Hunting Herons

After attending a photography workshop in the morning and volunteer training at the Audubon Society in the afternoon, I decided spending some time shooting would be a nice way to end the day.

Tisen, feeling better after his bout of upset stomach, and I packed up and headed on over to the park.  I can’t decide what I want to shoot today, so I take everything I own.  Worst case, I get some extra exercise, although the sofa is a little unwieldy  😉

When we arrive at the entrance to the park, a blue bird flies over my head.  I haven’t even taken my camera out of the bag yet!  I stop right there and get out my camera and opt for the 100-400mm lens, deciding I’ve been neglecting it since getting the 70-200mm lens.  Besides, I could use the extra length for birds.

Of course the blue bird is long gone.  I guess that’s what I get for letting fate decide what kind of shooting I’m going to do.

We head on down towards the wetland.  When we get there, a great blue heron is stalking the water.  I hand hold the camera for a change–it feels strange in my hands having worked on a tripod so much lately.

Tisen and I walk around to the shore of the wetland to see if I can get a better angle on the heron.  On the way, some people eye my lens and ask if I’m taking pictures of the wedding. Confused, I explain I was shooting a blue heron and the people laugh.  I look around and see a bride and groom disappearing down the path.  Is it funny that I am more attracted to birds than brides?

The blue heron stalks a fish, coming up onto the shore and then back down into the water.  It hangs out for awhile on the way, peeking at me from between blades of tall grass.  It amazes me how a giant, blue bird that resembles a pterodactyl can disappear amongst blades of grass.

As he wades through the water, moving in slow motion, he crouches until he suddenly strikes and nabs a fish.  I missed the strike with this one, but, lucky me, I get to try a second time when another blue heron hunts on the other side of the wetland.

One thing I learned is that a shutter speed of 1/250 is not fast enough to stop the motion of a striking heron!

Unfortunately, he turns away from me to swallow the fish and I only get a view after the fish is deep in his gullet.  Both heron give themselves a big shake after a hunt–it reminds me somehow of Tisen marking a tree after having an encounter with another dog.

Sorry for the excessive number of pictures, but I love the succession of the second heron crouching lower and lower next to his reflection in the water until he strikes.  Just for fun, a movie version:


15 responses to “Hunting Herons

  1. those are really good pictures. I like how the blue didn’t seem to fade at all. We are glad that Tison is feeling better. I’m fighting off urges to get Sasha a playmate dog that doesn’t shed. Im weighing the pros and cons lol

  2. Pure beauty! To see birds in action and get them on “film” is fantastic. Together, they tell a story. I’m sorry but brides are a dime a dozen–birds active in their environment…priceless! Does Tisen look a bit sad or is that just me?

    • I do love watching birds. Tisen might be a little sad–after all, mommy spent an hour and a half looking through a lens when she could have been staring at him. 🙂

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