As we arrived by the dam, there was a huge heron in the river. One of the delightful things about herons is that they will stand very still for long periods of time while waiting for just the right fish to swim by. I think this one had just eaten.

I wasn’t sure I got his liftoff, but I did. Barely, but I got it. Actually, I got a lot more than I expected, right down to the color of his eyes and the markings in his feathers. I have a lot more pictures, but I will have to return for further processing. I ran out of time before I ran out of pictures.

Categories: #Birds, #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, Mumford River, Swans and herons

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27 replies

  1. Wonderful photo sequence of this lovely bird. I see that it is in breeding plumage. You didn’t happen to see a pair later, did you?

    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos.


    • No, but I know where they are breeding. He was flying north along the river and they have breeding areas deep in the wetlands. It’s hard to get there. No roads. Also, it’s very muddy. You can sink in it up to your hips. Not over your head like movie quickmud, but deep enough to be
      dangerous. About half our property is protected wetlands. This whole area is a watershed, so it is normally very wet all the time. Except for the last two drought years. I’m just hoping we keep getting rain.

      I have seen a lot of herons recently, flying overhead, in the Mumford and the Blackstone, here and in Rhode Island. I think because we got so much rain, there are also more fish, so the herons have returned. I’m betting they are nesting in the wetlands north of here in Northbridge and Grafton.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely! and your patience paid off – what beautiful wings. Did you at least have a comfortable place to wait?


    • We were standing on the bridge that crosses the river. There’s nowhere to stand alongside the river other than the park and by the time we’d have gotten to where we could see the heron, he’d have flown. Otherwise, it’s all mud, trees and rocks. No shoreline, so you pretty much have to be all the way on the bottom level of the park (it’s a maze of stairs) or the bridge. So far, all my best bird pictures in this particular Blackstone River tributary were taken from the bridge.

      I only had about four minutes in which to shoot and I was lucky because the camera was set up and ready. Other days, I’ve had more time. I think we caught him at the end of his fishing. He had a big lump in his long neck — probably a good-sized trout.


  3. Love those birds. So majestic.
    Lucky to see some here in Alberta.
    Also saw one fishing along the shoreline in Vancouver recently.
    Got some pics of that, but no closeups.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was wrong. Apparently all the herons in the U.S. are the same Great Blues we have here.

      I wasn’t very close, but I had a telephoto lens on the camera and it got a lot closer than I thought it could. These are among the best pictures I’ve taken of birds or really any animal — and I was very surprised. I wasn’t at all sure how well they came out. You can only check to see if you got any pictures on the camera, so I knew I had photos. What I didn’t know is that they were so much better than I expected.

      They are majestic. I also loved that I got his long black head feathers — and the color of his eyes — too. I think he was a better than average bird. I have other heron pictures, but he’s a very handsome fellow!


  4. Such a magnificent bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great shots of the herons, Marilyn! It’s really tough to catch the liftoff, because they do it so quietly — one moment they’re standing, and the next they’ve taken off! You really captured it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I shot it, but I wasn’t sure I got the picture until I got home and stuck the card in the computer. I was delighted. I thought I was half a second too late. I did miss the next shot, but I got the liftoff and him flying off towards where they are probably nesting. There have been a lot of herons around here lately. I see them flying overhead, thinking it’s an eagle or a really big hawk, and then see the long legs. They fly high and my eyes aren’t terrific.

      We have WATER! After a 10-day rainless period, today it is raining steadily and is supposed to rain all night, possibly a lot. We really needed it. The ground had gotten very dry and dusty. Pollen was out of control.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So that’s where my herons went — lol ?! Do you have a review feature on your camera — I can see immediately whether I got a picture, though the quality of the view is not great. You did a great job with this heron!

        WATER — even in tough times, a little moisture in the air helps you feel a little better. I hope you and Garry are doing well today!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I do have a review feature and I did take a look, but you can’t tell if it’s really sharp until you see it on a bigger screen. AND I didn’t know I’d gotten that lift off either — I just looked to make sure I got something.

          Getting out and taking a few pictures helped. We needed to do something creative. The heron was the best part of my month!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes — that’s what I meant about the quality of the view — you can at least see that you got something, and I can usually see the outline of what I got, depending on the light. I’m so glad you got out with the camera — it’s very therapeutic!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Getting out is akin to recharging your body batteries. The heron is ice cream atop the cake.


        • I think your herons, although they really look the same, are considered gray herons and ours are blue, though I’m pretty sure the herons neither know nor care.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I just looked these up on Wikipedia again — the Gray Herons are rare in the US, but live in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. The Great Blue Herons are common throughout the US on both coasts. There are other differences that are subtle but convincing enough that I firmly believe our herons are also Great Blue Herons.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Something about those great blues – I love watching them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Herons aren’t afraid of us, either. Mostly, they ignore us, standing so still, sometimes unmoving, until their special fish swims by. I think this one had eaten and was ready to move on, but he stayed long enough for me to get pictures. I had no idea how the pictures came out until I got home, after which I developed a new respect for my 12-200 mm Oly telephoto. Everything was crisp and sharp. It deals better with cloudy weather than with sun. Gets really noisy in bright sun.

      Now that we have WATER, herons are back! The ducks haven’t returned but if we keep getting regular rain, I think they’ll come home too.

      Liked by 2 people

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