Seabeck’s Great Blue Herons

Unlike most photographers, I don’t go to Big Beef Creek to get great Bald Eagle Shots — though I probably spend more time trying to capture shots of them than I do trying to capture shots of Great Blue Herons. Still, my favorite shots from Big Beef Creek and Seabeck are the shots of the Great Blue Herons floating by below me,

Great Blue Heron flyby

gracefully landing with outspread wings,

Great Blue Heron landing

or snatching fish from the water.

Great Blue Heron with fish

I’ve taken pictures of Great Blue Herons nearly fourteen years now, but my favorite shots are those taken at Seabeck. As it turns out, these three aren’t quite as good as ones I’ve taken there before.

Back to Seabeck

After we unpacked from our Malheur/Bear River/Santa Rosa trip we headed up to Seabeck, knowing full well that we had already missed the best times to see the Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. The tide wasn’t ideal but got even worse on any of the days before we were to leave for Colorado.

If I hadn’t had such great days in previous years, I would probably have been more than happy with the shots on this visit. After all, this immature Bald Eagle was waiting for us at Big Beef Creek when we pulled up,

and I only had to wait a half hour or so before this mature Bald Eagle swooped down

but missed his catch.

Although there was a really long stretch of time with little or no action, we did manage to get some close-up shots of another immature Bald Eagle

and adult Bald Eagle at Seabeck.

This Bald Eagle was so close that I couldn’t resist cropping it into a headshot.

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.