Blog Archives

Beautiful Great Blue Herons – Closing Days TCAN – Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 14

Out of their loneliness for each other
two reeds, or maybe two shadows, lurch
forward and become suddenly a life
lifted from dawn or the rain…

William Stafford,
Oregon Poet Laureate
For Great Blue Heron Week, 1987
Spirit of Place: The Great Blue Heron (excerpt)
The Way it Is: New and Selected Poems

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

Charles River Blues Great Blue Herons at TCAN May 1 thru July 11 2018 – babsjeheron

The bridge in this photo panel was constructed in the mid 19th century, around the same time that the cyanotype process came into vogue. There is a palpable timelessness to this location, and I imagined how it would have been rendered by a 19th century photographer, perhaps capturing an ancestor of one of the Great Blue Herons that frequent the area today.

I chose this 19th century style cyanoprint series for the exhibit at TCAN because the Summer Street Gallery, itself, is from that same 19th century period.

Today and tomorrow are the closing days of my free one-woman Great Blue Heron photography 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.

141 years after the Firehouse was first constructed in 1875, TCAN installed an intimate new venue on the second floor of the historic firehouse for concerts, movies, and events, with new professional gallery space for the visual arts. 543 backers pledged $103,420 in a Kickstater campaign that helped bring this project to life.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. Many of the photos in the exhibit are being 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.

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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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 this week’s WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special: Iconic. I think there is often a very fine line between iconic and cliched. Some of the Heron photographs are iconic, without being cliched.

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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Beautiful Great Blue Herons – A Retrospective, Nbr 1

The artist’s job is to get the audience to care about your obsessions.

Martin Scorsese

Frequent visitors to this blog know that most of my photos are taken from the waters of the Charles River Watershed area. There are moments of absolute stillness and peace there on the water, and mindful moments imbued with wonder. There’s love and concern for the herons I’ve come to know over the years. Sometimes there’s a touch of humor, and other times a sense of curiosity and a wanting to learn more. Sometimes the photos I take are capital A art, other times merely nature photos from the field. Some of the stories below are personal anecdotes about encounters with Great Blue Herons, some have more scientific value than others, such as the Great Blue Heron using a twig as a tool. Some have more artistic merit than others and some are quirky and just for fun.

Crows are the master tool users of the bird world, but as this first-hand experience shows, herons are smart birds, too. In this sequence showing tool use by herons, the yearling Great Blue Heron wiggles a twig in the water to attract the fish. Click here for Who You Calling a Birdbrain?.
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The small heron turned back and forth, from alpha heron to human, weighing, weighing the greater of the dangers, the lesser of the evils: alpha heron vs woman. And then he made his move. Click here for The Lesser of Evils.
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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. Click here for Brown Bag Lunch in the Cove.
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It took them quite a while to position the branch, and there  were a few cliffhanger moments as the branch nearly escaped their beaks’ grasp and almost plummets to the island floor 70 feet below. Click here for Our Love must be Some Kind of Blind Love.
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Fearlessly, fleet of wing and nimble of foot, he practiced take offs and landings from the tip of that branch. My heart was in my throat as I watched, because it was such a long way down and he was still a beginner. And his nest mate? I imagined him thinking, “My turn, I want my turn now!” Click here for Fleet of Wing, Nimble of Foot.
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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Twisted. The Herons building their nest twisted and turned almost acrobatically as they attempted to position that exceptionally long branch into their nest.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her SYW Challenge: Share Your World May 28 2018. The Herons, themselves, obliquely answer some of Cee’s thoughtful questions for this week. And my answer to her question about my choice of vacation spot? My beloved lake. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for thei recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place in the world is on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace 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 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.
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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

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at TCAN Thru July 10 – Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 13

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

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

Great Blue Heron Preening – babsjeheron

From May 1 through July 10, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace 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.

141 years after the Firehouse was first constructed in 1875, TCAN installed an intimate new venue on the second floor of the historic firehouse for concerts, movies, and events, with new professional gallery space for the visual arts. 543 backers pledged $103,420 in a Kickstater campaign that helped bring this project to life.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. Many of the photos in the exhibit are being 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.

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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.
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 this week’s WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special: Iconic. I think there is often a very fine line between iconic and cliched. Some of the Heron photographs are iconic, without being cliched.

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Morning

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

Great Blue Heron on Bough – babsjeheron

I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach 10,000 stars how not to dance.

e.e. cummingsE.E. Cummings:
Complete Poems 1904-1962

On the first outing each spring, I am reminded that there is an art to seeing the very familiar with fresh eyes, where no two days are the same. I am reminded to not take for granted the usual wildlife and their commonplace behaviors, to not fall into the trap of my own routines.

The inaugural circumnavigation of the lake is fast approaching – though not quite fast enough for me this spring.

Will I see this Great Blue Heron once again this year?

Have I ever mentioned that no two years are the same?

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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: I’d Rather Be. I’d rather be out, camera in hand, today, but it is still too cold for kayaking. Soon. Soon I keep telling myself. Soon.

Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for the recent WPC: Favorite Place. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is.

Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special: Verdant. The green of the bough in the faint mist that morning was verdant.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Photo Challenge: Birds. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee, but I couldn’t resist. Your challenges are inspiring.
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Watch this space for news of my next one-woman photography show for the months of May and June, 2018.
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
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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

Beautiful Heron in the African Queen

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

Great blue heron soaring upwards.

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

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

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

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

Heron in African Queen circa 1950

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

(Who but yours truly will review a film and only focus on the Heron??)
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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Story. If you like old Bogart movies as much as I do, The Africa Queen spins a delightful story.

