Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Hungry Heron

One thing I really enjoy is getting pictures of a creature that I've never quite gotten before, despite numerous opportunities. This Great Blue Heron is the one I was finally successful with. I actually have had a lot of sightings and even pictures of these creatures that I've shared right here. But this is the closest I've ever gotten, and the first time I feel mostly satisfied about these birds.

Did you notice I said mostly and not fully satisfied? Well, that's because of where I took these pictures. Oh, it was indeed a wild animal that could fly away and everything like that. It was only that in this place the animals are a little more used to humans than where I usually go. It's not a big problem, but I was more than a little conscious of that fact. And I have to add that this heron was finally frightened away by a woman with a loud mouth.

But before all of that, I was able to get some very good pictures of this magnificent bird. I was at the edge of a pond behind the nature center at Kensington Park when this heron flew over. It never came very close, but it also never saw me. And I watched something fascinating. Take a close look at this bird's neck. It's a little fat for a heron.

I want to let you know that I'm showing you these pictures in reverse order, just for the purpose of suspense. You might also have to click the pictures to enlarge them to see everything a little better. These birds seem to be very good at blending in with their surrounding.

Now, after you've done that, you can see that in the picture above his mouth is open. Yup, you might have already guessed just what he's doing, especially if you cheated and looked at the picture below first. If you didn't, let's all go ahead and look at it now.

Do you see what's in this heron's mouth now? This was the whole purpose for this bird coming to this place. It was hungry. That's a fish in its mouth! I don't really know why, but I think it's one of the most interesting things to watch a wild animal while it's eating. I think it helps us to get to know the animal that much more.

And this bird is no small creature at all, no. It has a wingspan of about 6 feet or 2 meters! That's a pretty good sized bird. If you've ever seen one in the air, the first thing you think of is a pterodactyl; you know, a big flying dinosaur. It really looks a lot like one, and the huge size helps that idea along. It's really amusing to see one of these birds flying overhead while you're driving along the road.

Okay, I think that's enough from me for today. I got to whine a little bit, I got to complain, I got to exaggerate, and I got to cheer. What else is there but to say goodbye, for now. See you next time!


Nature Center Magazine has some excellent nature photography tips from Steve of Out On The Prairie today. I think you should go take a look. It'll make you happy.

12 comments:

  1. So Kensington Park is a good place for a fish dinner. This is one bird that I have never seen other than in photos and yours are very good.

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  2. I saw a lot of Heron died in Gulf oil spill. This one is a fortunate one :)

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  3. I love watching herons fish. They are such beautiful birds. Nice shots.

    VanillaSeven - the whole thing in the Gulf is so terrible and sad. :-(

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  4. No doubt, this bird is the ultimate stealth hunter. Nothing like catching your own lunch. Nice photos by the way.

    Bill:www.wildramblings.com

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  5. I love to see a heron, I feel even more cheerful to photograph a hungry heron with a fish in its mouth.

    I would like to be you.

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  6. Was that a fish in his mouth or a PB&J sandwich? WEll to each his own. :)

    Now you really are going to figure out where a rookery is located nearby. That is amazing to see. And the noise they all make is something else too!

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  7. Very cool series of photos!

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  8. yep, it is very interesting to see animals eating, i always am amazed at how these birds can swallow a fish, sometimes, the fish look huge to be swallowed.

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  9. Ratty some good pics. The Heron certainly seems to be enjoying the fish. Nice to be able to watch and capture the action.

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  10. I'm jealous! I would like to have a nice big, fresh fish to dine on.

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  11. Nice sequence! We see Great Blue Herons pretty often at the Maryland State Park (Seneca Creek SP) near our house. No matter how often we see one, it's always a thrill because as you say, they are majestic birds. Once one flew slowly in front of me when I was in a canoe--an unforgettable sight. I've also seen them hunt, capture and swallow fish.... once my husband and I watched a heron struggle to swallow a large fish it had caught. It never managed it while we were there, and looked exceedingly uncomfortable. We usually see them from across the lake; they are so shy that when we happen on one on our side of the lake, it usually flies away before we get too close. I always feel sorry for frightening it, but it is a lovely sight to see it spread its wings and take off in that amazing stately gliding flight.

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  12. I love seeing them in the wild...and it is hard to sneak up on them, they are very shy. Congratulations...you got some really good shots, Ratty!

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