Great Blue HeronMay 2005

The great blue heron is a magnificent bird standing about four feet tall and having a wingspan of six feet.

The nearby pond has as many as three great blue herons at a time. I don't know whether that number includes a nesting pair, but occasionally, I've seen two of them perching relatively close to one another in a bare tree. Let me tell you, seeing such a long, slender bird perching high in a tree is quite a sight. Its long toes/claws extend well past the branch.
Great blue heron
The second photo is also a "perching" picture. The sun was setting, so the heron was bathed in orange light.

Great blue heron and sunset
  For some bird species, I've only a few photos. For the great blue heron, I've been amassing a larger and larger collection. The problem is choosing among the favorites.

The following are three photos taken from a larger sequence, which shows a heron taking flight from a stationary position.

The first one shows the heron relaxing on a log.
Great blue heron on log
Suddenly the heron jumped upward. The jump was more of a wing motion than any flexing of its legs.

Great blue heron, launching
  The third photo shows the heron assuming its flight posture. The long neck will be tucked into a tight S-curve and its long legs trail behind.
Great blue heron, initial flight
  I have always found it curious that despite the number of paleontologists who relate dinosaurs and birds together, none has made any connection between bird-neck behavior and dinosaur-neck behavior. At present, paleontologists have the brontosaurus with its long neck stuck in a permanent (and horizontal) straight line, whereas the S-curve is the avian means of efficiency.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with SMC 400-600 reflex lens.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   Great Blue Heron 2

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