Blog Archives

Red Tail Hawks Saturday Night Bath

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

What, you were maybe expecting Great Blue Herons today?
It’s Saturday night bath time!

Rounding the corner coming out of the channel, a flash of movement to the left caught my eye. Raising binoculars, I discovered it wasn’t the Canada Goose I had expected to see. It was a Red Tailed Hawk about to launch in to the lake for a cooling bath. Thrilling. Only once before – years ago – had I seen a Hawk bathing, and here, at nearly the same spot along the shore, was another.

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks Bathing – babsjeheron

Just as I swung my camera into position, another flash of feathers. Two. There were TWO Red Tailed Hawks splashing into the lake together, bathing together while cacophonous Blue Jays and Grackles pestered from branches above.

Compare the mood of the two Red Tailed Hawks in the top photo with that in the left photo. Do you see the change, from excited animation when first landing in the water to affectionate nuzzling, as the hawks bathe together side-by-side, touching their beaks.

Hawks are very territorial, and this pair owns that piece of shoreline, although the Blue Jays who also nest in the thick stand of trees would beg to differ. The Hawks bathed in silence, seemingly oblivious to the raucous chattering from the Jays that flitted from branch to branch above them. My practice is to keep hidden from the wildlife I photograph, and if the Hawks were aware of me, they didn’t let on.

Two Red Tail Hawks Bathtime fanned tail – babsjeheron

The pair frolicked close to the shore there, dunking underneath a few times, then surfacing and shaking off the water droplets from time to time. They remained very close together the entire time, almost constantly touching. It was July, which is not traditionally mating season for Red Tails here, and son heir closeness surprised me. At one point their dance involved fanning out the beautiful red tails in display.

Red Tail Hawk Bathtime – babsjeheron

For a finale, they both ducked their heads below the surface and pointed tails skyward. They reminded me of synchronized swimmers. I have never seen wild birds so closely match their movements, as though engaged in a perfectly choreographed ballet.

Red Tail Hawk After Bathtime – babsjeheron

At the end, the male Hawk flew up into the trees and spent a long time there, preening and fluffing out and drying his feathers. The female remained in the water for a little while longer before she, too, flew off to get dry.

I paddled on back to the boathouse a very satisfied photographer. It had been an amazing day.

And do you remember back at the top of this post I had mentioned seeing another bathing Hawk in that same area of the shore? Pictured below is that young Hawk. He is an immature Red Tail who doesn’t yet have the red feathers. They turn red at around three years of age.

Young Hawk after bath – babsjeheron

Encountering the immature Hawk taking a bath happened in a way eerily similar to chancing upon the two Hawks bathing years later and only a few yards farther down the shore. My kayak rounded the corner coming out of the channel, and a burst of movement to the left caught my eye. Raising binoculars, I discovered it wasn’t a Canada Goose at all. It was a Red Tailed Hawk about splashing about in the water! I didn’t know Hawks did that and I was thrilled to see it.

Below ks a photo sequence of the young Hawk’s bath. He bathed for many minutes while I was watching from a hidden spot. It was lovely to see such an endearing young bird enjoying the water. I felt very lucky to have been present.

Hawk bathing sequence - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young Hawk bathing sequence – babsjeheron

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Not to derail my own post, for folks who have been following my attempt to find the exact age of our beautiful keyhole tunnel, I’m still getting a runaround, bouncing from historical society to historical society. However I did learn more about our gorgeous Echo Bridge, shown in this antique postcard. That is not me in the canoe.

Echo Bridge Postcard

Obligatory Great Blue Heron photograph:

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

Great blue heron foraging in the rain.

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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 of Postcards. Ana Campo from her blog Anvica’s Gallery is the host this week. I included an antique postcard of Echo Bridge today.

Thanks to Ana for her Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 159: Postcards . She has some lovely photos for this challenge at her link, check them out.
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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, Red Tail Hawk
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Herons Guest…Philosopher? (Thoreau on Walden Pond)

Walden Pond reflection - New Year's Eve.

Walden Pond reflection – babsjeheron

…nature is one and continuous everywhere.

