Blog Archives

Beautiful Heron on the Charles River

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron poised in the Charles River – babsjeheron

The Charles River is a land of contrasts.

Babsje

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River - babsjeheron  © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron shown at the top of this post stands in a small cove just around the corner on the Charles River from a property teeming with whimsical statuary.

There’s an Alligator crouching on the shore.

An Iguana perches on an overhanging branch.

A giant Galapagos Tortoise lumbers ploddingly ahead.

A family of three White Tail Deer munch noiselessly on tender greens.

Bear Along the Charles River in Autumn - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bear Along the Charles River in Autumn – babsjeheron

An inquisitive Black Bear rears up on hind legs with her cub underfoot.

The whimsical menagerie greets boaters on a point jutting into the Charles River in Newton, Massachusetts.

And no, the Great Blue Heron shown in the top photo isn’t one of the fanciful life-like statues – it’s the real deal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they added a Heron statue to the menagerie.

A large Bison stands guard next to a copper tub at the point of land.

The sign saying WATER ENJOY” is a welcome sight for thirsty kayakers and canoeists on hot summer days: the owners fill the copper tub with water bottles.

Charles River tableau as seen from a kayak - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Charles River tableau as seen from a kayak – babsjeheron

View Through a Tunnel on the Charles River in Autumn - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

View Through a Tunnel on the Charles River in Autumn – babsjeheron

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “Interesting Architecture.” One of the libraries has very interesting architecture. In 1873, the Morse Institute Library was dedicated in a Gothic-style red brick building, made possible by the bequest of Mary Ann Morse.

Morse Institute Library Exterior - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Exterior – babsjeheron

By the 1980s the town’s needs had outgrown the existing building and groundbreaking on a new library building took place in 1995. The new library opened in 1997 and kept the 1873 red brick building as the southwest cornerstone of the new library. The above photo shows the original red brick library at left and abutting it at right you can see a short flight of steps leading to entrance doors.

From the inside, you can see the full brick shell of the 1873 building, along with the beautiful stained glass windows.

Notice the large windows at the center of the second floor in the above exterior photo. The photo below shows those same windows when viewed from inside the second floor of the library.

Morse Institute Library Interior Stained Glass Windows - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Stained Glass Windows – babsjeheron

Similarly, here is the second floor interior view of the Henri Prunaret History Room. As you can see, the windows and brick and stone work are the same as shown on the exterior photo.

Morse Institute Library Interior Henri Prunaret History Room - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Henri Prunaret History Room – babsjeheron

The new library meets the old library using this walkway from the Reference Desk area into the History Room:

Morse Institute Library Interior Walkway to Henri Prunaret History Room - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Walkway to Henri Prunaret History Room – babsjeheron

Morse Institute Library Interior Corner with Mansard Roof and Struts - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior Corner – babsjeheron

The integration of the new building with the original building preserved the 1873 walls, windows, rooms and roof in an ingenious way.

This photo taken from inside the top floor of the new library shows one top corner of the original brick building and the actual mansard roof, with struts securing the old building to the new.

Morse Institute Library Interior View Looking Upwards Towards Sky - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Morse Institute Library Interior View – babsjeheron

Looking up from the lower level of the new library, you can see the original 1873 wall’s brick and stone facade with joining struts at top.

You can learn more about the history of this interesting library CLICK HERE.
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Thanks to Cee for her CMMC: The Color Blue. Great Blue Herons appear to be blue but the blue color is an illusion created by refraction.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: They Are Coming to Get You. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . Autumn leaves are present in several photos today.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture.
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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

Natick Artists Sidewalk Chalk

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Please join Natick Artists TODAY on November 13 on Zoom from 2-5 pm ET for a Virtual Exhibition & Sale. The Natick Artists deferred their scheduled Open Studios until Spring 2022 due to COVID, but didn’t want to wait to see you again. They’re all looking forward to sharing artwork with you in this safe virtual environment. Zoom link: November 13 2-5pm ET
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85739018397?pwd=MDlGbXpPMitTZklERE1oR1ozMmRmZz09

You can learn more about the November 13, 2021, Natick Artists Virtual Exhibition CLICK HERE.

