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Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Swimming Deer?

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

The subtle shift in the tilt of the Great Blue Heron’s head alerted me to an unseen presence.

Great blue heron watching deer across the cove.

Great Blue Heron peering across the cove – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron perched, stationary and gazing off to the east under half-closed eyes, and I sensed that she was going to go to sleep standing there.
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It was mid-morning, her early fishing and feeding done. The log next to the blooming pickerel weed made a quiet resting place.
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She was unmoving, serene, a study in tranquility, and those qualities were once again contagious – I felt the peacefulness of the space we share, as I always do in the presence of Herons.
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Deer viewed through leaves of blind.

Looking through leaves of my natural cover hide/blind – babsjeheron

Half an hour elapsed when a shift in the tilt of her head signaled that she was alert and watching something on the opposite shore. Lulled into a sense of complacency, I thought that it was probably just the Irish Setter I had noticed ambling along when I paddled into the cove that morning.
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The Heron stiffened upright suddenly, as though coiled for action. Something, intuition perhaps, told me it wasn’t an Irish Setter at all. Maybe the Fox I’d photographed there a few years earlier was back!

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the great blue heron.

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

Holding my breath, I stared through the lens directly into the eyes of – not an Irish Setter nor a Fox – a large, mature Deer, a first-ever Deer sighting in the cove.

For forty-five minutes, the three of us shared the lower cove. The Deer watched the Heron during breaks in munching tender leafy bushes, but didn’t seem aware of me. The Heron also didn’t pay any attention to me, but watched the Deer intently, at one point flying about ten feet for a closer look.
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And me? I watched both Deer and Heron with my heart on my sleeve.

Time stood still as I put the camera down and peered through my higher-magnification binoculars. I soaked in those enormous soulful eyes, the tickly-looking whiskers, and the adorable ears that seemed to swivel with their own sense of direction, the better to hear us with as the children’s fable says.
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The encounter ended as all such wildlife-human encounters should end, utterly without drama: nobody spooked or flushed anybody.

The Deer finished munching greens, turned and sauntered softly back into the woods.

The Great Blue Heron stared after the Deer for a long while, and then once again took up her perch on the log.

And I, still wordless from the wonder of what had just unfolded, paddled on to the next lake, smiling all the way.

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Fast forward ten months

Silent as a whisper, the Deer
Poem by Babsje

What of last summer’s Doe
Who watched from the shore
The Heron preening,
Ears attuned for movement,
Then ambled off into the ferns?

That was long ago –
Before that bad winter
Took so much.

Today
She bowed to nibble
Columbine and hosta
On the far shore.

And swam home.

In less than a minute
Water sluiced from her shoulders
Her heavy udders,
Then she was gone
Silent as a whisper

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

A glimpse through trees – could it be the White-tailed Deer? – babsjeheron

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

White Tail Deer Entering the Water Alongside the Dock – babsjeheron

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

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water – babsjeheron

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

.White Tail Deer Vanishing into the Woods – babsjeheron

Fast forward four more months.

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn - babsjeheron © 2014 - 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn – babsjeheron


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Between the first Deer encounter and the second one ten months later, the Polar Vortex had brought devastating, vicious cold.

Seeing a Deer swimming after the killing colds of winter was thrilling.

Viewing the photos on download was heartwarming: the Deer was the same one I had seen one day that previous summer. She had survived that harsh winter, and she had apparently given birth in the interim.

Four months later, the last photo of that Doe with her Fawn, brings great joy.

Great joy.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth 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 Going Wide. Here’s the wide shot of the swimming Deer:

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

White-Tail Deer swimming, the long view – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Greatest Love of All. The Fawn is the future of the Deer.
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.Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
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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, White Tailed Deer
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron and Meteor

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

Great Blue Heron flies by – babsjeheron.

I blame it on the Beaver lodge.

No, that’s not right.

I blame it on the Beavers.

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

Actually, that’s not correct either.

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

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

So, a few days later I went back to the cove to try to photograph the Beavers.

