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Beautiful Great Blue Herons… Role Reversal?

Great Blue Heron Portrait BW - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Portrait BW – babsjeheron

The eastern-most end of the cove is the feeding ground and roosting spot for one of the older Great Blue Herons. He is very wary and gorgeous, and it’s always a thrill to see him here, wading, foraging for fish or sunning himself on the overturned willow that came down the year before.

That day, I visited a couple hours earlier than prime feeding time, and so he wasn’t about. That made an opportunity to paddle in closer.

Right stroke… left stroke… right blade planted shallowly… now a broad arc around the white blossoms… left stroke… gliding straight now, past the lily pads… Gliding… Gliding… Gliding up to the fallen willow where he often preens.

Look! A big blue-grey flight feather floating there, a downy belly feather tuft, too. And beyond the willow, paddling deeper to where it stops being cove and starts being brook. What’s the name of that blue flower? Must look it up. This is where the yellow daisies bloomed last fall, it must be.

The water level was much higher than ever. How deeply I can paddle without bottoming out, or getting stuck, like that previous summer. That was a long slow slog back out.

Mustn’t tarry too long here, but what a beautiful place. Serene, still, and so many wild flowers, lush ferns. He may be back soon…

Right paddle planted deep, hard stroke left, bring the boat around sharply. Yes, like that. Stroke… Glide… Stroke… Glide… Glide… Stroke, stroke, stroke.

There! Back in neutral territory, away from his space. Can rest now, and cruise along on the breeze. Floating… Floating…

I’m hungry. Where’s a good picnic spot? Ah, right here: not too close to the trees, a little shade, still waters, a good place for a floating lunch. Paddle leashed and propped ‘cross the cockpit. Lunch bag open. Hot tea, warm oatmeal – maple syrup and brown sugar.

Mmmm. That was very good. Satisfying in the fresh air. Well, time to head in. Close the tea mug, stow the lunch containers, don the gloves, paddle ready.

Wait, what’s that on the island shore? Hunkered down? Watching me…

Watching me…

Watching me?

Later that evening, just after dusk, back at home.

“How was your outing, dear?”

“Oh, so lovely. There were many Dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…

“And so many sunfish – the smallish ones, not so many bones. Did you ever notice how iridescent they are? If you hover your wings just so over the water so the sun gets that glowy filtering while you stir the bottom just right with your left foot, they’re much easier to see… and to catch.

“But the most unusual thing happened. I was out at the cove, wading along the small island shore when I saw it, right before my eyes. A human…

“I watched in silence for the longest time.

“It is not so rare to see a human in the cove, and there’s one who sometimes watches me when I’m down at the end, where its more brook than cove. You know the place. She thinks I’m not aware of her presence, but I am. I just let her think that.

“I sometimes put on a show for her, preening, stretching my neck far back to get at that itchy spot right over my left shoulder. Or extending my wings half open, down low.

“And I love to show her how to fish. How to be patiently still, toeing the water beneath the surface imperceptibly, watching for the telltale glint of a fin, swish of a tail…

“Whoosh, thrust, submerge, a clean strike. The trout is mine!

“And I surface, wriggling trout speared. A beauty.

“Usually I just wolf it down, but sometimes – sometimes – I want to show her. And so gradually I step and turn and stand there so she can see what a beauty I have caught. What a beauty I am.

“She loves to watch me feeding from a distance.

“And today?

“Today I watched a human in my cove…

“A human… feeding.

“They have curious feeding rituals, humans do.”

Accidental double exposure of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the waterfall - B&W - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Accidental double exposure of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the waterfall – B&W – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Accidental Multiple Exposure – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Accidental Multiple Exposure – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Eyes Bumble Bee for Lunch – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Eyes Bumble Bee for Lunch – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Feathers in a Clump – babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Feathers in a Clump Below a Nest– babsjeheron

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The Great Blue Herons once again graced the gallery walls through February 26th for a one-woman all-Heron show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby Nbr 2 One-Woman Show January-February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby Nbr 2 One-Woman Show January-February 2022 – babsjeheron

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone and dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education. Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

Some of the images from my January February 2022 TCAN show have been placed in the online Art gallery, with more to be uploaded in coming days. You can be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Folks, I have written here before that this is a politics-free space. You won’t hear me advancing any political agenda. Posts here are not opinion pieces about current events.