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days

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

Great Blue Heron in Warmer Days – babsjeheron

And when I’ve reached the end of my days, may I be found with a Great Blue Heron nest built within my ribcage.
With apologies to Robert Macfarlane
The Old Ways

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

Great Blue Heron has caught a small Pickerel after stalking it like a cat – babsjeheron.

(Frequent visitors to my blog know that some posts are Art-with-a-capital-A, some are more scientific, and some are my personal photojournalist observations from the field. This post is not capital-A-Art, although the Great Blue Herons, themselves, are decidedly works of art in and of themselves as far as I am concerned.)

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

Great Blue Heron about to strike – babsjeheron.

Have you ever watched a cat stalking something? You might have noticed the cat “triangulating” on the prey if the prey is still. Because cats can’t see motionless critters well (or perhaps at all), the cat will move in order to pinpoint the precise location where it needs to pounce.

And just before the cat pounces, you may notice that often the cat hunkers down, raising its butt while lowering its head, then shifting its weight on rear paws from side to side.

Great Blue Herons sometimes do that same maneuver before striking. As you can see in the animation here, the Heron’s head is very nearly motionless, while its neck and body sway from side to side as it fixes on the location of the Pickerel it is stalking. The Heron then lowered its head, raised its tail, and struck with lightning speed.

It was a lucky strike because, as the photo shows, the Heron just barely caught the Pickerel – the fish was easily a foot long, but the Heron only was able to grasp the end of the Pickerel’s snout. The Heron easily swallowed the Pickerel in one gulp. Happy Great Blue Heron!

I can remember the first time I observed a Heron stalking a fish using that cat-like sequence as though it was only yesterday. Watching through the binoculars, I saw the Heron sway from side to side, raise its butt, lower its head and then strike below the surface, and I broke into a big smile when I realized it was hunting just like my cat. Who knew?!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “Interesting Architecture.” While photographing Herons in Boston one day, I captured the Museum of Science. From the vantage point of my kayak, the building looks very interesting, as though it has airplane propellers on the roof and the pilot is just waiting to hear the control tower declare “Museum, you are cleared for take off.”

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Museum of Science, you are cleared for takeoff – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 173: Interesting Architecture .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Uses Tools, Picks up Litter, What a Day

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron

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Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron

When last we saw the smart Great Blue Heron using a tool, it was the Gull feather you see here and above.
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A short eight minutes after she abandoned the Gull feather as a fishing lure, she decided to try out a different form of bait…
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She marched a bit further down the half-submerged pine and plucked a twig from the tangle of sticks along the log.
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Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr1 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr1 – babsjeheron

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She wiggled the slender twig around beneath the surface of the water…
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And around again….

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Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr2 – babsjeheron

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Probing with her twig to stir any fishes below…
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…Her movements were subtle…
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Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr3 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr3 – babsjeheron

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…Almost mimicking the way a Heron stands in stillness and gently prods the water with a foot…
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Transfixed, I watched her repeat this for more than ten minutes.
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Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr4 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Using Stick as Tool Nbr4 – babsjeheron

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This was not the first time I had witnessed a Great Blue Heron using a tool.
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You can read the story of another Great Blue Heron fishing with a stick CLICK HERE.
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Great Blue Heron Finished Using Stick as Tool - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Finished Using Stick as Tool – babsjeheron

You can read the story of this same Great Blue Heron fishing with a feather CLICK HERE.
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That day, I took more than 925 photographs at the lake.
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That day began in the long slender cove, where this same Great Blue Heron was plying the shore.
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron holding a huge plastic bag she pulled from the muck along the shore – babsjeheron

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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.
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Her trophy? This huge plastic bag. At one time, it contained something large, larger than a king-sized pillow to be sure.
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Young Great Blue Heron male on amorous approach - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young Great Blue Heron male on amorous approach – babsjeheron

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On this day the young male Heron had been intently watching the female from yards away down the cove, while the female poked the mud with her long beak, tugging persistently at something.
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Great Blue Herons with Litter - babsjeheron © 2017 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Herons with Litter – babsjeheron

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Just as the young male made his move, strutting up the cove towards the female in his courtship posture, her beak lurched free from the mud, with a huge plastic bag stuck on her lower bill.
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Great Blue Carrying Huge Plastic Bag - babsjeheron © 2017 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Carrying Huge Plastic Bag – babsjeheron

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I’m not sure if he was more interested in pursuing her as a mate or in wresting the huge plastic bag from her.
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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.

