Grey Heron

If you want to photograph wild life you will know that you need to move quietly; and that is often best achieved when you are on your own with no one to chatter to.

Yesterday I dropped the car off on the outskirts of Milton Keynes for its annual service and walked the two miles into the city centre. It’s a pleasant walk along cycle ways, around Willen Lake, through parkland, with a short stretch along a canal before the final uphill section through Campbell Park. My plan had been to capture some Spring images in sections of woodland, but the sun was reluctant to put in an appearance. I was having to search hard for something to photograph.

Walking along the canal quietly looking for reflections cast by canal barges I was surprised to spot a Grey Heron standing on the tow path ahead of me next to a couple of barges. Waiting for breakfast to be served? Surely not!

_DS82860The Heron saw me but was in no hurry to move, taking the occasional slow-mo step so characteristic of the bird. I cautiously approached shooting images as I moved. I got surprisingly close, but I could sense that he (she?) was preparing to fly.

The camera was glued to my eye when the Heron finally did take flight and I just shot instinctively, more in hope than certainty. It was only when I got home and downloaded the images that I discovered that I had captured a whole bird. Fluke!

_DS82861The Heron didn’t fly far, just to the opposite bank giving me the opportunity to capture another image.

_DS82862Herons are birds I have occasionally seen, standing motionless on river banks but I’ve never been able to get as close as this to one of these graceful birds. Life is full of surprises. Go prepared.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to Grey Heron

  1. Great stuff Andy – patience rewarded!

  2. alan frost says:

    Excellent post. …… A good example of ‘always have a camera with you’

  3. oneowner says:

    I’ve long admired good bird photography, partly because I know how difficult it can be. Herons are skittish birds and a good telephoto lens is a must. These two are very nice, indeed.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. I’ve never really tried bird photography so I was very surprised to discover I had a whole bird in the frame when it took off! Thankfully I had decided to take my 18-250 zoom (on a DX body) and these were all shot towards the long end of the zoom’s range.

  4. Chillbrook says:

    I love the shot of the heron taking flight Andy! Superb!

  5. Pete Buckley says:

    Nice photos – love these birds – often see them around Lymm in Cheshire where my parents are but they always fly off before I can get a photo!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Pete – you don’t really expect one on quite a busy canal (although at 9am there was nothing moving). I wonder whether this one had got a little more used to people because as you say, in my experience too, they take flight very readily.

  6. shoreacres says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to know this one had become accustomed to people. They can be rather social birds, actually. We have a good number of them around here, and they quickly learn that, where the fishermen are, there are fish! Wade fishermen especially will flip too-small or otherwise undesirable fish to them, and that encourages them to hang around.

    The “in-flight” photo is great.And isn’t it fun to come home and discover something lurking inside the camera that you hadn’t really expected? It’s the best kind of surprise.

    • LensScaper says:

      I’m sure you are right Linda about your hypothesis of ‘accustomisation’ (is that a word!). I’ve reached the point where I can take pictures easily without glasses but need a pair to be able to accurately interpret the back screen – so it was a very pleasant surprise to discover I had captured a good ‘in flight’ shot and that is was sharp.

  7. seekraz says:

    Well-done, Andy…and it’s a beautiful bird, as well.

  8. elisa ruland says:

    I’ve only seen herons from a great distance, what a treat to see them up close. Love the second shot where he’s about to take flight.

  9. Len says:

    Not flukey Andy. You have a great sense of capturing things and skill counts for something.

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