HOWEVER, failing to weigh in on the heartbreaking events unfolding in Europe would be exceedingly tone-deaf on my part.

I wrote back in December “Tis the season for wishes of peace on earth, goodwill to all. But wait. On second thought, why should those sentiments be extended only during the holiday season? I encourage peace on earth and goodwill to all for every season of the year. May 2022 bring you peace, health, happiness, and joy to all.”

And now in February March, it seems my sentiment from only two three months ago has fallen on deaf ears. I pray that it is not too late to turn the tides of war.

Cee Neuner, Debbie Smythe, Mama Cormier, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network 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 “Odds and Ends.” Tina wrote ‘I don’t know about you, but there are images in my archives that will never fit into a challenge category. They don’t tie together in any cohesive way, but they keep calling to be included. This week, let’s embrace their differences and focus on our “Odds and Ends”.’ Some of my photos today are definitely odd. Great Blue Heron having a Bumble Bee for lunch? Unusual clump of Heron feathers in a ball? Accidental multiple exposures? All unusual!

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds. Anybody see any birds around here?
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Thanks to Cee for her FOTD: Flower of the Day. The Bumble Bee is sipping nectar on a blooming Pickerel Weed flower.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: What’s Going on in St. Albans?. Filming Wonka!!
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Thanks to Mama Cormier for her Thursday Trios. There is a trio of triptychs in my post today!
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .
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From Anne Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .
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From John Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 189: Odds and Ends .

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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.

.

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

.
.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Current one-woman photography show through February 2022
.
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
.
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™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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

Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Peaceful Muse

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight (Square Version) - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight (Square Version) – babsjeheron

The man sat cross-legged on the sidewalk that skirted the perimeter along the water’s edge. In his lap, a pen and notebook. Pressed against his glasses, the eyepiece of an antique spyglass. Someone else might have used a modern telescope.

Herons are ancient, their ancestors appearing 40 million years ago, and so it seemed fitting for him to have an old spyglass trained on the nesting island, instead of a newfangled telescope.

He was alternately looking through the eyepiece and jotting down notes in his book when I walked around the bend. We were strangers, but curiosity got the better of me and I interrupted his writing to ask what he was looking at.

“Great Blue Herons. Mothers and chicks, in nests on the island. There are about 60 pairs of Herons nesting on the island.”

I shyly asked if I could take a quick peek, and in the instant my own eye peered through the spyglass, an entirely new world opened up. It was stunning. I was left wordless by the first vision of an adult with a chick – the graceful curve of the adult’s neck, their golden eyes, subtly shaded grey-blue feathers, the adorable cap feathers of the fluffy chick, all of it.

And thus it deepened, the beginnings of my love affair with Great Blue Herons. Those first images seen through an antique spyglass are etched indelibly in my mind, and in my heart. It was the day I met my Muse, the Heron.

Great Blue Herons' rookery island in falling snow just after sunrise - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Herons’ rookery island in falling snow just after sunrise – babsjeheron

Reflection of Herons' nesting island in winter - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Reflection of Herons’ nesting island in winter – babsjeheron

Can you count the Great Blue Herons' nests on the island in this satellite view? - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Can you count the Great Blue Herons’ nests on the island in this satellite view? – babsjeheron

More than 30 great blue heron nests are shown on the island - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

More than 30 great blue heron nests are shown on the island – babsjeheron

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The Great Blue Herons once again graced the gallery walls through February 26th for a one-woman all-Heron show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Herons at TCAN Lobby January & February 2022 – babsjeheron

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

Some of the images from my January February TCAN show have been placed in the online Art gallery, with more to be uploaded in coming days. You can be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.

Folks, I have written here before that this is a politics-free space. You won’t hear me advancing any political agenda. Posts here are not opinion pieces about current events.

HOWEVER, failing to weigh in on the heartbreaking events unfolding in Europe would be exceedingly tone-deaf on my part.

I wrote back in December “Tis the season for wishes of peace on earth, goodwill to all. But wait. On second thought, why should those sentiments be extended only during the holiday season? I encourage peace on earth and goodwill to all for every season of the year. May 2022 bring you peace, health, happiness, and joy to all.”

And now in February, it seems my sentiment from only two months ago has fallen on deaf ears. I pray that it is not too late to turn the tides of war.

Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, Becky B, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network 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 guest-hosted by Karina is “A Special Place.” I have included four images of our amazing Great Blue Heron rookery island as one place that is special to me, as plus another very special place – my beloved Center for Arts Natick – TCAN.

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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. This Heron has brought great joy.
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Thanks to Becky for her The Square Odds challenge. What fun tennis photos from Becky.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: May your Moustache Grow Like Brushwood. Apparently that expression is Mongolian for Gesundheit. Who knew?
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From Karina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 188: A Special Place .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 187: Water .

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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.

.

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

.
.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Current one-woman photography show through February 2022
.
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
.
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™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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

Great Blue Herons Guest…Pink Flamingo?

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in Territorial Display - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron in territorial display by boat garden – babsjeheron

A favorite location for photographing Herons is the sunken boat garden shown in the above photo. Each year, the property owners plant something different. One year the boat contained tubs of cherry tomatoes that looked delectable when fully ripe, the bright red of the fruit promising sweetness. In other years, the focus is flowers, like the gladiolus you see in the top photo.

Every year, it’s a treat to explore that area of the lake to see what has been planted, and to try for Heron photos with the boat garden. Photographing them there is tricky for a couple of reasons. The angle of the sun is good for only a short while each day; it’s in the shadows in the morning and for much of the afternoon the light is too bright and harsh. Even when the light is good, of course there’s no guarantee that there will be any Herons plying that section of the cove.

This square image shows only a smattering of changes to the boat garden that I have photographed over the years, including the variety of flowers and even the paint job to the boat, itself.

Boat Garden Through Years - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Boat Garden Through Years – babsjeheron
Top Left – 2009, Top Right – 2011, Middle Left – 2011, Middle Right – 2015, Bottom Left – 2017, Bottom Right – 2018

To the south of the boat garden is an idyllic area of the shoreline: two hammocks suspended out over the water look so inviting on sweltering August afternoons. Next door is a tableau of Adirondack chairs gathered near a fire pit, and I can imagine lounging in a hammock while dinner sizzling nearby teases my senses. While my favorite elements of nature are always the wild and untrammeled ones, this section of the shoreline is a place I’d love to inhabit for an evening or three, lazing in one of the hammocks, with fireflies twinkling around the flowers and the scent of dinner wafting from the grill. And a Great Blue Heron, there would be a Heron there, too.

Great blue heron exploring the shoreline near suspended hammocks - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron exploring the shoreline near suspended hammocks – babsjeheron

On this day, I was in luck – there was a yearling Great Blue Heron foraging along the shore to the north of the boat garden. Most Great Blues follow a consistent direction when fishing along the shore. Just like “mall walkers” who get their exercise by walking a circuit around a mall before the shops open, Herons generally pick a direction and follow that direction. That day, it was looking good because the yearling was heading down the shore in the direction of the boat garden.

I settled the kayak into a secluded spot and set up to photograph the Heron when it neared the boat garden. And then I waited.

Sometimes no matter how well a photographer plans, the model has others ideas, and this was one of those times. The Heron lazily worked his way up to the boat and just when I was ready for shots of the Heron moving along in front of the boat, it ducked behind the stern, instead, and proceeded south, obscured by the towering gladiolus in the boat!

All was not lost, I thought to myself, maybe the Heron would do something photogenic by the hammocks or the Adirondack chairs and fire pit while the light was still good. I shifted my focus in that direction and waited for the Heron to catch up. Totally unaware of the fledgling Great Blue Heron beside the boat garden stalking him with increasing speed and determination, the yearling Heron plied the shoreline. Perhaps it was his curiosity about the fire pit on the lake-front beach that led him to put his guard down?

Great Blue Heron yearling investigates a fire pit - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron yearling investigates a fire pit – babsjeheron

It was looking promising for some photos with the chairs, and I had started firing off a few when I heard a slight rustle overhead. I looked up and saw a fledgling Great Blue Heron perching on a limb directly over the beach where the other Heron was curiously investigating the fire pit.

The fledgling swooped out of the canopy and landed just to the north of the boat garden and suddenly took on a territorial posture. I have blogged here in the past about fledgling herons in the nest playfully practicng various displays (click here and here) but this was the first time I had seen a fledgling put a genuine territorial display to use against an older, larger Heron in a shoreline situation.

