Tag Archive: great blue heron

One Photo Each Month – 2012

I may have failed miserably in taking one photo a day, but I do at least have one for each month. This really does capsulize my year…:

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1. January: A pretty little downy woodpecker in the Whooping Crane Pond Conservancy on Hilton Head Island
2. February: A great blue heron up in the tree in our back yard in Hilton Head – calling to his mate. He built a nest there, and I got to watch it throughout the spring
3. March: Before the bluebirds found the bluebird box, the nuthatches were checking it out…!

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1. April: The bluebirds ultimately tried to raise their babies in the bluebird box. Unfortunately they did not make it…
2. May: The HMS Bounty — at the Tall Ships Celebration in Savannah, GA. The Bounty ultimately sunk in Hurricane Sandy off of North Carolina
3. June: A cardinal at a tree near our feeders – on Long Island

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1. July: Kezar Lake — view from the dock out to the islands
2. August: An amazing sunset and crescent moon off Wickapogue Road
3. September: At Operation Migration Crane Fest. The whooping crane chicklets after training behind an ultralight aircraft – taken from the blind in White River Marsh Wildlife Refuge in Berlin Wisconsin, where the birds had their training this summer. They are being fed grapes by their handlers. they have since migrated behind the ultralights and are now at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in Florida.

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1. October: Storm Sandy wreaks havoc in our back yard. Our cedar tree is gone
2. November: a short hike to Valley Green over Thanksgiving week – this is the covered bridge
3. December: Christmas in Hilton Head – with Misty kitty looking on.


Our trip north was when things deteriorated with my 365 photo project. I’d planned to quick run out and take one last photo of the lagoon the morning we left Hilton Head. I went to get my camera, which I’d placed in the “staging area” of our living room – but my husband had been ever so vigilant – and the camera had been long since packed in the car – and buried under a multitude of other things. There was no way I could unearth it for the photo… 😦 However, when I ran out to remove the bird feeders (which is such a sad job for me, so I wait to do it at the very last minute — the morning we are leaving), there was a most magnificent Great Blue Heron walking right on our lawn along the shore of the lagoon. I stopped short and looked at him — and “snapped the photo” in my mind. If only that camera was with me… I looked at him squarely in the eye — and he looked at me. I finally said … out loud, “Goodbye sweet Great Blue Heron, I will miss you so very much. I’ll see you in the fall.” Yeah — I know … I’m sappy. I thought my voice would scare him and he’d fly off – but he continued to look at me even as I said, “I love you sweet birdie”. I don’t know if he/she was the bird who belonged to the nest we had in our yard this spring, but I also thanked him for allowing me to see his nest while he/she raised his/her babies. He continued to look at me, but then started walking slowly across our yard — and faced the lagoon – fishing, as always.

So – – in honor of this great blue heron — a photo of another one is my photo of the day. I’m sorry that the “real” photo is only in my mind and that I can’t share it here, but here is a photo of another great blue heron in it’s place:

365 substitute photo of the day #129 (May 8) of a great blue heron taken 1/7/11 on the shores of our lagoon

And … with that we were on our way north…

The following day was a complete blur, and once my camera was unpacked, I was way too exhausted to even think about a photo of the day. These trips north (or south) with the cats are tiring, and fray my nerves. I need to remember that they always end up fine, and that it’s my lack of confidence in the entire process that makes me nervous.

365 photo #130 — Epic Fail. (May 9)

365 photo #131 — Another Epic Fail. Wildly distracted in “Unpacking hell”! (May 10)

365 photo #132 (May 11) — Finally a photo was taken. This is a mirror which we purchased from Lori Wilkinson, a vendor at “Springtime Made in the South” in February. Check out her website to see more of her wonderful work! I knew when I purchased it where it would go – in the dressing area of the bedroom. It’s made of a lovely color combination of mosaic tile and it’s gorgeous. You can see the reflection of the window to the back yard in the mirror.