This, of course, was a mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I almost missed the photo because I was looking down when I should have been looking up.
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And here’s that Meteor I promised in the post’s title. One occasion when I wss looking up at the right time in the right place: (I hope you weren’t expecting to see the Heron and Meteor together in the same photo?)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower - babsjeheron  © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower – babsjeheron

Watching meteor showers and photographing comets both put me in touch with the infinite in a way that nothing else can.

There’s something primal about laying back on a grassy hillside watching the summer Perseid meteor shower put on a show overhead.

Standing on that same hillside before dawn on a frigid November morning photographing the Leonids, cold of body yet warm of being, has the same effect.

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As long as we’re looking really far up, why not a Comet?

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

Lizz (age 9) strikes a pose with Comet Hale-Bopp – babsjeheron

During the year of Comet Hale-Bopp, we watched and photographed almost daily for the duration, tracking the comet’s position on paper star charts. We experimented with all of the low light film we could find, comparing the quality of color reproduction and sharpness. Lacking any idea how long an exposure needed to be in order to clearly see the comet on film, and without a timer on-hand, my daughter hit on the Hippopotamus technique: she would depress the plunger on the cable release and hold the shutter open while counting out loud “one Hippopotamus, two Hippopotamus, three Hippopotamus.” It worked from the very first photo! We had a great time together, just the two of us viewing the comet through my old 35mm Konica and small toy telescope.
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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. This week, the Lens Artists have invited Sofia Alves of Photographias as guest host. The focus this week is Looking Up, Looking Down. Please check out their gorgeous photos at the links listed below. My submission includes a case when i should have been looking up but was not, and two photos where i was looking very far up, if not far out!

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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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From Sofia Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Look Up, Look Down ..

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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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, Meteor, Comet, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron Weekend of Fun

Great Blue Heron Soaring Above the Cove - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Soaring Above the Cove – babsjeheron

Guys, you said there’s a Labor Day Party!
Where is everybody?

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

Great Blue Heron on Dock Labor Day Weekend – babsjeheron

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

Guys? Where are you? I’m ready for the party!

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File this under silly fun with Herons!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. This week, the Lens Artists focus on gorgeous photos with the theme of Keep Walking. My submission – in the spirit of fun – shows the Great Blue Heron walking around the dock. he keeps walking in search of his friends, who are clearly late to the party.

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Tomorrow. Silly Heron, the party is TOMORROW!
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
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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

Mindfulness and the Great Blue Herons

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

Great Blue Heron rises sharply upwards as it passes by me – babsjeheron.

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

I went for a long walk late Sunday afternoon along the sidewalk that follows the contour of the reservoir that holds the nesting island. In places, the path is right next to the rocky shoreline, and in others the terrain between the path and the water’s edge is thinly forested with old growth white pines and cherry, apple, and dogwood, and oak and maples, all blanketed by tall ferns and ground foliage. At this time of year, the ground plants are just beginning to sprout and the leaves on the bushes and shorter trees have not yet started, so there is a clear view through the woods to the water.

Many creatures live there, and every walk I take seems to reveal more of them. Last night, it was a large cottontail rabbit. Saturday night, a lone young Canada Goose that had gotten stranded on the wrong side of the path and needed some encouragement to dip beneath the guardrail to safety. It was fascinating to see the parent Goose demonstrate to junior how to navigate under that guardrail. We don’t often see wildlife actively teaching their young.

Sunday, as I was walking, something made me stop suddenly and drew my attention to the right, into the woods and trees. From where I was at that moment about fifteen feet of thin, tall trees and underbrush sloped gently downward to the shoreline, and there, not ten feet away, stood a Great Blue Heron.

They are usually very shy and erupt into flight at the first sensing of an approaching human, but for some reason this Heron remained stock still. We stood there, staring eye-to-eye for a long, long time, though it could not have been more than twenty seconds. His eyes, doe eyes almost, soft eyes, like those of a deer. His long bill, the orange-yellow of Aztec gold. His cap feathers, pure white. It felt as though I was looking at a being of kindness and intelligence, and an equal.

The silence between us was absolute.

We stood there, eyes-locked, watching each other, absorbing in full stillness, and then he leaned forward and lifted skyward in absolute silence, not an audible rustle of feather in the unfurling of exquisite wings – just soundless, effortless flight.

