Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Great Blue - Yonder (and Beyond)

It seems that every day recently, we've been seeing pairs of herons - often together, but sometimes just a short distance apart. A few of these encounters have been fly-by visits. A couple of majestic herons appear out of nowhere in the late-day sky, then swoop and dip as they follow the creek for a few meters in front of us, only to rise and continue flying high and far.

Other times, our walk through the off-paths often reveal a Great Blue Heron fishing for its breakfast. (Please click to enlarge)

This one was spotted about a five minute walk upstream of the first.

The herons seemed very nervous early on in the season. I would find myself startling them with even the slightest threat of inching in their direction. But after several encounters, they remain wary, but less concerned about my approach with the camera.

This wonderful creature watched as I approached him one morning, but never left its roost while I snapped photos. (Please click to enlarge)

Early one evening, I wandered out alone and saw this beauty fishing in the nearby pond. It seemed totally unconcerned with my presence - possibly grateful that Benny did not accompany me. (Please click to enlarge)

Kingfishers are rather elusive birds. You can often tell when one is nearby. Its rattle-like call alerts us to its presence. It seems that I no sooner focus on one, when it flies off to the next tree - just out of range. This Belted Kingfisher kindly posed for a shot before moving on. (Please click to enlarge)

A Comorant rests between fishing expeditions. (Please click to enlarge)

For those of you who don't like the creepy crawly things (myself included) don't look! I just liked the appearance of this web in the sunlight. (Please click to enlarge)

It's no wonder that the birds are attracted to this area. The fish are plentiful and the scenery is tranquil. (Please click to enlarge)

The sun's rays spill light upon the local pond and its banks, bathing it in diffused light. (Please click to enlarge)

On our way back from the evening walk, we usually stop and sit for a short while. There are apple trees across the path from one of the benches. These appear to be ripe, but were extremely tart to the taste. I didn't try one myself, but I could tell by the face Frank made. Too bad I didn't think to snap a shot of him. (Please click to enlarge)

I found this solitary clover growing in the early evening shadows of the cedar grove. (Please click to enlarge)

Nearby, chicory and rose hips (thanks for that ID, Blog Princess G) create a lovely contrast of colour. (Please click to enlarge)

And finally, for the ever-growing Benny Fan Club, here's one of our furry friend testing his swim and fetch skills. (Please click to enlarge)


Daryl said...

Wonderful heron photos, Hilary, I miss them. There's a canal behind the house my parents left us and across it is a wildlife preserve .. lots of white herons and lots of little baby herons ... thanks for the reminder ...

And Benny, that little scamp, is so cute


Frank Baron said...

Great shots of my favourite bird. Well, my favourite bird that doesn't live in my house. (NEVER make a parrot jealous!)

The perched shot, in particular is great. And there's spider webs galore these days. I'm beginning to think they work overtime to stock their larder for winter. How about you get your research people to check that out for me? ;)

Nicely done Hil. :)

Kat said...

The web and the pond in the sunlight are just gorgeous shots. Wow!

Suldog said...


It's like taking a mini-vacation when I stop by here. Thanks so very much for taking the time to shoot such great and interesting photos.

Mental P Mama said...

Every shot is so beautiful. I particularly like the rays on the pond, but my favorite is Benny. That dog is grinning. From ear to ear.

SandraRee said...

I agree with Suldog, Hilary! You photography is unmatched, the spider web was awesome!

And love, love the last picture of Benny!

Kerri Farley said...

Oh Hilary, you've captured my heart with these Herons! They are one of my favorite birds! The perched shot is Excellent but my favorite is that one right after....That lighting makes it so special!!

And count me in on the Benny fan club! What a cutie!!

Pat - Arkansas said...

I love to go on your walks! Thanks! You find something beautiful around every corner!

Benny is a sweetie!

Cath said...

Those shots of the heron are magnificent. You really are so good with that camera. I can see the definition of the individual feathers on the cormorant! Fantastic stuff.

Love the chicory and rosehip too.
And of course, Benny. ;0)
Thanks for sharing your beautiful world.

Louise said...

What wonderful heron photos! I've never been around any enough that they didn't fly away at the slightest noise.

The flowers and apples were wonderful pictures. The apples especially, with the warm light on them to make them glow better really caught my attention! They were begging for a taste, weren't they?

Woman in a Window said...

How could you not eat one of those apples? Com'on! They're free, right. I'll eat anything that's free.

Love the clover.

Leah J. Utas said...