365 photo #133 (May 12) – Another Epic Fail. How did that day get away from me? I was getting nervous that this project was headed for the trash. Even with forgetfulness, however, I have decided to continue…

365 photo #134 (May 13) – a sparrow of some kind – – I hope not a house sparrow, as they are the arch enemy of bluebirds and bluebird nests. I think it’s a song sparrow, though, and it was singing it’s heart out the entire time I was snapping photos! It was taken – by chance in one of our bushes. Our feeders were not yet up at this point.

365 photo #135 (May 14) – azalea bush in full bloom – with the rhododendron bush next to it just coming into bloom

365 photo #136 (May 15) – Sweet Little Misty kitty. I almost forgot to take the photo that day! The cats have made themselves at home in their Long Island home!

365 photo #137 (May 16) – the rhododendron buds are are beginning to bloom!

And .. with that I will end for this entry, but will continue with the catch-up soon…. Stay tuned!

I’m still into birds, but have decided not to make another bluebird my photo of the day. Yes – I am taking daily photos of mom and dad bluebird as they come in and out of the box. I stand close (but not too close) so that I can hear the babies squeal as one of their parents brings in a new worm or bug for them to eat. As each day goes by, their chirping and squealing gets louder, and I now can almost hear them when standing on the patio! It warms my heart to hear them, knowing I have a nest only a few feet from our house. I remain clueless as to when the eggs hatched to how old the baby birds are and when they might fledge. I searched on the internet to learn how long the babies are in the nest before they fledge, and it’s about 16 – 22 days. From the audible sounds of them – it’s possible that it could be next week… I’ve been reading up on what to do with the birdbox after they have fledged, and, from what it says in this site, it’s important to immediately clean the nest out of the bird box, then wash out the box because they might start all over again in only a few days. Bluebirds have several broods a season. We’re only here until a week from Monday – a little more than a week, so we may not be able to clean out the box. 😦

But – I digress…

Yesterday’s photo of the day will be something NONbird. in the front yard of our house, I love my sego palm, so today’s photo is a close up of the branches and some pine tree droppings that fall on them in sometimes artistic ways…

365 photo #117

Now – for the bonus photos – – and yes – they will be birds! 🙂

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1. Cardinal in the tree. Clearly there are turf wars with the male cardinals in our yard now. During nesting season this is very common
2. Here is Daddy Bluebird carrying one huge bug into the nest for the babies dinner! 🙂

For today’s 365 photo, I found a great blue heron fishing in our neighbor’s yard in front of the lagoon. I took lots of photos and here’s one of a close up of this upper torso. He was so focused on his fishing that he barely had time to be worried about me slowly getting closer to him to get the photos.

Speaking of nests, the great blue heron is still on his nest high up on the tree that overlooks the lagoon in our yard – only a few feet from the bluebird nest. I find it fascinating that they both are so different, yet are nesting so close by each other. Might we humans learn a bit about peaceful co-existence from our birdie friends?? I don’t know the status of eggs / babies, as I can’t see from the ground vantage point.

Here is the the great blue fishing:

365 photo #118

Bonus photos:

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1. a soaring osprey. Not that great a photo as I clipped one of it’s wings, but I’m learning….
2. portrait of that fishing egret.

Don’t expect much in the way of bird photos once we go north. Nothing like this anyway…. 😦

Well — that’s not totally true! I’ve just chosen not to make them one of the daily photos. That’s not to say that I didn’t take a few bird photos, but they are all “more of the same”: great blue herons and bluebirds, and I’m into “variety”! I also a shot of a ground feeding sparrow, but he, as well as the great blue heron will be bonus photos.

365 photo #95. An iris of some kind. My inlaws used to own this house before we did, and they were the ones to plant most of our landscaping, so it has been fun, over the years, to see what we have here. I was not familiar with this flower, but did some research and it’s an iris. Interesting color! The blooms do not last long, and after barely a day, they are drooping. I photographed this bloom (and a few others) at it’s prime.