Suddenly, I wished I had brought a camera, and then just as quickly, I dismissed that wish – had the camera been there, I would have missed that experience. Instead of sharing stillness with the Great Blue Heron, I would have been absorbed in things like aiming and focusing and f-stops and bracketing and all of the composition things we photographers do; by then the Heron would have flown away, alarmed by my fidgeting with the gadgetry, and I would have missed the moment.

So, what does this story have to do with my photography? I used to do a lot of photographing in the mountains near Santa Cruz, with the vistas of mist-shrouded hilltop after hilltop marching to the Pacific Ocean, and along the Pacific Coast at sunset – hundreds of hours seeking to capture the perfect sunset moment, until one day I realized I was missing the moment IN the moment by working so hard to preserve it for future viewing.

Technology had gotten in the way of experiencing the moment right then and there, in the now.

What does this story have to do with my photos? It’s a lesson in our choice to be present in the moment, as I was with the Heron that afternoon, instead of focusing on the technology of recreating that moment for the future. It’s a lesson in mindfulness.

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

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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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The always-inspiring 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 Along Back Country Roads. Beth Smith from her blog Wandering Dawgs is the host this week. This memorable encounter with a Great Blue Heron took place during a walk along a road near my home.

Thanks to Beth for her Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 158: Along Back Country Roads . This Great Blue Heron encounter took place during a walk along a road near my home.

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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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.
.

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

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.
.

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 .

,
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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.
.

.
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.
.

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

Great Blue Heron Time Stands Still

Pteradactyl Great blue heron catching prize fish.

Pterodactyl? Great blue heron catching prize fish – babsjeheron

At breakneck speed, all were flung into the present as the man in the bass boat bellowed “It’s a Pterodactyl! It’s an effing Pterodactyl!”

At the time it was amusing – I had my head down stowing gear under the bow of the kayak and didn’t actually see the Great Blue Heron, but hearing the man shriek about a Pterodactyl left no doubt about what had just crossed his bow. So, when even a random fisherman makes that association, I am definitely not alone in seeing Great Blue Herons as modern-day relics of a prehistoric time.

Time stood still that day in the secluded cove.

The rumbling of a lumbering Diplodocus moving towards the tallest stand of trees echoed over the ridge. A school of Leedsichthys searched for plankton in the watery depths, swishing this way and that. Overhead, a flock of Archaeopteryx flapped and wheeled, warming their wings in the late day sunlight.

A lone Pterosaur spied a prize fish and dove towards the water, and in the instant it surfaced with the fish, time stopped standing still.

At breakneck speed, all were flung into the present as the man in the bass boat bellowed, “It’s a Pterodactyl! It’s an effing Pterodactyl!”

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The fisherman really did bellow that quote in the channel. At the time it happened, I was looking down in the cockpit of the kayak, stowing gear. The moment I heard his shouting, I knew it could only mean one thing: a Great Blue Heron flying nearby.

I rendered the photo in B&W to give it a more ancient look, and besides – they didn’t have color film back when Pterodactyls ruled the skies.

According to the wonderful resource, Heron Conservation:

The herons are a fairly ancient group of birds. Although bird fossils are rare, herons are exceptionally rare even by avian standards totaling fewer than 40 identified species. Herons first emerge in the fossil record some 60 -38 million years ago.

When even a random fisherman at my lake makes that association, I am definitely not alone in seeing Great Blue Herons as modern-day relics of a prehistoric time.

That gives me goosebumps!

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds. A Pterodactyl is a bird, right?
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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 again to Paula for her earlier Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past photo prompt. I’m linking to one of Paula’s earlier challenges, an act which involves something from the past, and certainly a Pterodactyl is from a trace of the past.
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The amazing Lens Artists Tina, Patti, Amy, and Leya are taking a much-deserved and much-needed break for the month of July. This week’s challenge focuses on the topic Black & White. Anne Sandler from her blog Slow Shutter Speed is the host this week.

Check out Anne’s beautiful B&W photos here: Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 156: Black and White .

,
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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.
.

.
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.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron: The One that Didn’t Get Away

Great blue heron lands a large fish.