Young Great Blue Heron male looks on dejectedly after the female fled - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Young Great Blue Heron male looks on dejectedly after the female fled – babsjeheron

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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.

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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.
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Great Blue Heron's Trash Bag - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron’s Trash Bag – babsjeheron

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 old kayak for scale. The boat is 15 feet long. As you can see, that plastic bag was nearly half the length of the boat.

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This post is prompted by Cee, Jez, Becky, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Amy is “A Day of My Week.” All three of the little stories in my post today took place on the same day, with the same Great Blue Heron. On that July 25, I took more than 925 Heron photos from my kayak on the lake.

  • The day started with the female Heron pulling a ginormous plastic bag from the mud near the shore and her encounter with the amorous young male.
  • As if that wasn’t exciting enough to watch, the female Great Blue then picked up a Gull’s feather and used it as a fishing lure – it was amazing to see a bird use the feather of another bird as a tool.
  • And then, the same Heron picked up a slender twig and used that in her attempts to lure fishes to the surface.

I would have been thrilled to experience any one of the three incidents I witnessed that day – but to experience all three of them in a single day? Mindboggling.

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Quite a bit of water today.
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Thanks to Becky for her Past Squares challenge. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about Becky’s Squares challenge, and haven’t joined the fun before…So I have no ‘past’ squares to contribute but I hope the squares in today’s post are enough for starters.

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 172: A Day of My Week .
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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Flightless Goose?

One-legged Canada Goose - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Canada Goose – babsjeheron

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When the birds
come to breakfast
some have lost
legs or feet
to the world,
and I give those more,
their lives
being difficult enough,
but I never
see the ones who have
lost wings.

470 Fidelity Agape (excerpt)

William Mealer
Alethea At Aphelion

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Five kayak outings in a row, the young Canada Goose followed along as I plied the shores of the lake. He hadn’t joined the other gaggles of Geese as they readied for migration south, and remained behind after their departure. Instead, he could be found in the company of the Ducks in various coves or near the Gulls congregating along the boat launch.

As the weeks drew on, several waves of Geese migrating from farther north would briefly stop over at the lake – a way station on their route south – and the young Goose would join along the fringe of the newcomers, but I noticed he always remained behind when they, too, headed south.

It was then, as autumn gave way to winter, and most of the Ducks had migrated, that one day I noticed the young Goose seemed to be following me about the lake.

One day, I came across the Goose near one of tunnels where the Great Blue Herons perch, pulling up greens from along the shore. By then, much of the vegetation had dried to straw, but that patch was still a vibrant green, and most days I would sight the Goose there on my way to the north. And most days from then on, he would follow along behind the blue kayak, from middle lake into north lake, and back, then east into the shallow cove favored by the Herons.

The weather here on Christmas that year was unexpectedly warm for Massachusetts in December, near 60 degrees, and my gift to myself was an hour in the kayak, tucked deep in the slender cove, drinking hot coffee and eating a friend’s home-made cookies. Any my companion there? The young Goose – delightful company.

The day after was again warm, and so once again I headed out on the water. Once again, the young Goose was near that patch of greens. Once again, he followed me, at times paddling behind Blue Boat, at others circling around alongside to port or starboard, at others pulling out ahead of my bow.

He seemed healthy enough, despite being an unusually solitary Goose. His chest was plump, feathers abundant and glossy, eyes clear, tongue pink. The only thing amiss seemed to be a shallow, silver-dollar-sized wound at the back of his head where it joins the neck, but the short feathers there looked like they were growing back in just fine.