Henry David Thoreau
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod 

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

Thoreau contemplating snow in front of his cabin at Walden Pond – babsjeheron

Walden Pond is a grounded space, a grounding place that I like to revisit around the start of each new year, and my intention one New Year’s Eve was a solitary sojourn. It was sublime that day, wandering the pond’s shoreline in solitude.

I was alone there save for Henry David Thoreau standing next to his small cabin. Someone earlier had placed a carved piece of snow in his hand, and it was amusing to see Thoreau staring at it intently, as if contemplating snow. It was a perfect, light-hearted grace note.

And did Henry David Thoreau ever conjure up a snowman to keep him company at Walden Pond when in a whimsical mood one day?

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

Snowpilgrim at Walden Pond in the waning light – babsjeheron

Perhaps, perhaps not, but someone else did.

This snowpilgrim sat perfectly still like that for hours while I wandered around. I believe she was meditating.

She had melted a little from the traditional configuration. Or maybe I’m mistaken and it never was stacked with three large balls of snow like a classical snowman at all. After all, Thoreau wasn’t much of a traditionalist. So perhaps it always was in this pose, gazing out over the waters, thinking mysterious things?

The setting sun cast wintry golden light through the trees on the far shore, reflecting the sky and horizon on the softly frozen water. I had Walden Pond all to myself then – except for that sculpted snowperson watching over the shore and Henry David Thoreau contemplating snow.
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What about the Great Blue Herons you usually see in my blog? Where would Thoreau stand on Herons? I’ll let Ralph Waldo Emerson respond:

“…Our naturalist had perfect magnanimity; he had no secrets; he would carry you to the heron’s haunt, or even to his most prized botanical swamp, — possibly knowing that you could never find it again, yet willing to take his risks. ”

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

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Obligatory Great Blue Heron photograph:

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

Young Great Blue Heron in Molt – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC Challenge: July. I chose tan as the topic from her photo. Thoreau’s cabin had tan siding.
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Thanks to Nancy Merrill for her A Photo a Week Challenge: Reflection. Two images in my post show reflections on Walden Pond.
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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. There are a couple of different ways to get to Walden Pond. my favorite is the back road way.

Thanks to Beth for her Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 158: Along Back Country Roads . There are a couple of different ways to get to Walden Pond. my favorite is the back road way. To learn more about the Walden Pond Visitor Center CLICK HERE.
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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, Walden, Thoreau
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 .
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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 .

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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, 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 .

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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

Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Flower???

Magnolia

“I have always trusted pink,” Audrey Hepburn

From Blossoms

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

~ Li-Young Lee ~
From Blossoms (excerpt)
Rose (New Poets of America)

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You were expecting maybe a Heron today?
Just something a little different for Cee’s FOTD and (Not entirely) WordlessWednesday.
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© 2004-2021 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Magnolia in B&W

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

James Wright
A Blessing (excerpt)
The Branch Will Not Break

Magnolias

Magnolias

They say that scent has more power to elicit past memories and emotions than any of our other senses. The scent of magnolia blossoms transports me back just as surely as a photograph would, and I am enraptured all over again.
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Yes, I know they’re not herons. Here’s an obligatory Heron photo …
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron in small pond with flowering grasses – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her FOTD Flower of the Day Challenge.
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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, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

We Now Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Great Blue Heron Programming

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

Mute swan cygnets nestled between mother’s wings.
Please click here for the Swan Photo Gallery

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

 Martin Scorsese

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

The photographer is busted!! Wonder what he’s thinking as he discovers the camera.

People who know me know that my motto is “Walk softly and carry a long lens.™” Because most of the photos on this blog were taken on the water, it is especially important to give the wildlife an extra-wide margin of personal space so as to not endanger them in any way by venturing too close. As much as I take special precautions to remain hidden from their view, including use of telephoto lenses and natural-cover hides, every once in a while the wildlife sees me. And every once in a while when that happens, the result is humorous, like the cygnet in the above photo, staring straight at my camera. The other photos from that day’s series show the mother swan serenely ferrying her brood about the lake, but this one has that extra-extra something.
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Wait for Meeee!! Mute swan cygnet tries to fly.