If birds can feel joy, this smiling Great Blue Heron certainly must be joyful in this moment – babsjeheron

If you smile at me I will understand,
‘Cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner
Wooden Ships
Crosby, Stills & Nash

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He wasn’t one of the regulars, the usual happy fishermen and boys who gather on the sloping tunnel sides. The Great Blue Heron always gave those other fishermen a wide berth, but this man was different. He was using bait – big-looking silvery bait – and his fishing gear was ample and good.

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I nosed the kayak smoothly, silently into the middle cove, when suddenly, a flash of blue-grey to my left – the female Great Blue Heron swooped onto the western shore.

I watched her foraging from a respectful distance, not wanting to get too close lest my presence scare her off, anxious about the solo fisherman casting into the cove from his perch along the tunnel overpass.

I felt unease for the heron, but she continued prodding the mud in her corner of the shore, occasionally venturing out into deeper waters, stalking what was beneath the surface there, dallying until her interest waned or until the prey moved on.

So it went for 15 minutes or so…

And then she made her move, and strode purposefully north, until she reached the tunnel.

And the lone fisherman.

I followed behind her, 10 feet back, out of her line of sight, parallel to the shore.

In the past when she reached the tunnel, she would  rise from the water on strong wings, and cross the channel, clearing it and going fully beyond in 3 loping wingstrokes.

Each time I was there, I raised my camera to catch her mid-stroke, framed by the tunnel entrance, and this day was no different.

I got into position, focused across to where I knew her flight path to be, and waited.

… In vain, once more.

This time, she landed short of her usual place on the north shore.

She landed directly in front of the fisherman, directly in the path of his perilous casts!

I hovered on the left bank, alarmed.

Would he hook her?

Would he accidentally wrap his filament around her throat?

Would she chase after his cast and take his bait fish, swallowing hook, line, and sinker?

I paddled cross the channel and struck up my usual fisherman’s conversation with him, edging closer in to be able to rescue the heron from his line.

He settled back into the rhythm of his fishing.

Heron settled in, watching the baitfish soar out on the end of its tether, occasionally swooping out to pick up the leftovers after he reeled back in.

I settled in to squeeze off photos here and there.

We established a routine, the three of us – me in the middle, 5 feet from him, heron only 4 feet beyond me.

At least, I thought, I could rescue heron if he snagged her or if she bit down onto a hook.

And then I heard it.

Tweeee-eeee-eeet, a wavering whistle.

He was whistling to Heron!

She perked up!

And he tossed a small silvery fish her way.

She lunged and swallowed in one exquisite movement!

And so it went for the next half-hour, he would cast out, and sometimes she followed his lure, sometimes not.

Every 4th or 5th cast, he’d toss a silvery prize her way. She always took his treat and was eager for more…so eager she moved in closer and closer to him, and to me.

Too close for any good camera shots.

What should have been too close for her comfort.

Great blue heron lands a large fish - detail.

Head-shot detail – babsjeheron

As you can see from the photos here, no harm came to the Great Blue Heron that day. The final prize the fisherman tossed to her that day was this huge pike.
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I love a happy ending.

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Water Found in Nature. Today’s post has water found in nature. Plus a Heron!
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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from the amazing artists Tina and Patti, Amy, and Leya, focuses on our One Photo Two Ways. My example is the full frame photo and then a crop. Readers of this blog know I’m both fine art photographer and nature photographer, but I’m also a photojournalist, a stringer for a national newspaper syndicate. The rules are vastly different for fine art and photojournalism. In journalism, no editing is permitted, not even a single pixel can be adjusted, and often times even cropping is not allowed. For fine art, sometimes it seems the opposite is expected – what makes it ‘Art’ is the artist-photographer’s manipulation of the image. The full frame photo at top is entitrly unretouched. You see it exactly as it came straight out of the camera.

Check out the Lens Artists’ beautiful photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

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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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Birds Just Wanna Get Cool (Not Art Nbr 27)

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

Great Blue Heron on Float – babsjeheron

Come on in, the water’s fine!
(File this post under pure silliness…)

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Even the Great Blue Heron and Great Egret are looking for relief on this very hot summer day.

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

Egret pondering paddle boat – babsjeheron

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

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

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

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

Egret just wants to have fun – babsjeheron

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

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

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

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

Guys? Guys?

