Great Blue Heron, White Lake ON

As I paddle doggedly across a “flat cam” sea – er, lake – on the hottest day of the summer (which is, ironically, the first day of autumn), the sweat crawls out from under my hat and drips into my eyes. A great blue heron sweeps effortlessly along about two feet off the water and only twenty feet ahead of my kayak.

Ignoring my trajectory, Great Blue lands in the small bay in front of our weekend abode. He/she obligingly sticks around until I can lever myself out of the kayak, get my camera from the house up on the hill, and return to sit at the end of the dock.

Pictures of birds in their normal habitat can be wonderful, but perfect composition is rare. In this case, the logs and branches in the background and the floating leaves in the foreground conspire to messify the photos. But it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to watch this magnificent bird hunt, close up.

Great blue heron erect with neck outstretched, standing in pond.

Great blue heron in hunting pose, standing in autumn-coloured pond.





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4 Responses to Great Blue Heron, White Lake ON

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Somewhere off Lake Opinicon, on an abandoned railroad track leading towards Westbridge, there’s a pond with a lot of dead trees in it that has become a heron rookery. Joan and I walked to it in the late 1980s, the year our daughter worked as a cook for the Biology Camp on Opinicon. It might still be there, if you happen to be driving down from Ottawa to Kingston.
    I have to say that the heron, outside of its wading habitat, is a less impressive bird. The nests look as if they should all come crashing down. The fledgelings are as big as their parents, but hopelessly awkward. The noise and smell are, umm, noisy and smelly.
    But it’s still possible to stand there for hours watching the birds take off and return to their nests.

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – We do go to Kingston, from time to time, so I’ll add this to my list of places to drag the Big Guy to. Or at least to see if we can find it. Thanks!

  2. Years ago, John’s 10-year-old nephew, on a visit here from the UK, watched a heron take flight and he said, “It’s like watching a marionette bird take off, without the strings.”

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – The herons and cranes are amazing birds. I’m hoping to get close to some in Florida in January, assuming their habitat survived the latest hurricane.

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