A Great Blue Heron's giftA Great Blue Heron’s gift – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm at 100mm, natural light

Yesterday while I was reprocessing some files I had taken on January 1, 2009 I came across this Great Blue Heron image I had taken at Fort De Soto County Park. By January in Florida the Great Blue Herons are already going into breeding plumage, have begun courtship displays and have started building their nests. I was walking in a wooded area on New Year’s Day and in the distance saw a Great Blue Heron flying in with a small branch in his bill but I wasn’t able to get a clear shot until he was flying almost directly over my head because of the trees that surrounded me. After I took this photo the male Great Blue Heron landed on a branch in a tree where the female was waiting for him and he presented his gift to her. In January the courtship of Great Blue Herons at Fort De Soto is in full swing.

A Great Blue Heron on a January day in UtahA Great Blue Heron on a January day in Utah – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light

This is what the Great Blue Herons are doing in Utah on our cold January days. Ah well, they will also be thinking about courtship in just a few weeks when the snow and ice melts and the days grow longer and warmer.