Well, that’s the last time I agree to coordinate a meetup for you guys.
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Nature Animals.

Thanks to Cee also for her CMMC: Eyes. The Great Egret is eyeing that paddleboat and beach picnic with great interest.
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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from the always inspiring and creative artists Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya, focuses on our Wonderful World. Check out the Lens Artists’ Shade and Shadows photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 153: Wonderful World .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 153: Wonderful World .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 153: Wonderful World .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 153: Wonderful World .

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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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.
.

.
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.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and Shadows

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

Great blue heron on the rocks – babsjeheron

“I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on.”
“It has come off?”
“Yes.”
Then Wendy saw the shadow on the floor, looking so draggled, and she was frightfully sorry for Peter. “How awful!” she said, but she could not help smiling when she saw that he had been trying to stick it on with soap.

Peter Pan and Wendy
Chapter 3
J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan

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Drifting slowly towards the mouth of the creek, I saw a heron feather, a grey-blue blur bobbing against the green waters along the north shore.

Wedging the nose of the kayak into the mud under the old oaks, I scooped up the feather with my paddle blade. I had just bent forward to secure it under the deck bungee when a large shadow passed overhead.

A burst of feathers exploded onto the shore a couple of yards to my east. A great blue heron, so close. He obviously hadn’t seen the kayak under the tree canopy on his landing approach.

As I fumbled to get the camera out of the dry sack, another larger shadow cruised over my head, and a second heron swooped in about eight feet from the first.

Two herons, so close. So close!

Over the years, shadows have played a pivotal role in many of my experiences on the water. Such as the time a Bald Eagle shadow startled me as it unexpectedly passed over the kayak from stern to bow or the time a Great Blue Heron shadow was the only forewarning of the bird about to land just four feet off my starboard side and crash the conference call in progress. (Yes, a conference call from a kayak in the cove.) Please click here to see the time a Great Blue Heron decided I was “the lesser of evils.”

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If the Great Blue Heron sees his shadow
Does it mean six more weeks of winter??

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

Shadow of A Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Nature Animals.
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Thanks to Paula for her Thursdays Special: Pick a Word in May.
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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from the always inspiring and creative artists Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya, focuses on Shade and Shadows. Check out the Lens Artists’ Shade and Shadows photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 152: Shade and Shadows .
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 152: Shade and Shadows .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 152: Shade and Shadows .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 152: Shade and Shadows .

.
.
,
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
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

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.
.

.
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.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Egret and the MBTA

Egret flying above subtle, shimmery reflection almost like a puddle of moonlight.

Egret flying above shimmery reflection like a puddle of moonlight – babsjeheron

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.     

— Leonardo da Vinci

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MBTA?? The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority MBTA, which runs our local commuter trains?

Nope, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act MBTA (as explained by Audubon) and the Migratory Bird Convention Act MBCA Canada
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Egret Channeling Isadora Duncan – babsjeheron

This is a politics-free space. You won’t hear me advancing any political agenda.

The Great Blue Herons and Egrets, on the other hand, want to remind everyone – regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof – to let your voice be heard where you can to make sure the precious birds and wildlife continue to receive the best protections from harm.

 © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)   Going the distance? Egret ponders a winged migration alternative.

Egret ponders a winged migration alternative.

At the start of this post, I said it wasn’t about the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (which runs our local commuter trains). It looks like our Egret friend here thinks an Amtrak train might be ok for his migration?
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
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A recent Lens Artist challenge from Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya, focuses on wild things. My post today implores us all to make sure our precious wildlife is getting the best possible protection. Without getting into politics, in the U.S., the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 has undergone several modifications over the century, and is presently under review by the Department of the Interior, with an eye to adjusting changes made by the previous administration. At question is whether ‘incidental’ harm to birds made in the course of industry or other activity is permissible. An example: is it acceptable under the law for an offshore windfarm on a migratory route to kill birds who impact the blades?

Check out the Lens Artists’ Let’s Get Wild photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 150: Let’s Get Wild .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 150: Let’s Get Wild .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 150: Let’s Get Wild .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 150: Let’s Get Wild .

.
.
,
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
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary

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.
.

.
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.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

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