So why hadn’t he migrated with the others? I assumed he couldn’t fly, although I had seen him stretch out his wings once when he accidentally came to close to the kayak. It was only for a moment, and so my glimpse of the wings was brief, but I couldn’t see anything obviously wrong with either wing.

It was a mystery, his flightlessness.

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

Canada Goose -babsjeheron

At the end of that day, the young Goose followed me back to the boathouse, and watched from the shallows as I beached the kayak. I wondered if he would flee in fear were I to stand up full height on shore, and so I slouched down to look smaller as I clambered out of the boat. Apparently that worked, and he simply paddled about in small circles, watching me all the while.

Then he started to preen, just like any other Goose, tucking his head under first one wing, then the others, craning his neck over his should to reach his back feathers, nibbling at his tail.

And when he stood up, it hit me – the reason for his flightlessness. He stood there gracefully on his left leg, the stump of his right wavering slightly as he regained his balance, and settled in preening on one leg.

The photos in this post are clearly not “art” (they were taken with my phone). And even though they are not art, there is something curious about them. Look closely at the top photo here, do you see what I see floating on the surface of the water below the stump of his right leg? Doesn’t that reflected shape look like the reflection of an intact Goose’s foot? His phantom foot?

It is remarkable how nimble he had been in paddling after me for miles all over the lake, how agile he looks standing on one leg preening, how healthy he seems to be apart from his missing foot. How endearing he is.

And even though these photos aren’t art, the young Canada Goose is.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think it weird to see a one-legged Goose? Was it wonderful that the Goose survived as long as it did?
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Vanishing Point. I am stretching things a bit with this topic. The point of the Goose’s leg vanishes into space where his foot should appear.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday At the End of the Pier. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Water is in all the photos here today.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Humans?

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight – babsjeheron

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I’ve said it many times before:
No two days at the lake are the same.

While out photographing Great Blue Herons, Swans and Cygnets on the lake that day, I heard many sirens. An alarming number of sirens blaring from the north – sirens that just would not stop. Concerned that something had happened at the boat house, I paddled my kayak from the far end of South Lake back up to the boat ramp as quickly as I could cover the four miles.
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Fire Department Divers About to Secure Sunken Van at Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Divers About to Enter and Secure Sunken Van at Lake – babsjeheron

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A white van hauling a boat trailer and a young child inside had backed so far into the lake that it became nearly completely submerged. It seems like a vehicle with a trailer backs too far into the water at least once a year at the boat ramp, but this was the first time I’d witnessed the vehicle completely submerged.
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Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake- babsjeheron

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Both Fire Engine 3 and Engine 5 from our town responded to the emergency. Personnel from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and our town Police were on site to assist, and the Dive Team and Assistant Fire Chief responded as well. The sunken van was capably pulled from the water by a powerful tow truck, and hauled away on a flatbed trailer.
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Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day – babsjeheron

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As I watched the rescue unfold from my kayak still only a few yards away in the water, I was impressed to see the full body rescue suits the firemen wore – as a boater, it is reassuring to know that the lake has such sophisticated water rescue gear.
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Our Fire Truck is a Boat- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

One Fire Truck is a Boat! – babsjeheron

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Same lake, one year previously. There were no Great Blue Heron sightings that day, and apparently not enough humans, as well – at least not inside the captainless inflatable boat shown below.

Everybody, listen to me, and return me, my ship
I’m your captain, I’m your captain…

Mark Farner, Grand Funk Railroad

inflatable with nobody on board - babsjeheron   © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Inflatable Boat with Nobody on Board – babsjeheron

I had been searching for Herons that lovely morning but struck out in both North and upper Middle Lakes, and had decided to try for South Lake. Exiting the tunnel under the Turnpike and paddling through the channel towards the boat house, a shiny red inflatable boat was carving turns in the water ahead at an alarming speed.

As I got closer, I realized there was nobody on board. The captain had gone overboard, bounced out of his shiny new boat on her maiden voyage. I called the dockhands at the boat house, and they sent out their rescue rowboat and pulled the hapless owner from the water.