Back feathers erect, such as they were at this point in the fledgling’s development, the fledgling strutted down the shore towards the yearling, who was engrossed with the fire pit. A few moments after the photo shown above, though, the older Heron caught sight of the aggressive fledgling bearing down on him and burst from the sand out over the water, heading southwest.

Fledgling great blue heron taking flight near boat garden - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fledgling Great Blue Heron taking flight near boat garden – babsjeheron

The fledgling, having proved his mettle and securing both the beach and his status as an alpha bird, relaxed his pose and spent several minutes exploring the boat garden before eventually flying off to the north.

What a thrilling experience that day, to see a very young Great Blue Heron assert dominance over an older and larger Heron.
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And when I take photos like this, I often wonder if the property owners have any idea about the Herons’ visits that make their beautiful stretch of shore even more lovely.

The one very odd boat garden installation over all of the years has no plants, just this solitary Plastic Flamingo.

Plastic Flamingo in Boat Garden - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Plastic Flamingo in Boat Garden – babsjeheron

I have sometimes wondered if that Flamingo was intended as a “scarecrow” figure, to keep the Herons away? I hope not.
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Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface is gracing gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio

My Great Blue Heron photographs are once again on display on 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.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

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.

And who knows, maybe I’ll see you there one day.

I’d like that.

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Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, Becky B, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network 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 John is “Change.” This post chronicles many changes to the picturesque sunken boat at the lake.
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Thanks to Cee for her FOTD: Flower of the Day. I wish I knew the names of all of the flowers in my photos.
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Thanks to Becky for her The Square Odds challenge. Is that Pink Flamingo odd or what?

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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. Sometimes Known as Sir Paul’s Cathedral.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 185: Change .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 185: Change .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 185: Change .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 185: Change .
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From John Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 185: Change .

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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.

.

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

.
.

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Current one-woman photography show through February 2022
.
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
.
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™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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

Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Flightless Goose?

One-legged Canada Goose - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Canada Goose – babsjeheron

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When the birds
come to breakfast
some have lost
legs or feet
to the world,
and I give those more,
their lives
being difficult enough,
but I never
see the ones who have
lost wings.

470 Fidelity Agape (excerpt)

William Mealer
Alethea At Aphelion

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Five kayak outings in a row, the young Canada Goose followed along as I plied the shores of the lake. He hadn’t joined the other gaggles of Geese as they readied for migration south, and remained behind after their departure. Instead, he could be found in the company of the Ducks in various coves or near the Gulls congregating along the boat launch.

As the weeks drew on, several waves of Geese migrating from farther north would briefly stop over at the lake – a way station on their route south – and the young Goose would join along the fringe of the newcomers, but I noticed he always remained behind when they, too, headed south.

It was then, as autumn gave way to winter, and most of the Ducks had migrated, that one day I noticed the young Goose seemed to be following me about the lake.

One day, I came across the Goose near one of tunnels where the Great Blue Herons perch, pulling up greens from along the shore. By then, much of the vegetation had dried to straw, but that patch was still a vibrant green, and most days I would sight the Goose there on my way to the north. And most days from then on, he would follow along behind the blue kayak, from middle lake into north lake, and back, then east into the shallow cove favored by the Herons.

The weather here on Christmas that year was unexpectedly warm for Massachusetts in December, near 60 degrees, and my gift to myself was an hour in the kayak, tucked deep in the slender cove, drinking hot coffee and eating a friend’s home-made cookies. Any my companion there? The young Goose – delightful company.

The day after was again warm, and so once again I headed out on the water. Once again, the young Goose was near that patch of greens. Once again, he followed me, at times paddling behind Blue Boat, at others circling around alongside to port or starboard, at others pulling out ahead of my bow.

He seemed healthy enough, despite being an unusually solitary Goose. His chest was plump, feathers abundant and glossy, eyes clear, tongue pink. The only thing amiss seemed to be a shallow, silver-dollar-sized wound at the back of his head where it joins the neck, but the short feathers there looked like they were growing back in just fine.

So why hadn’t he migrated with the others? I assumed he couldn’t fly, although I had seen him stretch out his wings once when he accidentally came to close to the kayak. It was only for a moment, and so my glimpse of the wings was brief, but I couldn’t see anything obviously wrong with either wing.

It was a mystery, his flightlessness.

