Great Blue Heron Winter Delight

Great Blue Heron next to a creek

Great Blue Heron next to a creek  – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I spotted this Great Blue Heron yesterday at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area and loved the setting with the fresh snow blanketing the steep creek bank. I also thought the shadow of the bird was great and if you look very closely behind the bird you can see where the wingtips of the heron brushed the pristine snow when it landed in this location.

Great Blue Heron Shadow Play

Great Blue Heron “Bill Puppet” – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 221mm, natural light

 This sort of reminds me of playing “Hand Puppet” when I was a child because of the heron’s shadow. This was one of the most cooperative Great Blue Herons I have come across at Farmington Bay WMA.

The images that follow are in sequential order and show the Great Blue Heron lifting off from this location and moving about 50 feet to the west. (techs to follow the images)

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 1

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 1

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 2

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 2

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 3

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 3

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 4

Great Blue Heron Lift Off 4

Great Blue Heron Flight 1

Great Blue Heron Flight 1

Great Blue Heron Flight 2

Great Blue Heron Flight 2

Great Blue Heron Flight 3

Great Blue Heron Flight 3

Great Blue Heron Flight 4

Great Blue Heron Flight 4

Great Blue Heron Flight 5

Great Blue Heron Flight 5

Great Blue Heron Flight 5

Great Blue Heron Flight 6

All of these images were taken with these techs – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 200mm, natural light, the shutter speed for the last image was 1/3200.

The photos taken sequentially after these unfortunately had grasses in front of the heron that would have been distracting as the bird landed in the new location. Those landing shots would have been wonderful without the obstructions.

The snow made a lovely background for these heron images but not so much for those of us using the roads at Farmington Bay WMA yesterday. There was a duck hunting boat that slid off the road at a turn, I bet they had to use a winch to pull the boat out from the back to prevent the heavy rear end of it from sliding further down the steep shoulder.  Those duck hunters didn’t look happy.

The roads were slippery, the snow was deep. I would not recommend going there for a few days unless you have a high clearance vehicle and 4 wheel drive.

Mia

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

41 Comments

  1. Pingback: Some fun with birds from yesterday

  2. Pingback: Ring-necked Pheasant hen in snow | Mia McPherson's On The Wing Photography

  3. Lovely photos, Mia. I really like the bird’s crisp shadow on the snow.

  4. Love the snowy background, although the GBH doesn’t seem to be enjoying it as much. 8-)

    • I’m sure the Great Blue was a touch uncomfy Elijah, I saw this bird yesterday hunched down and shivering. And it is colder this morning than yesterday. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Like the shadows on the snow, especially the second one.Was it different to get the right exposure?

  6. Mia as usual fantastic, wonderful pictures and I love how you were able to shoot the heron in take off motions. I can understand that every time you get those pictures you’re really proud and you must be. Wonderful.

  7. Fantastic, in flight. You caught it, brilliant.

  8. Way to go..the snow is perfect, the shadows are marvelous and the heron is magnificent. Love them all.

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  10. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Dear Mia, What extraordinary photos! I love the way you’ve used the shadow to repeat shapes of the dynamics of the bird’s flight. You take my breath away! Wonderful.

  11. Very cool Mia, a Great Blue in snow is not something we get to see much in Phoenix. They’re tough birds!

  12. Speachless! Perfect lighting, fabulous shadow and well I’m a heron junkie so you can’t go wrong there. Amazing (and cold)!

  13. You got him perfectly. Can you some my way?

  14. Glad you got to get out before the inversion sets back in. Wonderful series you captured Mia.

  15. Stunning images, Mia. I love the snow background. Those herons pop.

  16. Wonderful flight shots – great looks at the feather arrangement from under and on top of the wings.
    An interesting contrast to the backgrounds in the shots I took two days ago at Viera Wetlands in sunny Florida where the birds are actively adding twigs to their nests in the palm trees. The snow really makes the gray of the heron pop off the page.

    • Thanks Dave, I liked how these showed the feather definition too. You know, I always get tickled when comparing my Florida images of these herons to my Utah images, sugar white sand in FL and snow in UT!

  17. Wow, what delightful, fantastic images. I love the shadow of the bird in the series

  18. These images are exquisite Mia. I’d love to talk to you one day about your settings, you’ve got such fast shutter speeds – ahh I’m thinking it must be really bright in snowy conditions when the sun is shining, I’ve been imagining it as dark. Maybe that’s the answer …

  19. What a champ, I love it! This was my “king” poser when I was in Florida, always giving me the best poses ever imaginable. You caught it in all its glory!!!

  20. Awesome shots of the GB Heron. I like the shadows, cool captures.

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