This morning we paid a visit to the heron rookery, or heronry, to see how the Great Blue Herons were getting on with their nest building. This particular communal nesting area is within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, at the north end of Akron. It was a fine, warm, spring day with large patches of milky clouds floating in a pale blue sky. A strong breeze flowed from the west-southwest and we could see the big birds struggling, at times, to control their landings high in the naked tree branches.
The bright cloud layers made many of our photographs into silhouettes; working with that was difficult but a few nice images emerged. Still, my personal favorite shots of the day were pictures that showed off the size, power, and primitive beauty of the herons — possibly my favorite birds to watch and photograph.
what a beautiful bird, what zoom lens did you use? love the full wing tip shot, nice.
Hi Roberta. I was thrilled with my luck that day! All of the heron shots shown were made with a Canon 400mm “prime” f/5.6 lens — hand-held to keep up with the action. The birds did some pretty heavy-duty flying that day to handle the wind and that gave some opportunities for some unusual views. Thanks! — JG
These are stunning! To see a shot of herons flying instead of wading or nesting is a real treat!
I’m pleased to be able to track the birds fairly well with a (very) long telephoto lens in order to get those shots! For all their size, the Great Blue Herons are quiet and speedy fliers. The “middle” shot — the heron with its wings spread wide — shows the bird as it made a quick change of direction on a windy day; I made a print of that picture that’s 24-inches square and is one of my favorites.