Long Necks

Egrets and Herons... I just can't look away. 

It was all the heron's fault, really.

The great blue heron drew me back into photography when I needed it the most. A couple years ago, I was recovering from a fractured spine after a paragliding accident. I couldn't do any "fun stuff" like that for at least 6 months. One morning while I was sitting on the front deck thinking about all the things I wanted to be doing, a great blue heron glided in to land in the marsh a couple hundred yards away.

I probably was jealous of the bird for a moment, wishing I could be flying. But as I watched I started to realize how patient herons are, how long they sit still just waiting for their moment: cool as a cucumber, but quick as an arrow. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself, and recognize everything that was right in front of me.

That summer, and ever since I've seen so many herons and their egret cousins, and the more I reflect on them, the more I realize that these birds are a symbol of strength for me.

A few months ago I started a personal project of photographing herons, egrets, and other shore birds. My goal is to capture and express their character and behavior. These aren't intended to be wildlife documentary style photographs, but more of an artistic representation that inspires an interest in these animals.

Almost every day I drive by marsh lands on my commute to work, so I take a few moments on the way whenever I can to stop and  watch. Sometimes it takes hours, but I love every minutes of it. The season is winding down now, however. Now that daylight savings time is over it's dark when I get out of work. There likely won't be very many more images of herons and egrets coming out of my camera until next year. But here are a few that bring me joy.

 My intention is to find a way to use these images to give back to the birds that have inspired me. To raise awareness for the importance of preserving the habitats they call home (not just for them, but for hundreds of other species that live in these coastal marshes)

Most of the birds pictured here spend a some of their time in the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.
More information about the national wildlife refuge can be found on the US Fish and Wildlife Service Website. Or check out the Friends of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge site.

To learn more about the Wells reserve, visit Wells Reserve at Laudholm.

And if you've taken an interest in bird photography yourself, a good resource is
Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography.
Please note that all of the photos shown here were taken with telephoto lenses to avoid getting too close, and disturbing them.