Sunday, July 28, 2013

Strangely Beautiful

From day to day I never know what I will see outside my window.  Sometimes it's the resident bluebird family I have come to count on each day, and then sometimes it is something completely unexpected but amazing!

We have lots of Great Blue Herons that visit us, so seeing them is nothing new, but today, while hanging out with the dogs, I noticed a huge flash outside our back door.  What made this unusual was that the flurry of large wings didn't move past quickly and go towards the creek, but instead this majestic bird landed in one of our walnut trees away from the water but relatively close to our house.

Herons in the wild are extremely temperamental and wary of people, so I doubted I would be able to capture this unusually "close" encounter, but I grabbed my camera anyway and headed outside.  I was sure that when I opened the door it would take flight, but it stayed put and kept its eye on me.

As I edged my way closer, ever so slowly, I noticed something had a dark black eye...something I have never seen in all my years of photographing and watching herons.

Their eyes are normally yellow, and as you can see in the image above, its left eye looked like what I am accustomed to seeing when I look at a heron's eyes.

At first I wondered if perhaps it was a eye lid I had captured in the down position, but as I snapped away and came inside and really magnified the images it became clear that the eye was completely black, but not cloudy in any way.

It made me wonder if that could be why this particular heron was so different from any I had encountered before.  We usually can't get within 200 feet of one before they fly off, squawking with dismay, and I have plenty of heron "butt" pictures to prove this.

Instead of fleeing, this bird seemed to almost want me to get closer, to make note of his or her uniqueness.  I also think that this might be a juvenile, though it stood about 4 feet tall and easily had a wing span in excess of 5 feet.  The mottled neck feathers and chestnut edging on it's wings and near its legs can be an indication of its immaturity.

After a bit, he or she decided to move on, and flew off towards the water.  I was so happy I had talked myself into going out and taking a chance even though past experience dictated that I would only capture pictures of a fleeing bird.

And the bonus is that this heron was even more lovely with its mismatched eyes.  To me, it made it even more beautiful.  Some people find differences to just be strange...I find them to be captivating, and strangely beautiful!

Enjoy your day!


  1. That last photo took my breath away! You should be consulting with audubon!

  2. WOW...absolutely beautiful! Your photos are amazing, so crisp and clear. Thanks so much for sharing this and I hope you'll share at Amaze Me Monday this week. Keep looking out your window, always a treat to see all the wildlife you capture...

  3. OMG, these are gorgeous images, Kat. Geez! Wondering if the heron is maybe blind in the one eye. When we lived above the pond at the horse farm, I would see these beauties all the time. But the only ones I see now are from afar, when I drive to and from work which is a little town by a river that leads to the bay.

  4. Fantastic photos. Strange about the black eye. The David Bowie of herons?

  5. Absolutely stunning . . . exceptional photography!

  6. Kat- the photos are gorgeous- that heron is magnificent. You captured his face just perfectly-- his eyes are so interesting-- just a lovely collection of nature images-- only you could do this--

  7. Magnificent! his cousins here have scary red eyes

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ~ > < } } ( ° > <3

  8. Love Blue herons and have been following a Cornell live cam of a family of blue herons that have nested there. you may want to share your info with them at they have a large library on birds and have many research projects regarding birds. thank you for sharing. Love them!!

  9. Love Blue Herons! I occasionally see one fly overhead ( very cool), but have never seen one up close in person. Your pictures are amazing!

  10. These photos are absolutely breathtaking Kat! It's like I could almost reach out and touch that Heron in the first one...the amazing detail of those feathers made me gasp. WOW! And so interesting about his eyes and how he let you photograph him. It's like the word is out and he knew only you could do him justice! xo


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