Immature Great Blue Heron in a Snow Storm

Immature Great Blue Heron in a Christmas Snow StormImmature Great Blue Heron in a Christmas Snow Storm – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 640, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

It was snowing at Farmington Bay WMA on Christmas day so the light was low, visibility was poor and birds were difficult for me to spot at any distance. When I first saw a shape on the shoreline I couldn’t make out what it was, I couldn’t even determine if the dark shape was a bird or a creature but as we got closer I saw that it was a Great Blue Heron hunched over to fend off the cold.

As I focused on the Great Blue Heron I could tell it was an immature bird braving its first winter alone in the marshes of Farmington Bay. I knew this was a young Great Blue because the rusty colored shoulder patches would be more pronounced on a mature Great Blue Heron and there wouldn’t be small buffy spots on the wing coverts on a mature bird either.

Watching this heron made me think of how our birds and animals struggle to get through the harshness of winter and much like the first year Red-tailed Hawk I also photographed on Christmas Day, I hope this young Great Blue Heron makes it through to the warmer days of spring.

Life is good.



  1. Humming bird lover December 31, 2016 at 10:44 am

    HI honey! Poor bird looks so cold! Great shot ! It is cold here in Va. sun is shinnying , But wind is really cold! Sure wish you’s would have a clear night so you could see the Comet cross the moon tonight near midnight??? Love ya’s Happy New Year 2017

  2. Nicole Haller-Wilson December 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I hope so too…

  3. Elephant's Child December 30, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    Echoing your hopes for this bird.

  4. Utahbooklover December 30, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Lonely and bleak image reminds us what a struggle it is for wildlife to survive the winter.

  5. M. Bruce December 30, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Life on the edge!

  6. April Olson December 30, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It is probably regretting missing the boat south at that point.

  7. Patty Chadwick December 30, 2016 at 8:58 am

    This poor bird looks desolate…i don’t know how they even survive in winter wihen the waters they fish in are frozen…it is such a struggle for so many creatures…I fear for the future even more….

  8. Jane Chesebrough December 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I am glad that you described the rust patches because sometimes I see those and sometimes I don’t .Now I know why.Looks kind of lonely out there all alone.but I always see them alone in the summer, too.

  9. Bob McPherson December 30, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Beautiful winter image, Mia.

Comments are closed.