Great Blue Heron

When I was at the Venice Rookery, the attention of the photographer with the big lens was on a nest of Great Blue Herons.

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There was good reason. There was a lot of noise and action on this particular nest. The heron were stretching their necks up high…

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And there was a lot of flapping of wings. My thought at the time was that this was a mating ritual where the dominate males were doing their dancing and prancing to show who was strongest and most worthy of the female. You know, the mating rituals that all species take part in – I understand them because I remember my youth.

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When I was able to crop my pictures I realized that they were whooping and cheering about a fish that had been caught. If you look at the center bird in the above photo you can see said fish in it’s beak. It must have been a big fish – that’s what all the ruckus was about. I have pics of each bird attempting to get it down – each one unsuccessfully. The National Geographic website says that sometimes heron choke to death attempting to eat a fish that is too big to get down their slender necks. There has to be a lesson in all of this.

I don’t know enough about the species to be able to distinguish adults from youth but these look like they may have been youth about ready to leave the nest.

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A great blue heron made a slow approach to the island and all of us pointed our lenses up and started clicking. Great fun.

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They are a huge bird with over a 5 ft. wing span. They can appear so graceful and so awkward at times. And sometimes prehistoric.

And what is fun about looking back on this afternoon is thinking about the “pecking order” that is so prevalent. I had fun pretending that I am a “real photographer,” just like the guy next to me who was studying and photographing this nest. But we both knew he had the more expensive equipment and the biggest lens.

But I love the pics I got and look forward to returning next year during nesting season to get better ones – with my new longer lens. There has to be a lesson in all of this.


    • I haven’t yet. I have one in my wish list at B&H Photography. It is a longer one that I’m thinking about. But I also received a comment from Rick Braveheart, a professional photographer from Columbus, and he said that he was on a shoot with a friend who was using a $12,000 lens and complaining that it wasn’t long enough. 🙂 I’m not going to buy anything until I get to Michigan.


    • Thanks. It is a new challenge and I always like challenges. The big birds are easier for me than the little birds. Florida is a fun place to photograph birds.


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