Your pics really brought out the personalities in the herons. And you did a wonderful job with the kingfisher.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Daryl. Ya know, I've never seen baby herons before. I've seen what I think are youngish ones - juveniles I guess, but never anything recently-hatched. That would be so cool. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Frank. I won't tell Lucy, if you won't. Interesting theory about the spiders but Frank?, YOU are my research people. ;) I'm glad you like the heron pics. I know they YOUR bird. :)

• Thanks, Kathryn. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Sully. You always say the kindest things. I'm grateful that you keep coming back to see more. :)

• Thank you, MPM. You're quite right about Benny. He's a happy little pup, for sure. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Sandra. That means a lot to me. And Benny has one heck of a following, eh? ;)

• Thanks so much, Kerri. I totally appreciate your kind words. And I'm adding another check mark on the "We love Benny" side. ;)

• Thanks, Pat. I love having you along. So does Benny. :)

• Thank you, Cath. You always know exactly what to say to make me feel great. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Louise. Like I said, the herons were far more skittish early on in the season, but seem to have become more used to people as it progressed. This is a very busy path at times and particularly now with the salmon making their way upstream. It brings large numbers of anglers into the area, so I guess they're just becoming more tolerant of people. As for the apples, they weren't begging me for a taste.. but they sure nabbed Frank. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• WIAW, if you had seen the suck-in-those-lips expression that Frank made upon tasting one, you'd have passed too. That was about 3 weeks ago, so maybe they're sweeter now, and worth a try. I'll get Frank on that right away. ;)

• Thanks very much, Leah. I know that you know your birds, so that means a great deal to me. Much appreciated. :)

Travis Erwin said...

Great shots. I love to watch herons feed and catch fish.

the Bag Lady said...

Awesome, as always! Love the kingfisher, and Benny, of course.
Excellent job, Hilary.

Reb said...

Stunning, beautiful photos Hilary. You are right about the way the light is hitting that web, so pretty.
The Herons are lovely and Benny is just so darned cute!

Russell said...

I join the chorus of voices before me - wonderful photos! The light in so many of these images is incredible.

The photograph that won the Iowa State Fair photography contest was extremely similar to the image of the heron with the sunlight radiating around his head and in the background. The judge's could not get enough of that - and you have almost the exact same (I know - not great English but I like that term - exact same!!) effect in the fourth image (bird standing in water).

And, yes, Benny's there to make it official! Take care!

Michele said...

It sure is nice to see the photos of the Heron... I just can never get such close ups... they are much too wild around here. I literally have to go out into marshland up to my waist to catch a glimpse of them!
Great pics.
Mountain Retreat

Tink said...

That heron is HUGE! I can never get that close to them. I'm too noisy. I would never make a good ninja.

gary rith said...

HEY! We have 3 herons and 2 egrets hanging around in the river behind our house! Oh my, so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I love that you bring your own personal taster with you. Ask him to try something else and have your camera ready! ;)

Anonymous said...


I can't believe the beauty of the place you walk! I also love birds, but know very little about them I enjoyed this post.

Thank you for your kind words to my blog!

Tricia said...

It really does look so tranquil, and your photos do a great job of portraying the experience, and makes me miss a quieter environment. Maybe the heron is becoming a ham.

Cedar said...

As much as I hate the little buggers spiders do some incredible artwork by shooting string out their butts.

I always enjoy your work, yours, the pictures, not the spiders, even though I enjoy their work too. Unless I accidentially walk into it...then, not so much.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

We live close to a bayou (Houston IS the Bayou City so that's kind of a DUH! statement) Anyway, we gets lots of egrets and cranes around here. They're so gorgeous. We also get a lot of bats that thrive on the many bayou bridges. If I didn't have rabies phobia, they'd be a beautiful sight, but you know. I'm a nervous mom first and foremost.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Benny: A Jack Russell auditioning for the part of a Retriever. :)

elasticwaistbandlady said...

Oh and even as I type this, there's a ginormous spider devouring a still alive moth on my living room wall. It's fascinating/homeschool nature study/grotesque circle of life all happening right in the privacy of my very own home!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, those are wonderful photos!!

I do a fair amount of photography. Cedar Key, on our West coast has some really great areas for water birds! I really like the pelican They may be a bit ungainly on the land, but in the air, they are superb flyers!!

Hilary said...

• Thanks Travis. They're awfully quick.. and accurate and very lovely to watch. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Baggie. I loved your video post yesterday. I'll see you on the red carpet. ;)

• Thanks so much, Reb. Your kind words always make me feel great. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics.. hard not to enjoy Benny. :)

• Thanks kindly, Russell. I'd love to see that "exact same" photo some time. ;) Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Michele. If and when you do wade in after them, keep that camera of yours dry. I'd miss your gorgeous photos of the mountains! Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Ah Tink. You need to get Ninja lessons from Whatever Jo. ;) I have no doubt you'd get fine photos of herons if everything else you photograph is any example. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Gary, have you considered some pottery featuring a heron?

