Great Blue Heron Strutting Its Stuff In The Wetlands / by Todd Henson

Great Blue Heron strutting its stuff, reflected in the wetlands.

Great Blue Herons are beautiful birds that feed and live around water. On this particular day the wetlands were full of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets, all keeping close watch below the surface for their next meal, but also watching one another. These birds can be somewhat territorial and will try to chase off any that approach too close, though that didn’t occur in this case.

This heron had just caught and swallowed a fish and was now lifting its head and looking around, letting gravity help with the fish. I like the look of its plumage at the base of its long neck, the feathers spreading out towards the water. Some of these feathers can also be seen on its back, though not quite as striking in this photograph.

I’d been watching and photographing this heron for about 15 minutes before creating this image. I also captured images of it catching and eating the fish. But the heron was facing away from the camera at that time and the images just didn’t come out as well as this one, when it was almost parallel to the camera, or actually leaning just slightly towards the camera. The sun was behind my back, which helped light up the heron in this position.

In the end, I spent 3 hours at the park this day, which is not at all unusual. The light is softer first thing in the morning, and the animals are usually more active early. But there is often still activity to watch and photograph throughout the morning. There have been days when I spent 6 to 7 hours at the park. It’s so easy to lose track of time when watching these fantastic birds.