Fire D© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)epartment Rescue Boat Ready to Put In - babsjeheron

Fire Department Rescue Boat Ready to Put In – babsjeheron

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What happened that day on the lake could have been tragic. The captain had bounced out of his boat without having his kill-switch tether attached. When activated, the kill-switch shuts off the motor and stops the boat. A runaway boat like the red inflatable that day is a true emergency – people have been maimed and some have perished when struck by propellers in similar situations – and so the town Fire Department responded in force.

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable boat – babsjeheron

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The captain-less boat circled endlessly, out of control as the rescue boat with the firefighters approached. They were prepared with grappling hooks, to snag the lines on the inflatable, or push it onto the shore.

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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It was dangerous because other boaters were in the vicinity even while the inflatable boat circled around the firefighters. I wondered how much fuel was left in the outboard motor. Would the boat keep running in circles until the gas was gone?

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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At last, the fire fighters’ efforts had aimed the runaway boat’s course towards the rocks, and it ran aground.

Z© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)odiac Aground on the Rocks - babsjeheron

Inflatable Boat Aground on the Rocks – babsjeheron

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Success!

Success! Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last – babsjeheron

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Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident, but not all similar incidents have had happy endings.

Click here to learn more from the US Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center.

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp – babsjeheron

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I love happy endings.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think a runaway driverless boat is a weird thing to see? What about red-togged divers in the water with a submerged van? They were both weird things to see, and yet both had wonderful endings – the only thing hurt was the boater’s and van driver’s Pride.
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Fire Prevention. Our Fire Department does more than just prevent fires, they are instrumental in water rescues, too.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Much water in this post.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Dragonfly?

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron eye-to-eye with Dragonfly – babsjeheron

“So lovely. There were many dragonflies – tasty – and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…” said the Great Blue Heron to nobody in particular.

Looking at the Dragonfly perched so enticingly on the tip of the Heron’s beak above, did you wonder if Dragonfly was on the lunch menu that day?
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Dragonfly teasing great blue heron - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Dragonfly teasing Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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Is it just me, or did you, too, hear a Dragonfly’s voice sing-songing that childhood playground taunt, “Nah nah nah boo-boo, you can’t catch me?”
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Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm dragonfly - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm Dragonfly – babsjeheron

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“Now, where did I put my glasses, erm Dragonfly?” the heron asked of no one in particular, wondering where his memory has gone. Often, I wonder where my own glasses have wandered off to. What about you?

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

Dragonfly Hitchhiker – babsjeheron

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File this one under silly nonsense just for fun!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think it weird for a Dragonfly to tantalize a much larger Great Blue Heron? Cheeky Dragonfly!
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. The foreground of one photo is water.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Touchdown

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Touch Down - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Touch Down B&W – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior - babsjeheron Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior - babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior B&W – babsjeheron

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After feeding the birds that afternoon, I walked over to the shrubbery along the shore to look at the swimming float platform half-way across the cove.

My distance vision isn’t very good. I could tell there was a largish bird on the platform, but not whether it was a Cormorant or a Great Blue Heron from so far away. It was preening, stretching its neck up, bill down, and could have been either as far as I could tell.

I decided to call to it, and if it responded, that would tell me which.

Arrrh.. I called softly.

Arrrh..

And suddenly – before I could utter a third arrrh – there was a short clamoring of frawhnk… frawhnk… frawhnk… coming from my immediate left, not five feet away.

NOT from the Heron on the swimming float – there were two Herons!

Obscured by the trees and bushes, a fledgling Heron had been on a neighbor’s dock.

It heard my call, answered my call, and then flew directly towards the shore where I stood, right past me with less than two feet separating us, and landed on the dock to my right.

I walked over to the path by the dock, careful to not approach too closely, and called again…

Arrrh..

Arrrh..

And the Heron’s neck craned up full height, its right eye seeking me out, watching me, watching me.

I stood still for a long while, until the bird folded its neck back into that graceful curve and began foraging along the shore.

Goosebumps that the fledgling Heron responded to my call, and came closer.

Fledglings are great in that way – fearless their first summer in the world.