Bonus photos:

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1. a branch of a sego palm in our front yard with leaves which have dropped on it.
2. great blue heron still is on the nest in the tree in our yard.

365 photo #96 As I was along the shore of the lagoon looking to take more photos of our great blue heron nest, I shot this view of a neighboring house and lush vegetation and the reflection of them in the lagoon. Sometimes it takes a photo like this to help me see how much greener the grass and trees are as spring truly arrives on the lagoon.

Bonus photos:

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1. ground feeding sparrow on our patio – eating the dropped seeds from our feeders above. Interesting how he is camoflaged with the patio stones and you can hardly see him!
2. red tip hedges in our front yard

365 photo #97 It was a raw, cold, gray day for most of yesterday so I chose to take the photo inside. It didn’t get much above 55 degrees, which is very unseasonably cold for Hilton Head Island! I went out to scout out photos, but was uninspired. So — this photo is some of the red earrings on my earring holder. As you can see, I hang them in “color coded” fashion! I purchased this two sided earring holder (which holds 80 earrings on one side) recently from a vendor at “Springtime Made in the South” craft fair in Savannah. I also have another single sided earring holder which is partially full (and another empty one so I have “room for expansion”! Do the math! Yes – I own a lot of earrings – which I’ve collected since college when I first got my ears pierced. Just as an aside — this is not the extent of my red earrings. More red earrings are located on the other side, too!

Unlike yesterday, the weather is clear and crisp today — perfect for our planned trip to Savannah today — so expect a photo from there for today’s photo!

It’s back to nature watching for me! Over the weekend on Saturday we had a bit of rain, but I wandered out when I saw a Great Blue Heron fishing as droplets of rain hit the lagoon. That will be Saturday’s 365 photo. They know, probably as much as we humans do, that fishing is best when it’s raining.

365 photo #91 – Rainy Day Great Blue Heron

On Sunday I checked, again, to see how the Great Blue Heron nest was doing that is located in a tree in our back yard, overlooking the lagoon:

365 photo #92 – Hanging out on the nest

Yesterday I took a short ride to the place that we call “The Rookery” as it’s known for nesting areas for many aquatic birds, like herons of all kinds, egrets, ibis, etc. As I walked to the tree where they often are, I could hear the squawking and flapping of wings of quite a few birds – probably working out territorial differences. As I stood there, I noticed lots of little blue herons – a much smaller version of the great blue heron – as well as one or two snowy egrets. A portrait of a little blue heron will be yesterday (Monday’s) photo.

365 Photo #93 – Little Blue Heron

Then today I have finally discovered that there *are* bluebirds hanging out in and near our bluebird box. I don’t know if there is a nest, or if they are just investigating it to see if it will be ok for a nest, but they are flying around it – in and out — and are perching on trees nearby. Bluebirds nest several times a season, and suspect this may be there second nesting, though it’s only speculation on my part. A month or so ago we had a brown headed nut hatch hanging out there. I now don’t know if he made a nest there, or if he was only looking when I took the photo and had ultimately rejected the spot. At this point I do not want to look inside for fear of disturbing a growing family!

365 photo #94 – should we nest … here?

Bonus photos:

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1. bluebird in a staging area on a tree branch
2. I’ve noticed there are a bunch of twigs, lying directly underneath the Great Blue Heron’s nest. I suspect these may be rejected twigs that were not used for the nest as they were building it. Just speculation again…! From what I gather, they are constantly building the nest, even after there are eggs.

Our azalea is now fully out, and the blooms cover (or mostly cover) the bush. The azaleas are out a little earlier this year, but then, due to the warmer winter, most everything is early. These are mature bushes. When planted back in the 1980’s, there were three different color azaleas planted together. In time – with careful trimming, they grew together to form one single “hedge like” bush. Yesterday’s photo of the day is of several of the pink blooms. in the bonus photo you can see a darker and lighter pink flowers

365 photo #67

Bonus photo:

One darker pink bloom among the lighter ones

Last night I attended an interesting workshop sponsored by the Camera Club of Hilton Head Island called, “Be A Beginner But Shoot Like a Pro”. Basically it was to explain some of the photography terminology — aperture (F-stop – or opening size – what lets in light), shutter speed, and ISO – and how these settings interact with each other depending what you’re photographing. The course is designed to help us be more comfortable using our camera’s manual settings, rather than relying on the various automatic settings. I came out of this course understanding a lot more than I did before, but realizing it will take hours of practice, lots of trial and (mostly) error, and a lot of bad shots to finally get the hang of this.