And more thanks to Cheri and WordPress for the recent Daily Prompt: Frantic. Filmed live on location, the film crew boat flushed the Heron, who burst away with frantic cries.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Photo Challenge: Wildlife. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee, but I couldn’t resist. The wildlife in The African Queen is as real as it gets. Not a frame of CGI, all shot on location in Africa. Hippos, fierce crocs, monkeys, lions, and that unexpected Heron.
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Watch this space for news of my next one-woman photography show for the months of May and June, 2018.
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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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.
.
.

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Alternate Reality — No Blizzard Here

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

Great Blue Heron Preens in Summer – babsjeheron

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 break, 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.
From About,
by Babsje

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for today’s Daily Prompt: Grasp. I am grasping at any avenue of escape from today’s blizzard

And more thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Weathered. In the past ten days, we have had three ferocious Nor’Easter storms, with winds up to 65 mph. It is around this time of year when the Great Blue Herons migrate back. I am concerned for them, that they have weathered these storms. I hope to see this Great Blue once again during my inaugural spring circumnavigation of the lake in a few weeks.

Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special: Wintry challenge. In defiance of our third fierce Nor’Easter in ten days, I present a placid, summer scene.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Photo Challenge: Birds. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee.
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Watch this space for news of my next one-woman photography show for the months of May and June, 2018.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
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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.
.
.

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

Great Blue Heron and the Salmon of Doubt (Apologies to Douglas Adams)

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

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right.
Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt

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For more than an hour, she stalked the Salmon, climbing the fish ladder slowly, intently scanning the pooled water at the base of the dam, then pausing to rest, perched there on one leg. All the while, she faced away from the torrent gushing down the ladder behind her.

I could see fish in the rushing waters and wondered if the Heron would shift her focus.

True to that Douglas Adams thought, she finally looked at the fish ladder right, and left no doubt at all about that Salmon.
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Tour Guide. Krista had asked us recently what we love about where we live. Today’s photo was taken a short walk from my home. In fact, all of the photos on my blog were taken within 5 miles from home. I love that the beautiful Great Blue Herons spend part of their lives each year within the Charles River and Sudbury River watersheds. I’m very fortunate that my studies of them don’t require expensive travel to distant locations.

And more thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Weathered. Do you notice how weathered the Heron’s toes are?

Thanks to Paula for her occasional Black and White Sunday challenge. Paula, your captive gibbon is exquisitely enigmatic, moving.

Thanks to Debbie for this week’s Travel with Intent: Fish.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Black and White Photo Challenge: Water. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee.

Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday. I do really like CosmicGirlie’s ethos about the way that words can affect the meaning of photos and her goal of no words, just a single photo. Yes, there are “words” in today’s post, which is against the “rules,” but I can’t credit the authors of the fine prompts mentioned above without using words.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
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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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sticks the Landing Nbr 2

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

Great Blue Heron Sticks the Landing Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

She’s gathered up all the time in the world
— nothing else — and waits for scanty trophies,
complete in herself as a heron.

Denise Levertov
The Great Black Heron [Excerpt]
Sands of the Well

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So, about the title of today’s post? If there were Avian Olympics, surely this Great Blue Heron would take Gold for sticking that landing… Ahem.
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There are rhythms to the lake, and the creatures there are no less creatures of habit than we humans.

The life cycle of the flora in the cove is predictable and, unless the Canada Geese and their goslings have stripped the plants, pickerel weed thrives for weeks each July through August. The vivid purple-blue flower spikes attract beautiful butterflies and bees and other insects.

And the Great Blue Herons.

Plural.

You may think the Heron in today’s photo is the same Heron shown here, but you would be mistaken.

The location in the cove is the same, but the photos were taken 10 days apart, and the Herons are different, they are are a mated pair. It is fascinating to watch the pair jockey for position on that half-submerged tree: the male lays territorial claim there, and chases the female away.

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This photo is a variation of two earlier themes of mine: Great Blue Herons with Pickerel Weed and Sticking the Landing and here, too.

Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Sweet. I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours over decades in that cove watching the Great Blues nibble on insects attracted by that sweet pickerel weed.

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Variations on a Theme.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sweetly Preens

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

Great Blue Heron Preening in the Cove – babsjeheron

… Sound in his ears more sweet than yours,
And if yours are not sweeter and wilder and better…

The Herons of Elmwood [Excerpt]
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Birds of Passage

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This photo is a variation of an earlier theme of mine: Great Blue Herons with Pickerel Weed. Click here and here if you don’t remember those photos. Which of the three do you prefer?

Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Sweet. For two days in a row, I witnessed this beautiful Great Blue Heron at the far end of the cove. He preened, and slept, and preened and slept some more, for hours both days.

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Beloved. This is one of the most beloved Herons at the lake.

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Variations on a Theme.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
.
.
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

When is a Beautiful Great Blue Heron Most Like a Golden Retriever?

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

Great Blue Heron Shaking off Water – babsjeheron

Happiness is a warm puppy Great Blue Heron.

With apologies to Charles Schultz and Peanuts

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Just like a wet dog, a Heron sheds water by doing a whole-body shake. Today’s Heron is the same one shown running on the water. When she came to a stop at the water’s edge, she launched into a full-body shake that sent her wings shimmying, feathers ruffling and water spraying in all directions.

This photo is a variation on an earlier theme of mine: When is a Great Blue Heron Most Like a Dog? In that post, you can see multiple photos showing the range of motion used to dry off.

When dogs shake off water, the movement starts at their snout, and if you grab their muzzle, supposedly they can’t complete the shake. Do you suppose grabbing a Heron’s bill would have the same effect?

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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Beloved. The love I feel for this Great Blue Heron in particular is long-standing. She is the same Heron as featured here and even here.

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Variations on a Theme.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

.
.
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.
.
.

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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