Preening Great Blue Heron in the Gulf of Mexico

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Great Blue Herons, Pinellas County/Preening Great Blue Heron in the Gulf of Mexico

Preening Great Blue Heron on an old stumpPreening Great Blue Heron on an old stump – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 300mm, natural light

This photo of a preening Great Blue Heron on an old stump in the water of the Gulf of Mexico is far from perfect but I still like it for the behavior that it shows. I took this image while I was either wading or sitting in the water just off of the shoreline of the north beach of Fort De Soto County Park, there were some stumps from invasive Australian Pines in the water that the Great Blue Heron perched in the golden light of dawn where for a bit the heron tried to catch bait fish that were near the stump and after it gave up on that it began to preen. I was low enough in the warm water of the Gulf that I was actually looking up at the heron while I photographed it.

Even though I did not have eye contact with this Great Blue Heron when I took this image I like how the heron was comfortable enough in my presence that it basically ignored me and went about the business of being a bird and inspecting its feathers while it preened. I find a bit of humor in this pose too.

Sometimes I wish that the Great Blue Herons here in Utah were as relaxed around people as they were in Florida but in all honesty I like how wild they are here, it does make them more challenging to photograph.

Life is good.



  1. Anita Cothern Austin May 22, 2017 at 4:03 am

    I think the comfort level of a Great Blue Herons or a Pelican may be linked to the individual who is watching them. It’s instinctively measured by the birds. They feel your energy and know you are not a threat. I have loved the Great Blue Herons since my first encounter in Florida in the early 70’s.

  2. Elephants Child May 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Stunning image.
    I am glad that it felt unthreatened and comfortable, but like April I am happy to see a level of caution. We do so much damage. Sometimes unintentionally.

  3. April Olson May 21, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I wish they were less jumpy here in Utah for photography sake but after volunteering in rehab for many years I am glad they stay away from humans. I would rather have them err on safety.

  4. stephen May 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Beautiful shot Mia.

  5. suzanne Mcdougal May 21, 2017 at 6:47 am

    The morning light makes the colors of Heron and water a perfect harmony.

  6. Bob mcpherson May 21, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Cool photo, MiA.

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