So … today I went outside to practice. And, guess what. None of THOSE shots will be today’s photo of the day. The camera’s delete key was well used! *g*. It’s my hope that my next practice session will see improvement with more usable photos!

Next Wednesday the course continues – and clearly I will be attending! LOL. One question (er – well — one of many questions!) still remains. Will I ever be comfortable enough with my manual settings to be able to get them in place fast enough so that I can get that photograph before the wildlife flies away *g*! Maybe there is a time and a place for some pre-set automatic settings for this type of situation!

Anyway — back to today’s photo…

As I was practicing my manual setting photography, I heard movement up in the pine tree above — and there … again … was Mr. (or Mrs.?) Great Blue Heron. Then I moved around a bit and noticed that there was a nest up there. Personally I’m a little skeptical that it’s great blue heron nest, as it seemed kind of small — but the bird seemed to be working on it – or watching it – or something. Maybe the nest is larger than it appears? Plus — occasionally he/she raised it’s beak high in the air and let out this long, low pitched “howl”, that sounded more like a “moan”. It had a sadness about it – and I suspect, now, it is related to nesting / mating behavior. Might we have a great blue heron nest in our yard? And – today’s photo shows the heron in the sun!

365 photo #68

Bonus photo. Heron and the nest:


I’m beginning to worry that my pictures will start to get boring, as I repeatedly use the same subjects for my photos. I realize that’s an occupational hazard if one is taking photos every day. Yesterday’s photo is one of these times, as I — yet again — have a photo of a great blue heron. These majestic birds seem to be the ones populating our lagoon area the most. And, they seem to be the easiest to photograph as they aren’t as skittish. We do have ibis, egrets, and, of course those ospreys who are repairing their nest in preparation for eggs. And – I could also take a photo of a “crow-a-day” if wanted.

This great blue heron was not up a tree as the one of a few days ago. Instead, he was standing on one end of our lagoon – fishing – intently – as they usually are. I decided to quietly walk closer to him – as close as he’d allow, and took photos periodically as I got nearer. He was so engrossed on finding “dinner”, that he wasn’t paying much attention to me, and was able to get close enough so that he’s large in my photo.

365 photo #50

Bonus photos:

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1. This is the edge of the lagoon shoreline where are back yard faces.
2. Another shot of “Big Blue” (as I call him)

Today I was not in the mood for photography, and the day got away from me. Guess I was kind of sluggish about a lot of things, as I accomplished little, except to get a photo print matted, and it’s digital equivalent electronically submitted for the camera club competition tomorrow. (I have never mounted or matted a photos, so I hope I did it ok.)

Suddenly it was dusk, and I had not taken a photo, so I quickly snapped this of our dining area off the kitchen. This is the lagoon view from two of the five sliding glass doors which face that way. Oh yes … I know we are blessed! 🙂

365 photo #51

What a change only a few hours can make. This morning, the sun was shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. Now it’s cloudy, raw and damp, and even though the temperature has not really fallen, it feels cooler because of the dampness. I should have gone out this morning in the sunlight to scout out a photo – but didn’t – and was left with what is. But – I was rewarded, anyway. I went outside and stood quietly with my camera – listening. There was a woodpecker … somewhere … working feverishly on some dead part of a tree. I never did find him. Many songbirds with their tell tale calls had me looking here and there for their presence, but they stayed well hidden. There was a coot and a grebe on the lagoon – but very far away. An occasional bird would fly to the feeder from some unknown location, but would quickly fly back, probably because of my presence. I shivered … I’d forgotten to put on a jacket….