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

Canada Goose -babsjeheron

At the end of that day, the young Goose followed me back to the boathouse, and watched from the shallows as I beached the kayak. I wondered if he would flee in fear were I to stand up full height on shore, and so I slouched down to look smaller as I clambered out of the boat. Apparently that worked, and he simply paddled about in small circles, watching me all the while.

Then he started to preen, just like any other Goose, tucking his head under first one wing, then the others, craning his neck over his should to reach his back feathers, nibbling at his tail.

And when he stood up, it hit me – the reason for his flightlessness. He stood there gracefully on his left leg, the stump of his right wavering slightly as he regained his balance, and settled in preening on one leg.

The photos in this post are clearly not “art” (they were taken with my phone). And even though they are not art, there is something curious about them. Look closely at the top photo here, do you see what I see floating on the surface of the water below the stump of his right leg? Doesn’t that reflected shape look like the reflection of an intact Goose’s foot? His phantom foot?

It is remarkable how nimble he had been in paddling after me for miles all over the lake, how agile he looks standing on one leg preening, how healthy he seems to be apart from his missing foot. How endearing he is.

And even though these photos aren’t art, the young Canada Goose is.

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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 to see a one-legged Goose? Was it wonderful that the Goose survived as long as it did?
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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 CBWC: Vanishing Point. I am stretching things a bit with this topic. The point of the Goose’s leg vanishes into space where his foot should appear.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday At the End of the Pier. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Water is in all the photos here today.
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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
Read the rest of this entry

Blue Heron Guest…Osprey’s Epic Fail?

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey in Autumn- babsjeheron

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The tall dead White Pine is favored by Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, and Osprey that perch on branches offering excellent views of two coves. Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree, and it is one of my own favorite spots to fish for wildlife photos – more than a few of my favorite images on this blog were captured there.

I always scan for birds atop that tree with my binoculars before passing through the tunnel that separates the Middle and North lakes. That day, an Osprey carrying a very large fish was just about to touch down on the tree, and so I backpaddled the kayak to stay put on my side of the tunnel, and quickly retrieved the camera from beneath the cockpit deck.

Osprey Drops Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Drops Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Looking at the above sequence, you can see the Osprey – with its wings fanning for balance – trying mightily to secure that large fish, which swings like a pendulum beneath the branch. The above sequence took only 53 seconds, from landing on the branch with the huge prize fish to losing his grip and watching the fish plummet.

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Incredulous Osprey After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

Poor Osprey! The expressions on its face ranged from surprise to disbelief that the fish got away. It just seemed stunned and stood there staring downward, as though looking everywhere for that fish, angling its head this way and that for a better view.

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Looks Down for Dropped Prize Fish – babsjeheron

The Osprey stared down at the surface of the water for a long time after losing his prize catch, before taking flight nearly twelve minutes later.

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Osprey Flying Away After Dropping Prize Fish – babsjeheron

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There’s a symbiotic relationship among the birds that perch high up in that tree and the birds that fish at the base. The Eagles and Hawks and Osprey watch for and intercept fish that elude birds fishing from the shore. And vice-versa.

And what of the fish that got away from the Osprey? You may remember that I wrote that Great Blue Herons often fish the base of that tree. I like to think that a Great Blue Heron had a tasty free lunch that day.

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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 Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: Autumn or Spring. Autumn leaves fit this topic.
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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 bright muted red autumn leaves.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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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 .
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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, Osprey

Read the rest of this entry

Beginnings With Beautiful Great Blue Herons

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

Great Blue Heron Preening – babsjeheron

Life spreads itself across
the ceiling to make you think
you are penned in, but that
is just another gift. Life takes
what you thought you couldn’t live
without and gives you a heron instead.

On the Meaning of (excerpt)
Linda Back McKay

The Next Best Thing: Poems

The man sat cross-legged on the sidewalk that skirted the perimeter along the water’s edge. In his lap, a pen and notebook. Pressed against his glasses, the eyepiece of an antique spyglass. Someone else might have used a modern telescope.

Herons are ancient, their ancestors appearing 40 million years ago, and so it seemed fitting for him to have an old spyglass trained on the nesting island, instead of a newfangled telescope.

He was alternately looking through the eyepiece and jotting down notes in his book when I walked around the bend. We were strangers, but curiosity got the better of me and I interrupted his writing to ask what he was looking at.

“Great Blue Herons. Mothers and chicks, in nests on the island. There are about 60 pairs of Herons nesting on the island.”