• Too funny, Susan. He's usually quite willing to taste most things - unless they're really, really healthy! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Amy. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, Tricia. The heron is far too dignified to be a ham. I'm just grateful that it tolerates my presence. Now Benny - there's your ham! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Cedar - you made me laugh. I'm not at all fond of spiders myself but you can't deny the beauty of their amazing structures. Unless like you said, if you walk into one. Yuck! Thanks for the kind words and for the laugh. :)

• EWBL, I can understand your nervousness about bats, but I think they're incredible creatures. I love watching them. I hope you ran for the video camera when you saw that spider and moth drama unfolding! ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Dr. J. I can't say I've ever seen a pelican, but sure would love to. They're beautiful and unusual birds. No doubt you've photographed many. Thanks for your kind words. :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing shots....such nice photos! :)

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

These are beautiful. You KNOW I love Benny shots best, but the rest are so serene with that fantastic LIGHT!!

Anonymous said...

Great photos, Hilary.

Unknown said...

In '92 I walked out my front door and there at the end of the path to the driveway was a beautiful Heron... he really caught me by surprise.

Last year when we were walking the beach at Pelee we noticed something ahead but couldn't quite make it out until we got closer... it was a dead cormorant... so sad. I love your spider web photo and of course Benny... he is a cutie.

Your photos are beautiful Hilary and I almost feel as tho I was there... :)

G said...

What stunning photographs! And thanks for the ID on the chicory! :)

Anonymous said...

Well, with such great photos and apples to offer I can assure you will be seeing my ugly mug around!

Thanks for the words of wisdom!

photowannabe said...

You really live in an amazing place with so much beauty right at your doorstep. I love the bird shots et all....but the spider web caught in the sunlight is my favorite. Great eye for capturing it.

Shammickite said...

Last week, a blue heron landed on my garage roof when we were all outside round the patio table. I quietly rose to go for the camera, but he saw me moving and flew away. I've never seen one in my back yard before. But I surprised one under the little bridge over the stream in the park last year.... or should I say we surprised each other!
MMMMmmm those apples look good, but the wild ones are always sour.

Kappa no He said...

You satisfied my Benny fix, thank you. That second heron shot knocked my socks off!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gorgeous photos! And please do count us in with the ever-growing Benny fan club!! One cute dog!!

Jo said...

Hilary, once again, absolutely spectacular photos! I love the light.

Aren't Herons wonderful? We have lots of them here and I love to watch them. They seem so majestic next to the silly seagulls, who are always begging for food. ("Mine! Mine! Mine!")

I don't think I have ever seen a Kingfisher here, but we do have Cormorants.

Indrani said...

The walks with you are fun and I enjoy every moment of it. The heron shots are great and so is the shot of the web. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks very much, Mark. And I appreciate your linking to my blog. :)

• Thanks muchly, Mama Geek. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Thank you, Addhumorandfaith. :)

• Thanks, Carol. That would have been very cool to see the heron at the end of your driveway. Unforgettable. Sad about the cormorant though. Thanks very much for your ultra-kind words. :)

• Thanks muchly, Blog Princess. :)

• Welcome, FP and thanks for your kind words. I hope you will return often. :)

• Thanks so much, Photowannabe. Much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• Wow, Shammie. That's as cool as Carol's experience with a heron. Too bad you weren't able to get the shot. At least you'll always have that mental snapshot of it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks muchly, Terrie. I'm glad I could oblige with the Benny fix. Thanks for the visit and your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, PT&E. Consider yourselves included in the club. ;)

• Thank you, Jo. I agree - they're wonderful birds, and always a treat to see. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Indrani. I'm glad you came along for the walk and enjoyed it. Thanks also for your kind words. :)

abb said...

Your heron photos are gorgeous - but Benny....well, he's the BOMB!

david mcmahon said...

Simply beautiful, Hilary.

Dianne said...

that second shot is one of the most beautiful nature photos ever! grace and light

and Benny - awwww
he deserves a fan club!

adventure grrl said...

Fantastic photos, wow!

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much, San. I agree about Benny's explosive personality. ;)

• Thanks, David. Much appreciated. :)

• Thank you so much for your kind words, Dianne. :)

• Thanks kindly, Grrl. :)

Anonymous said...

These are all bathed in the most incredible golden light.

You really ought to consider selling your photographs, or at least entering a few craft shows!

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

I love your birds and all but benny is still my favorite ;DDDD

Hilary said...

• Thanks so much KC. I haven't really even printed any photos, but should consider buying a few frames and seeing how they look. Thanks for your kind comment. :)

• Thanks, Moi. Benny is a heart-stealer for sure! :)