Her fishing technique that day was unlike anything I’d witnessed before: she poked and prodded the muck along the south end of the cove for at least half an hour. Her trophy? This huge plastic bag. At one time, it contained something large, larger than a king-sized pillow to be sure.
The young male had been intently watching the female from yards away down the cove while she was trying to pull the bag free, and he rapidly made a beeline towards that patch of shoreline. He had tried so valiantly that autumn to seduce the older female heron. Was this his chance?
I’m not sure if he was more interested in pursuing her as a mate or in wresting the huge plastic bag from her.
Whichever was his intention, she was having none of it. She pivoted on her heels and flew westward out of the cove with the bag trailing from her beak, leaving the young male behind.
Still in a courtship posture, the young male looks on dejectedly after the female fled the cove.
I wish I could say that the female was carrying the bag voluntarily, but I cannot: the plastic was hooked securely on her lower bill.
I quickly paddled out of the cove, hoping to follow her and ensure that she freed herself from the bag. Under the shade of tall pines, she shook and shook her head from side-to-side the way a dog shakes a rag.
To no avail.
More than three weeks later, I found the plastic trash bag floating and retrieved it. Here it is on the ground next to my boat for scale. The boat is 15 feet long. As you can see, that plastic bag was nearly half the length of the boat.
And what of the two Great Blue Herons?
They both survived migration that year and returned in the spring and successfully nested.
I like happy endings.
From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs are once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.
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.
Thanks to Cee for her On the Hunt for Joy Challenge. I jumped for joy when I saw proof the female had broken free of the plastic bag stuck on her bill.
Debbie’s One Word Sunday’s prompt asks for posts about Plastics . Plastic bag pollution is insidious and Debbie’s post has an important message.
Once more, thanks and kudos to the inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – for their continuing devotion to elevating and celebrating photography.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 81: Find Something Red.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 81: Seeing Red.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 81: Find Something Red.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 81: Find Something Red.
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?
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™
© 2020 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Wayland
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