Most birds nest in trees, and when it comes time to kick the babies out of the nest, gravity plays a big role in the fledgling efforts to fly. Not so for birds like swans that nest on the ground. Fledgling swans must propel themselves UP, not DOWN like tree nesters. Maybe the cygnet at far right in the above photo is saying “Wait for me!” as the conga line of swans moves forward. Or just maybe he is trying out his little wing muscles and learning to fly.
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And since this is a Great Blue Heron space after all an obligatory Heron photo …

Chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih… changes.

It’s not just a David Bowie song.

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

Great Blue Heron and Four Chicks in Nest

It is music to my ears, the sounds of Great Blue Heron chicks in the nest: chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih… chih-chih-chih…
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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from Patti, with Tina, Amy, and Leya, focuses on things from Large to Small. The photos in today’s post showcase the size differences between adult birds and their chicks. The mute swan cygnets are dwarfed by the parents and ride on the parent’s back until they are strong enough to paddle about on their own. The great blue heron chicks femain in the nest totally depending on food from their parents until they have developed wing feathers and strength that allow fledging.

Check out the Lens Artists’ Large to Small photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 151: From Large to Small .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 151: From Large to Small .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 151: From Large to Small .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .

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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, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron and Friends’ Saturday Night Baths

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

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – babsjeheron

Rubber Duckie you’re the one,
You make bathtime lots of fun,
Rubber Duckie I’m awfully fond of you
Vo-vo-dee-o!

Jeff Moss
The Sesame Street Songbook

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron continues bathing after turning around.

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Great blue heron bathing.

Great blue heron bathing.

Great Blue Heron feathers fray and yet still retain their beauty. Frayed chest feathers are combed with a specially adapted claw, and a whitish powder down dusting protects the heron from oils and surface scum from the water. After a Great Blue Heron takes a birdbath, a filmy white coating of powder down often remains behind floating on the water. A heron taking a bath is an amusing sight to behold.

Paddling around the bend at the far end of the middle pond, I caught a glimpse of a great blue heron lurking at the eastern end of the cove. Through the binoculars it looked like the heron was in a territorial display, erect back feathers gleaming in the bright sun. My pulse quickened. It’s always exciting to capture a territorial encounter between two herons with a camera.

The glare on the water made it difficult to be certain where the other bird was, and I needed to keep a good distance to not disturb their interaction. I was assuming that the territorial stance was directed at another bird, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any other herons nearby. I followed the heron’s gaze, looking for any antagonist in his line of sight, to no avail.

Confused about the heron’s behavior, I decided to just bide my time, and settled the kayak along the opposite shore, downwind and hidden from view.

A few minutes passed, with the heron still in a territorial pose.

A few more minutes, and suddenly the heron immersed itself fully under the water. Then that stiletto beak broke the surface, and the heron splashed up a froth of water.

The heron was taking a bath!

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

In nearly a decade of watching herons, this was only the second time I’d ever seen one bathing. I sat there mouth agape, watching and taking photographs as quickly as possible.

Great blue heron taking a bath.

Great blue heron continues bathing after turning around.

I stayed there sharing bath time with the heron until an interloper in an inflatable boat flushed the heron off, but even that couldn’t wipe the silly smile from my face.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Great blue heron on bath day.

Herons aren’t necessarily known for being playful when they’re alone, but perhaps bath time is a playful exception. That’s my story theory, and I’m sticking to it.
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.Bonus Bird:

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

Rubber Ducky at the Lake – babsjeheron

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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from Tina, with Patti, Amy, and Leya, focuses on on the.colors blue and green. Did you know that although Ardea herodias is known as the Great Blue Heron, it’s feathers are not actually blue at all? Have a look at the masthead art at the top of this page of my blog. That is a photo I took of an aigrette feather from a great blue heron. There is nothing blue about it. The secret that makes feathers appear blue to the human eye is the result of refraction. It is the play of light on the structure of the feather that allows our eyes to perceive blue.

Check out the Lens Artists’ Blue and Green photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .

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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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron at an Exhibition (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 19)

Great blue heron in the cove, foraging.

Great Blue Heron foraging amongst water lilies in the cove – babsjeheron.

Plop – bird poo splatted on my shoulder!”