I shyly asked if I could take a quick peek, and in the instant my own eye peered through the spyglass, an entirely new world opened up. It was stunning. I was left wordless by the first vision of an adult with a chick – the graceful curve of the adult’s neck, their golden eyes, subtly shaded grey-blue feathers, the adorable cap feathers of the fluffy chick, all of it.

And thus it deepened, the beginnings of my love affair with Great Blue Herons. Those first images seen through an antique spyglass are etched indelibly in my mind, and in my heart. It was the day I met my Muse, the Heron:

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

When I Met My Muse
by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

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Here are some great resources for birding/photography ethics:

The Jerk – ABA Blog by Ted Lee Eubanks

ABA Code of Birding Ethics

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!

The amazing Lens Artists Tina, Patti, Amy, and Leya are still taking a much-deserved and much-needed break for the month of July. This week’s challenge focuses on the topic Getting Away. Rusha Sams from her blog Oh the Places We See is the host this week. the ancient spyglass I borrowed got me away from the 21st century, back to a much earlier time.

Check out Rusha’s beautiful B&W photos here: Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 157: Getting Away .

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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.

2015 (May), 2016 (March and July), 2018 (May, June, July), 2019 (December), 2020 (January) several one-woman photography shows at TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
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2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
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From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on 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.

Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.
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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, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Heron: What’s Wrong with this Picture? (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 15)

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

Broken Lens – babsjeheron

Raise your hand if you remember film cameras.

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I don’t remember when or how this lens developed that extra bend.

It was a good lens and served me well back in the days before digital. Back then, my film budget was two 35 exposure rolls of 35mm per outing. I went home happy if I got one good capture per roll. And now? Easily 800+ exposures on an average day. Who could afford that if shooting actual film? Not me

I enjoyed experimenting with and comparing different brands of film. During Comet Hale-Bopp’s reign in 1997 for a few months, I did side-by-side comparisons of the comet taken from the same vantage point. As I recall, my preference back then turned out to be the old Fujifilm 35mm. Getting the exposure duration was tricky, and my then elementary-school-age daughter came up with a system of counting out loud one hippopotamus, two hippopotamus, three… etc.

For sentimental Great Blue Heron reasons, this Fledgling is one of my favorites taken with that now-broken lens and film camera. It is NOT art by any stretch.

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Captured with Film Camera – babsjeheron

What I like most about this photo are the colors of the Heron’s feathers. They seem to have a much broader, richer and nuanced range, and reveal a deeper depth of textures than any of my digital photos.

Have you ever compared digital and film side-by-side? Do you have a preference, and why?
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Tools. This camera and lens were stalwart companions for years. I had two of the same body, but two different lenses before going all digital in 2007.
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Thanks to Paula for her Thursdays Special: Pick a Word in October: Aperture . Due to an accodent, the ‘extra’ aperture of this lens let in much more light than normal.
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Thanks to Debbie for this week’s Travel with Intent Challenge – Six Word Saturday. I don’t think I’m capable of keeping the entire posy at six words, but at least the title is only six..
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves: Week 7. This photo was taken when the upper end of the cove was still quite green, but the eastern end had glorious red maples blazing. Surprising how the microclimates in a small area can produce colorful leaves on differing schedules.
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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.
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During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced 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 current gallery show at TCAN. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
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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, Natick

Great Blue Heron in Autumn Nbr 3

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

Great Blue Heron by Falling Waters for Six Word Saturday

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This waterfall is no more, sadly.
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For the months of September and October, the Great Blue Herons are featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA. Feel free to stop in during office hours Monday thru Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
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Thanks to Debhie for her a Six Word Saturday. The falling waters shown here are a thing of the past, now. The base of the falling water was a popular spot for Herons and Red Tailed Hawks to fish for their supper.
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Thanks to Dawn for her recent Festival of Leaves: Week 5. I spent many hours over 7 or 8 years hidden in my kayak across the channel from this spot in hopes of capturing a Great Blue Heron with the striking autumn leaves. Good things come to she who waits.
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Thanks to Cee for her recent CFFC: Vibrant Colors. I have no idea what those vivid red leaves are.
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Thanks to Paula for her Thursdays Special: Pick a Word in October: Gushing . Depending on the day, the falling waters gushed down the hillside.

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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced 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 current gallery show at TCAN. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
.
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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

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