Monday, November 30, 2009

A Sunny Afternoon

Watching You, Great Blue Heron

Today started out with clouds and showers, which was expected and I resigned myself to another day off work, stuck indoors. That all changed around noon when the sun broke out through the clouds, at which point I knew what I had to do, get out of the house! An hour later I was out at the bird sanctuary shooting, on a cool, blustery afternoon. The sunlight had a warm colour to it, as usual for this time of year in the afternoon, and it made for great picture taking.

The strong winds meant that the birds would not be overly active, but it was great to have a sunny afternoon out of the house. The change in weather was not the only treat I received this afternoon, I got up close and personal with one of my favorite birds, a Great Blue Heron. My walk around the bird sanctuary started out uneventful, the strong winds had most likely pushed the majority of the birds inland for the afternoon. Not all the birds went inland with the strong coastal winds though. The large flocks of Lesser Snow Geese were very active, most likely because they have missed the sun as much as I have.

A Flock of Lesser Snow Geese in Flight

After watching the Snow Geese for a while I moved into the inner trails around the marsh and that was when I encountered a Great Blue Heron, up close. In most situations a Great Blue Heron will not allow you to get very close, they like their space. I can only think the reason the Heron allowed me to get as close as I did, was due to the slow nature of my approach. When I first encountered the bird I was about 20 meters away, which is about as close as I have been able to get in the past. I figured the Heron would fly away, but when I did not, I slowly approached the bird again, walking on a line closer, but not directly at the Heron. A few minutes later I was less than 5 meters from the Heron. By that time I must have been getting used to my presence, because it was starting to remove some old feathers from one of the wings. I took a few shots, including the first picture in today's post and then moved on.

The rest of the afternoon was pleasant, but did not offer very many good photographic opportunities. I think I was just glad to get out, and see the birds again, more than anything else.