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My first paying photography gig was hanging a Diane Arbus exhibit, for minimum wage. I was at university taking a course in graphic design then, and I was thrilled by the exposure to her work first-hand. The job was a nail-biter though and my boss Leo sternly exhorted us “Whatever you do, don’t cut yourself!” All of the photographs were originals, not reproductions. They were mounted in floating glass frames, the kind with only glass, no wood or metal around the borders. The glass edges were not beveled and were extremely sharp – there was a high risk of getting cut and bleeding on the art that could have ruined her work. It was intense but so rewarding, and no blood was shed that show.
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Fast forward to a few years ago. The photo in this post was one of the cornerstone pieces in a one-woman show I had. As you can see, there’s no evidence of Arbus’ influence in that photo.

Although…

The day of my artist reception, I spent some time sitting outside on a bench before going inside to meet & greet gallery visitors. I sat there under the trees, composing myself and enjoying the dappled sunlight when i felt it.

Plop!

A present from an overhead bird landed on my shoulder, anointing me with sacred bird poo, an ironic baptism for a bird photographer.

I think Arbus would have appreciated the irony.

(There are those who consider getting pooped on by a bird to be good luck…)
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Fast forward again a few more years…

The southwest staircase wall was empty – a blank white space stared at me starkly from the landing between floors. The framed great blue heron was gone!
Shades of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist

Someone had been in the house, but who?

Time for Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to get on the case of the purloined photo.

Had a burglar made off with the heron?

Was anything else missing?

Was he still in the house?

Was it safe for me to be there alone?

My sensitive radar for danger didn’t kick in this one time – I didn’t “sense” anyone lurking about in the broad daylight. The 19th century wood floors gave no telltale creaks of footfalls, and, most significantly, the dog snored loudly on his cushion.

I roused the dog and gingerly we checked all the rooms, upstairs and downstairs – looking behind doors, peering into closets and even behind the shower curtain.

Whomever it was, was gone.

A relief.

And a mystery: nothing else seemed to have been disturbed, nothing else missing. Just that one great blue heron photo.

It is a good photograph – one of my favorite painterly photos, one I’m proud of, and definitely “art.”

But definitely not great art.

Yet it was missing,

Had someone thought it valuable enough to steal?

How much self-flattery would it take for me to believe that someone entered my home and stole a photograph, yet left behind anything else of value? A lot. I would really have to be flattering myself a lot to believe that.

And yet the great blue heron was missing, and remained missing.

Until…

Until I opened the built-in pantry cupboard two days later, and found the missing photograph. The glass had been partly shattered and the frame dinged a bit, but the print, itself, was undamaged.

A relief.

And another mystery: who hid the heron photograph in my pantry, and why?

The mystery became amusing, and I had a bit of fun imagining scenarios once I realized that the heron hadn’t been purloined.

My landlord’s son solved the mystery a few days later: he had accidentally bumped into the framed print on the staircase wall while taking something up to the attic. The painting fell and he hid it in the pantry. His plan was to get a new pane of glass and replace the photo before I noticed it missing. What a sweet, thoughtful young man.

And what fun entertaining the thought – if only for the fleetingest of moments – that someone might have liked this photo enough to take it for themselves.

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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from Tina, with Patti, Amy, and Leya, focuses on on the.colors blue and green. Did you know that although Ardea herodias is known as the Great Blue Heron, it’s feathers are not actually blue at all? Have a look at the masthead art at the top of this page of my blog. That is a photo I took of an aigrette feather from a great blue heron. There is nothing blue about it. The secret that makes feathers appear blue to the human eye is the result of refraction. It is the play of light on the structure of the feather that allows our eyes to perceive blue.

Check out the Lens Artists’ Blue and Green photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 149: Cool Colors – Blue and Green .

.
.
,
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 Herons’ Nest Construction Dance (Memory Lane Nbr 2)

The herons engage each other during a break in nest building.

Great Blue Herons engage each other during a break in nest building.

Can you almost hear someone singing that old chestnut, “I only have eyes for you, dear?”

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The above sequence of frames taken during a break in nest building that day in May shows the obvious connection between the mated pair of Great Blue Herons.

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Landing at Nest with Branch for Nest Building – babsjeheron

On one of his stick-gathering forays, the young male great blue heron retrieved a branch that was longer then his wingspan and carried it across the channel back to the island where his mate waited patiently.

