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Posts Tagged ‘Great Blue Heron in a tree’

At this time of the year, I sometimes complain that the leaves that are still on the trees prevent me from spotting birds. While that is definitely true for small birds like warblers, Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) are so big that it is hard to miss them when they are perched in a tree, even when they are partially hidden by the foliage.

Last week I was walking down one of the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when I heard the unmistakable squawk of a Great Blue Heron. It is hard to describe this distinctive sound, but the Farmer’s Almanac website did so with these words, “The Great Blue Herons “squawk” or croak has an almost prehistoric sound. If you surprise this bird as it is hunting on the water, it will squawk as it leaves, almost as if it’s annoyed by your disturbance.”

After hearing the squawk, I watched as the Great Blue Heron landed in a nearby tree. There was a good deal of foliage between me and the heron, which helped to conceal my presence, but it made it tough for me to get a clear shot of this big bird. Eventually I managed to capture some shots of the heron in a number of different poses. The background is pretty cluttered, but it helps to give you a good sense of the environment in which I found this Great Blue Heron.

Unlike Great Egrets, which migrate south for the winter, Great Blue Herons remain with us throughout the year. Do not be surprised if you see a few more heron shots in the upcoming months. As the leaves fall from the trees and many other birds depart, I suspect that I will be spending more time observing Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Heron

 

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The early morning sun was beginning to warm the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) that I spotted in a tree last Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a perch where I suspected the heron had spent the previous night. I quickly got a few shots and quietly moved on—I think the heron dozed off again after I had passed by.

When I took these shots, I was close enough to the heron that I was able to zoom in with my telephoto lens and capture some wonderful details in the feathers. The sunlight was warm and beautiful during that early portion of the day, part of the so-called “golden hour,” when subjects take on a golden glow. I have gotten a little lazy about rising at dawn, but this day was a pointed reminder of the potential benefits of doing so.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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