher than any in recent memory. The birds were ravenous and emptied all the feeders before noon.

And then one morning it happened.

The Swan climbed up the short bank to where I stood at the third feeder. He dipped his head, bending that graceful neck down and then back up.

Twice.

We locked eyes.

I extended my arm tenuously towards the Swan, my gloved hand full of seeds.

As he nibbled hungrily, I stared at the top of his head. The feathers weren’t the pristine white I expected to see. And they didn’t look like any feather I’d seen before or since. They looked like rows of the tiniest, finest wale corduroy imaginable.

Peaceable co-existence abounded on those frigid mornings. And eventually the Swan became comfortable with my presence.

I love peaceable co-existence, wherever – and however – it manifests.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Artificial Light. Herons usually don’t hang out in artificial light where I live, so how about two photos illuminated by artificial light.

TCAN One-Woman Show December 2019-January 2020 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN Lobby Wall Photo with TCAN Graphic Reflection

x-ray of broken heel © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

My Broken Heel – An X-Ray uses Artificial Light

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has muted autumn leaves, to go with the mute swans.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial wLight .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Mute Swan
Read the rest of this entry

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