I love them for that fearlessness.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Any structure using concrete. The background is concrete.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. The fpregrpind is water.
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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

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This past Sunday, October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick came alive with Art in the Park. More than 2 dozen local artists offered their art for visitors. It was a beautiful Autumn day of art and music. (I am still recovering from eye surgery and did not show my photos this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at Waterfalls

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron fishing in water falling over a dam in the Charles River Watershed - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing in a Charles River Watershed dam – babsjeheron

Most of the time, the Great Blue Heron could be seen actively fishing at the base of the falls shown in photo above, retrieving fish unlucky enough to have been swept over. And sometimes, some very special times, the Heron would stand atop the dam, with the water rushing over his feet and stare off into the distance at the colors of the setting sun.

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall – babsjeheron

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens. That day of the above photo, I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air. Every couple of years, we read news stories of people falling off cliffs or going into waterfalls while taking photos. I learned how easily that can happen. One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.

Double exposure of a Great Blue Heron looking in the same direction fishing in the waterfall - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Double exposure of Herons facing the same direction at the waterfall – babsjeheron

To love is not to look at one another: it is to look, together, in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wind, Sand, and Stars

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can't step in the same waters twice - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can’t step in the same waters twice – babsjeheron

What a difference a year can make in the same waterfall. Normal years, top, and drought, bottom.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is The Ordinary. This week, the Lens Artists have invited blogger I.J. Khanewala here as guest host. Welcome I.J.!

All of the photos today were ordinary days fishing with my camera for Great Blue Herons that were fishing at local waterfalls. Of course, my sense of the ordinary may be different than yours.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Straight Lines. The lines of water falling came straight down.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. This post has quite a bit of water.
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From I.J. Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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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 a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

.

Tomorrow, Sunday October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick comes alive with Art in the Park. There will be over 2 dozen local artists enjoying the fresh air and offering their art for your enjoyment. Stop in between 10am and 3pm ET for a gorgeous Autumn day of art and music. (I am recovering from eye surgery and will not be showing this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in Autumn and a Large Mouth Bass

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

Great Blue Heron by Falling Waters in Autumn – babsjeheron

“Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top
of the highest tree until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast…”

Advice to Beginners (excerpt)
Ellen Kort


If I Had My Life to Live Over: I Would Pick More Daisies, Sandra Martz, ed.

Great Blue Herons and Red Tail Hawks often frequented this spot, fishing for the Trout, Bass, and Pickerel in the pools at the base of the falling water. Finding a Heron there when the Autumn colors were in full display was challenging and I spent many hours over 7 or 8 years hidden in my kayak across the channel in hopes of capturing a Great Blue with the striking autumn leaves. Good things come to she who waits.
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The Herons have plenty of other fishing holes nearby. And so do the humans. Bass Fishing Tournaments take place frequently – some with big bucks in prize money.
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I don’t think the Great Blue Heron in the photo sequences below paid a tournament entry fee, but he didn’t use any illegal bait to land that Largemouth Bass. I know the Bass he caught didn’t get properly weighed at take out what with having been gulped down mid-tourney, but I bet the size of that fish would have made some of the fishermen weep.
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Great Blue Heron Lands Large Mouth Bass - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Lands Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 1- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Walking Down the Shore Carrying the Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

The Heron Put Down the Bass for a Moment, then Picked it Up and Turned Around – babsjeheron

The Heron Once Again put the Bass Down then Retrieved it – babsjeheron

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The bulge in the Heron’s elongated neck in the last frame above? The Largemouth Bass. The total elapsed time between landing the Bass and the final frame above was only two and a half minutes. I’m not sure how to estimate the weight of that Bass, but I’m pretty sure any good fisherman reading this can weigh in.

I think this Bass is a bigger fish in terms of weight than the large Pike shown below. What do you think?

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

Great Blue Heron with large Pike – babsjeheron

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When I returned belatedly to the dock after one Bass tournament, the boat departures had already begun, yet there were still more than 30 boats lined up on the shore.

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats Remaining on Shore – babsjeheron

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Dawn Miller, Jez Braithwaite, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has bright red autumn leaves.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. This post has quite a bit of water.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Large Mouth Bass
Read the rest of this entry

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