Saturday Snapshot May 2: Big is Beautiful

It was a grey and overcast evening sky. I was driving away slowly, resigned that not everyday had to be a fruitful birding day. And then I saw it.

From afar, it looked mythical, like a miniature Loch Ness monster, still as a statue. I quickly and quietly got out of the car and made my way closer.

Lock Ness ?

The Loch Ness monster doesn’t have a beak, does it?

Lock Ness 2

No mistaking now… I’d come face to face (almost) with a Great Blue Heron:

Face to face

For the next few days, I went back to that pond and experienced some gratifying moments. I saw two Great Blue Herons the next day, albeit hard to get them both together in one frame. Here are some images:


I’m one who often plays down sheer size. I take pleasure in the small things I can find and not derive joy from how big a bird is. However, I must say, this time seeing the Great Blue Heron makes me see that sometimes size does matter. In comparison with the ducks, the Great Blue Heron distinctly stands out:

GBH Size

GBH preening

Aloof and stoic, the Heron is also very sensitive and camera shy.

Camera shy 1

Seeing me take a few steps closer, it quickly took off. In relatively slow motion, it lifted off with majestic poise. This is what I’ve found: the bigger the bird, the slower the flapping of wings, the more graceful it is in flight. I admit these are not the sharpest pictures, but they are the best shots I could get:

Camera shy

taking off 2

GBH takes off


I call that a fruitful day.


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

24 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot May 2: Big is Beautiful”

  1. Fabulous, fabulous! Do you hear me clapping across the miles? Oh, I’ve just been editing heron shots and would give the world to get anything of them flying so lovely as what you did. I know what you mean about large versus small, but the heron is a different beast. There is an elegance, a grace that mesmerizes me. They aren’t the most beautiful of birds when you look close in that zoom — not always. But step back a bit, watch them hunt/fish, watch them fly, watch them tread ever so gracefully in the water and it can take your breath away!

    I am so, so happy you got to see your Great Blue! And more than one! May you have many more sightings!


    1. Jeanie,

      So glad you share my excitement! My previous sightings of a GBH was out of town where I’d to drive a bit and found their nests, across a river. The second time was in Vancouver, much farther. I suppose near the coast you’d see more of them. But at the foothills of the Rockies? This is the first time I see them right in my neck of the woods, oh maybe 15 mins. drive. Very close by and yes, I went back again the next few days and saw it (he/she?) again a couple of times. So, I’ve got a lot of pics but none very sharp though. These photos are the best one I can find. Oh, it flies, mainly to get away from me. And stay tuned for the next Sat. Snapshot: the Great Horned owlets.


    1. Thanks, JoAnn. Yes, that’s a beautiful pose. It’s still from a distance you know, have to crop and edit a bit. I’ll be sure to revisit that pond more often.


  2. One reason it’s hard to get photos of two herons together is because of their strong territoriality. They never flock — they’re loners. Your photos are beautiful. They’re one of my favorite birds, and I’m so glad you’re getting to enjoy them now, too!


    1. Linda,

      Actually they were very close to each other and I first thought they were mates. But later one was too scared of me getting closer and flew away. Actually I wasn’t very close, at the other side of the pond. But they were so sensitive. I’m sure you see a lot of them by the Gulf Coast. Here, the GBH is a relatively rare sight.


  3. Lovely! Funnily enough, my friend takes lots of pictures of birds but it wasn’t until I saw your heron at that angle that I realised what a likeness there is to Nessie.


    1. Denise,

      Yes, when I uploaded the pics I instantly thought of the Loch Ness monster. Maybe the grey sky and water add to the effects. Are you anywhere close to there?


  4. So beautiful Arti! Bookman and I rode our bikes by where he had seen the heron last weekend but it wasn’t there so thanks for your photos making up a little for what I didn’t get to see in person 🙂


  5. Nice captures! The take off shot and the one after really stand out for me. I love herons. I had to chase one off the road once. He was wandering on a small rural highway and I was afraid he was going to get hit. He backed up traffic a ways before deciding to leave. They have crazy eyes at 10 feet! LOL!


  6. That long elongated neck makes me look at your photos twice — face-on, the bird looks stretched, as though the photo were compressed on both sides. Beautiful images, especially of the spread wings displaying that gorgeous shade of blue.


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