A Couple More Great Blue Heron Shots

I doubt I’ll get back to Big Beef Creek this year unless the season runs longer than usual, so I’ll end this episode with a couple of my favorite shots of the Great Blue Herons.

The main reason this is my favorite place to shoot herons is that you actually get to look down on them as they fly past,

and you’ll never find them with a bigger catch than they make here routinely.

The Value of Patience

As it turned out the birding was better at Seabeck than at Big Beef Creek. I saw my first juveniles at Seabeck. This one flew over my head and landed a block or so down the road and waited for me to get there before flying off.

As I headed back to where the herons were feeding, this beautiful adult landed in almost the same spot and seemed entirely indifferent to my presence, giving me time to change the angle and the background. It was strangely thrilling being this close to these powerful birds.

Unfortunately, I was seduced by the close-up shots so I missed the kind of shots I was really shooting for. While walking back, the Bald Eagle flew past and buzzed the herons to get them to drop their catch.

A few minutes later the juvenile pulled the same trick.

Maybe in my next life I’ll learn the value of patience, though not if the last 75 years are any indication.

Eagles at Big Beef Creek

Because the Great Blue Herons weren’t catching sculpin near the shore, there weren’t many Bald Eagles at Big Beef Creek. The pair that seem to live there were hanging out together in the tall fir and they both flew out, caught a sculpin, and flew back

to same tree where they seem to feed on their catch every time I’ve been there.

After feeding, the pair rejoined each other on the beach and proceeded to “sing” for a steady five minutes — the first time I’ve observed that behavior.

It was slow enough and the tide was far enough out that I decided after a few hours to go to Seabeck to see what I could see there.

Just Paint Me Optimistic

As a photographer, I always believe that my next picture is going to be the best picture that I’ve ever taken. If I didn’t believe that, it certainly wouldn’t make any sense to have returned to Big Beef Creek early in the morning last week. Hoping to see some interaction between eagles and more interactions between eagles and Great Blue Herons (GBH), I got up early and arrived at Big Beef Creek about two hours after high tide.

Again I was rewarded with some shots of Great Blue Heron flying over in early morning light.

Unfortunately, the GBH were not catching any fish close to shore, and all I got was shots of them flying by.

Like any good fisherman, the herons started looking for better fishing grounds, which meant moving further and further away from where I was photographing. I was able to get a few shots that I liked, like this one,

but it didn’t take long to realize I wasn’t going to get anything special when they were this far away.