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Great Blue Heron and Photographer Don’t Let Their Broken Legs Get Them Down (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 18)

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake. © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron

As they say in show business, break a leg…

Look closely at the Great Blue Heron’s left leg. Do you see the extra bend between knee and ankle that’s not supposed to be there?

The origin of the expression “break a leg” is in dispute. It may harken back to the ancient Greeks or to 19th or 20th century performances. Whichever it may be, both this Great Blue Heron and I took the expression far too literally.

For the Heron, it was the tibia that broke. In my case, the fibula and calcaneus, aka heel bone. Heading into month seven on crutches wearing an orthopedic walking boot, I am grateful for expert medical care, yet long to be back on two feet and able to fit my foot into a kayak and get back out with the Herons.

That Heron graced the lake for years afterward without benefit of any medical care.

A fledgling great blue in South Carolina, however, underwent successful surgery for a leg fracture. Dr. Biascoechea at the vet clinic inserted pins in the Heron’s leg. The photos there are heartwarming. I love happy Heron stories.
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The always-inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on the “details” this week. Only by focusing on the Heron’s left leg after downloading this photo did I notice the broken leg. I didn’t see it at all when photographing out in the field.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focusing on the Details .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focus on the Details .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 146: Focusing on the Details .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
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Last week, the Lens Artists’ theme was “Getting to Know You.” My blog series titled “Quirky Artist Stories” offer some glimpses behind the viewfinder. (But as I always say, its always about the Great Blue Herons, not about me.)

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 145: Getting to Know You .

And thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.
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From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

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

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.
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During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.
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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 Love on Earth Day

© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Soaring Upwards – babsjeheron

There wading through grasses,
the birds lean skyward…

When the Green Shoots Come

We went out to watch
the comet that night

across the road,
where the break in the trees
opened to heaven.

The nights were warmer by then,
that April night,

and climbing the short fence
between roadway and nature,

you stumbled into grasses
left flattened by snow.

I broke your fall.

And do you remember
how i spun you to the East?

At my feet, the heron’s neck
bent at the wrong angle,

and the nylon filament
wrapped feathers and bone, flightless.

I never told you.

For five seasons now,
I’ve watched the marshes…
the geese, the swans, the coots…

One blue heron…

Wondering if they mate for life
like coyote? quail…loons…

For five seasons since…

Today i am enthralled
when the green shoots come

to the surface of the field
like an ocean of spring.

There wading through grasses,
the birds lean skyward

and, gathering momentum, rise up
to soar.

Both of them.

The herons.

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14 April, 2003
joyce

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Like music to a Heron lover’s ears, the always-inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on Taking Flight this week.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 144: Taking Flight .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 144: Taking Flight.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 144: Taking Flight .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 144: Taking Flight .

And thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.
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From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick.

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

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

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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 Herons’ Whimsical Holiday Retrospective

© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

2017 Holiday Heron – babsjeheron

A warm comment from a reader once exhorted “Keep having loads of fun!”

In that spirit, putting the year 2020 to bed by sharing a few readers’ endearing replies to the five-year-long series of Great Blue Heron holiday cards shown here.

Wishing you peace, health, happiness, joy, and fun in 2021.

Happy New Year!
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© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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This light-hearted comment from a reader brought big smiles:

Now I want a Christmas hat for my GBH. I’m sure that mine wouldn’t let me get close enough to put it on though. You must be a heron whisperer.

Click here for 2019
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© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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This whimsical comment from a reader brought on giggles:

Wow, I’ve never seen a heron in a santa cap….You are so lucky that he posed for you. ; )

Click here for 2016
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© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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This creative comment from a reader made my day:

And I used to think that the breeding plumage was the best. Never knew about the wonderful holiday plumage


Click here for 2020
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© 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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More than a few readers posted fun comments for the 2018 version:

“Your Christmas Heron is a hoot…oh wait…that an owl…its a Kraak not a hoot??? LOL!”
“How did you get that hat on your bird?”
“I’m sure your heron enjoyed having his (her?) ears warmed.”
“He looks wonderful with his hat”
“Your heron looks fetching in his Santa hat!”
“Keep having loads of fun!”

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Click here for 2018
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For their final challenge of 2020, the always-inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – focus on the holiday season.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 128: Here Comes the Holiday Season .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 128: Here Comes the Holiday Season.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 128: Here Comes the Holiday Season .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 128: Here Comes the Holiday Season .

And thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.
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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™

© 2020 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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

Beautiful Great Blue Herons – A Retrospective, Nbr 3

People who know me know my motto:

“Walk softly and carry a long lens™”

Babsje

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

Great Blue Heron Yearling Number 2 – babsjeheron

I learned long ago to open myself, and my eyes and camera, to whatever experiences and sights the waters bring forth at any moment. My emotions have run the gamut from excitement, to apprehension, to alarm, to amazement, to curiosity, to anxiety, to happiness, and (thankfully very rarely) to sadness. Close readers of this blog are aware of the protectiveness I feel towards the Great Blue Herons. The stories in this retrospective post all have happy endings. I like happy endings.

Once again, many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made it possible to share the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years.

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling

Close to the island, I found no crumpled birds littering the island floor, no sodden nestlings floating in the waters nearby.

Click here for Freshly Fledged
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Hot Time at the Boathouse

And what the taxi driver told me next made the hair stand up on the back of my neck… That day, he came across a great blue heron caught in fishing line on one of the pine logs. The line was caught in the heron’s wing and foot, and the heron was struggling but obviously very weakened by the time he got there.

Click here for The Taxi Driver’s Tale
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fishing with A Feather

Doesn’t this Great Blue Heron holding a seagull feather bring to mind a friendly dog playfully carrying his favorite toy back to you? At the time, I wanted to say to her, “Who’s a good girl? You are! You are a good girl!” because the way she pranced the length of the submerged log seemed so playful – at first. And then I realized it was another case of tool use by Herons.

Click here for Who’s a good Great Blue Heron?
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Yearling

There was reason to be concerned for the newly-fledged herons. Would they survive the migration south, the winter, and the migration back? If so, would they remember this lake where they were born and make it their home once again?

Click here for Full Circle: Freshly Fledged
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Meditation

I heard them – boisterous and happy – before I felt their wake, and I felt their wake before I saw them, and when I saw them the first thing I saw was the captain’s over-size gang hat. And the second thing I saw was their telegraphed trajectory – heading straight for the small nesting island. There was no doubt about that, and no doubt that they would make landfall, and no doubt that the adult male would flee the nest and abandon the chicks.

Click here for Pequeño: Stranger in a Strange Land
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for last week’s final WPC: All Time Favorites. Many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made sharing the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years possible.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her COB Photo Challenge: June 10 2018. Look closely at the set of five photos in this post. Do you see one that is not like the others? (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks to Paula and WordPress for her Thursday’S Special: Pick A Word In June. The Fledgling Great Blue Heron is a ‘nascent’ GBH, freshly out of the nest.

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for the 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 – A Retrospective, Nbr 2

There are ways of seeing and there are ways of seeing. The way of the photographer need not be only the way of gadgetry and technology and calculations. The way of mindful seeing can open the lens as wide as one’s imagination.

Babsje

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

Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

As a nature photographer, spending time on the water with the Great Blue Herons is a meditation in and of itself. Capturing a photo that conveys the experience in the moment is a pleasing bonus. And then being able to share my love for these magnificent birds with others via blog posts or at galleries where I show is the icing on the cake.

I think that is a universal for artists – there is the joy of creating , and then the act of releasing the art into the world, followed by watching as a fly on the wall as others respond to the art – whether music or painting or writings – whatever the medium.

Many thanks to the creative team at WordPress who have made sharing the Great Blue Herons here over the past 5 years possible.

How long she was under, I cannot say, I lost track of time, but when she resurfaced, her prize catch struggled mightily, the curve of its back straining left then right, scales and fins glistening. It was an epic fight. And when she struggled to shore under the weight of her prey, I’m not sure whose eyes held more surprise — mine, hers, or the one that didn’t get away.

Click here for The One that Didn’t Get Away
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The day of my artist reception at Mass Audubon, 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 suddenly I felt it. Plop!

Click here for Pictures at an Exhibition.
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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.

Click here for It’s a Pterodactyl!.
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She flew low and slow, the water’s surface mere inches below her wing tips. I watched wordlessly from the eastern shore, taking in her grace and economy of movement. An engineer friend once explained to me that birds fly so close to the water because it gives them maximum air resistance for those huge wings.

Click here for Wordlessly Watching .
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Are there any artists who don’t fall in love with their models, their muses?

Click here for Artists and Models.
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for this week’s final WPC: All Time Favorites. Joining the chorus of folks who will miss the weekly and daily prompts, and the creative team at WordPress who have made them possible for all those years. Thanks for your enthusiasm and encouragement everyone.

Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her COB Photo Challenge: May 27 2018. Look closely at the photo of the Great Blue Heron winging her way across the water. Do you see anything odd about her left leg? That extra ‘bend’ shows a broken leg. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks to Paula and WordPress for her Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. The B&W photo of the Great Blue Heron with “It’s a Pterodactyl” would be much less evocative of the prehistoric era if presented color. (Linking to an earlier challenge from Paula, who runs the very good “Thursday’s Special.”)

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for the 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 – 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

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