Then – I looked up … and there he was — a gorgeous great blue heron high up in one of our pine trees, and he stayed long enough for me to get a few photos of him. He will be today’s photo of the day:

365 photo #49

Bonus photo — another view of him:


There was a brief break in the clouds today, and I took advantage when I noticed a great blue heron intently fishing by the side of the lagoon. It was close enough to the house for me to creep up on him to get more of a close up. I got him opening his mouth — not sure why — but it was right before he took off. I probably got too close…

365 photo #48

Two bonus photos:

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1. The great blue heron flies away. This is best seen at “original size” – so click to see it in Flickr
2. Update on the daffodils. they are blooming – but not as well as last year. The other, larger patch of daffodils are not blooming at all, and I wonder if the squirrels are getting the blooms as fast as they come out! It looks like the blooms have been “nipped” off… In this photo you can see the lagoon in the background

I’m way behind in my postings, but I have pictures to show for those days – so here we go!

On Tuesday I was very busy with preparations to host our small group from church. I admit … I don’t entertain easily, so it takes a lot of emotional energy, and overt planning from me — more than the average person, I think. So – I didn’t spend a lot of time on photographs. So – my 365 photo is not original in the least — it’s yet another photo of a bird taken from the sliding glass door while it sat on the camellia bush waiting to go to the feeders. This time the bird is a chickadee:

365 photo #38

No bonus photo…

Oh — and the small group event at our house went very well. The meal was delicious, and the discussion on the book we’re doing was very thought provoking!

Yesterday I have many photos from which to choose. I didn’t know I was going to be going on a photo walk, but when my good friend, Kim came over to drop off some matting material that I can use for the camera club competition, we decided to take the time to walk around with our cameras. There’s *always* time for that!

We began in our back yard – then drove to Dolphin Head beach, with an impromptu stop off along the side of the road where there were a variety of aquatic birds perched along the lagoon there: a pelican, some cormorants, an anhinga and a great blue heron. I really love it when different kinds of birds are able to co-exist peaceably together! Might we humans learn from this?? After Dolphin Head, it was then onto Boneyard Beach, where there were egrets and a “convention” of seagulls. I spent last night going through numerous photos – and choosing the best to put up on Flickr. What should I choose for yesterday’s photo. As I type this, I still am not sure….

Ok — decision made. I think yesterday’s 365 photo will be another one of a bald eagle, found on Dolphin Head beach. Sightings of them happen, but it’s still exciting for me when I see one, and get to photograph him. Kim recognized his call, and others, who had seen him first, helped us spot him high in a tree. I was able to move closer to him before he flew off. I had hoped to photograph his take off – but I’m not that good. it was sudden and way too fast for me to catch that.

365 photo #39

Here’s a group of bonus photos for yesterday – mainly because it was hard to decide. Click any photo to see it larger in my flickr site:

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1. A pelican and two cormorants in the background
2. A great blue heron and a cormorant – drying his wings

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1. An anhinga – drying his wings!
2. A convention of seagulls — with one egret.

A Snowy Egret is off!

Today was a little light on photos – but after dark I took a picture of a print of a Siamese Cat by Fritz Hug that hangs in our bedroom. It’s one I’ve had since I was a teenager, purchased on the boardwalk at Ocean City, NJ for probably not much more than $10. I didn’t have all that much money back then, so it couldn’t have been more. I grew up with Siamese cats – and had two sweet Siamese kitties early in my marriage, so I’ve loved this print. It’s followed me throughout my life … hung on my wall all through college, and then in our living room once Ray and I were married. Then when we came down here to Hilton Head for winters, I knew it belonged here because the colors are perfect. It wasn’t framed for years, but for one Christmas, my mom and dad did that for me. I don’t know who “Fritz Hug” and just now tried to do a search on him, but I can’t find much, but I’m glad he created this!

365 photo #40
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