Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great Blue Heron

I've been stalking a lovely Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, for weeks. It's always in flight across the lake while I'm still fumbling with my camera. See what I mean?

Sunday I went in with the plan to approach from another direction. I walked slowly, stopping often to scan the shoreline. Only thing is that there's a drop off to shore level, about three feet.

It wasn't until I was nearly upon the heron that I noticed it. I was actually gazing at for moments before I could pick from the background. I stayed cool, knocked off the auto-focus because of those branches, and shot steadily.

I was really surprised that I hadn't flushed it when with a huge splash it suddenly disappeared under the water!

I was doing all I could to contain myself when I realized it had a fish! Wow! Now I knew why this bird wasn't spooked by me. It was hunting its dinner while I was hunting its image--a truly fractal capture! :-)

This shot illustrates how the poor little fish was actually speared, preventing any chance of escape. Well known for its stabbing behavior and a real meat eater, it dines on fish, reptiles, birds--even small mammals.


  1. Wooo! Great captures!! You should be thrilled with these- herons spook so easily! We have been on the lake for 12 years now and the herons love to hang out in our quiet cove; but no matter how quietly I try to sneak up on them, they take off long before I can get a decent photo. Two years ago there was a nest at the fat end of the beaver pond behind our lake and through binoculars I was able to watch the babies being fed and grow until they fledged; it was an amazing thing to see. Unfortunately, no herons have returned to that nest since. But they still come to the cove, and I still try to get "the" money shot. All I can say is thank goodness for the delete button on my digital camera!

  2. oops-excuse my typo- that should have read "far" end of the beaver pond... not fat!

  3. Oh thank you, Gretchen! I couldn't have been much happier. You know, it wasn't until I got home and downloaded the photos that I knew there was a fish. The lens sees better than I do! :-)

    That must have been so cool to see the little ones. I'm trying to imagine little herons, everything is so long--legs, neck, and beak. It must be cute to see them get it all working together.