It was a very macho thing to do – he was clearly out to impress her, and show what a good provider he could be. (Forgive me for anthropomorphizing.)

Once back at the nest, it took a very long time for him to maneuver the branch into a good position for her to grasp it, and the two herons both held the branch in their beaks at the same time, twisting and turning it around and then upside down. At one point, they both held it nearly vertical and their struggle with the branch brought to mind that iconic photo of the troops raising the flag at Iwo-Jima.

Positioning the huge stick upright and then it starts to fall...

Positioning the huge stick upright and then it starts to fall…

I could see all of that through the binocs, but it was too far to make out the finer details of their construction dance.

After downloading the photos at night, I could see more clearly their teamwork in trying to negotiate such a large branch into position and weave it into the nest.

Incredibly, at one point, while the female is holding the larger end of the branch horizontally in her beak, the male has managed to maneuver himself underneath the rest of the branch. And then he tucked into position so that the branch straddled his shoulder area, bearing all the weight with his upper back while his mate got a better purchase on it, just like a human construction worker will balance a beam on his shoulders or back. You can see this in the next sequence of frames here.

The new stick is so large the female props it on the male's back for an assist.

The new stick is so large the female props it on the male’s back for an assist.

Amazing!

It took them quite a while to position the branch just so in the nest, 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.

Recovering from almost dropping the ginormous stick while nest building.

Recovering from almost dropping the huge stick while nest building.

When the branch was secured into position, it was the female’s turn to fly off in search of the next  stick for the nest. Unlike her macho mate, five minutes later she returned to the nest with a dainty, foot-long twig. I think they were both in the mood for an easier time of it, consruction-wise.

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Birds. The twilight sky bathed the ducks and heron in an ever-deepening purplish hue, and the color of the kayak takes on a purple tone in some conditions.

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The very creative Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on Spots and Dots this week. Because it’s a beautiful day in May, I’m feeling nostalgic for one of my favorite spots, the nesting island. I hope I’m forgiven for a less-literal interpretation of spots! Check out the Lens Artists here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .

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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.
.

.
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.
.

.
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.
.

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 Gets the Point (Memory Lane Nbr 1)

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

Solar Twinkle Spots and My Kayak – 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

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My goal that December was to spend New Year’s Eve out on the lake in my kayak. Mother Nature had other ideas, and the lake was frozen over on December 31st. This was the last kayak photo that year. The sparkling spots were from sunlight glinting on the slushy ice.
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Changing the subject for a moment, I am recovering from some foot and eye injuries that mean I won’t be in my kayak any time soon. I long to be out with my Heron friends and that poem is a source of optimism. Please humor me as I’ve combined three photo challenges here. Reading and writing are a challenge these days.
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Changing the subject once again, fall migration can be very exciting in the cove, and no two years are alike. The scene below shows my favorite spot on the water, as my favorite Great Blue Heron was literally overrun by ducks who had been practicing their take offs and landings ahead of migrating. By the following evening, they were all gone, off to their winter grounds.
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The first wave of incoming ducks approaches the great blue heron.

For twelve minutes the ducks arrived non-stop…

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Even more incoming ducks approaching the great blue heron as twilight deepens.

…in wave after wave overtaking the Heron as purple twilight deepened – babsjeheron.

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And just for the lighter side, I saved the best for last:

Great blue heron in molt preening.

Great blue heron in molt preening – babsjeheron.
(Here’s the carrot…but where’s the stick?)

i took many photos of the above Great Blue Heron preening, and his bill poked through on only one single frame. It was a blink and you would have missed it moment. In fact, I did miss it entirely there in the cove real-time. Only did I see it when flipping through the downloaded photos. I like those sorts of surprises!

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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC Color Purple. The twilight sky bathed the ducks and heron in an ever-deepening purplish hue, and the color of the kayak takes on a purple tone in some conditions.

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Debbie’s One Word Sunday’s prompt asks for posts with a Point . Do you like the humorous carrot-like point of the heron’s bill as it penetrates his wing feathers while preening? The kayak bow is also a pointy thing.

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The inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on Spots and Dots this week, with some very unique photos on their sites. Check them out:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 148: Spots and Dots .

.
.
,

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.
.

.
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.
.

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

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