One benefit of living on a lake in south Florida is that the shoreline serves as the stage for some wonderful performances. Here, the lake is calm as storm clouds gain strength in the northwest behind our home:
Tricolored Heron at Green Cay preserve, Boynton Beach, Florida:
Although they are slender, stand over 2 feet tall (60-70 cm) and have a three foot (91 cm) wingspan, Tricolored Herons weigh less than a pound (334-415 gm).
Warning: "Objects in your binoculars are much smaller than they look." This truism comes home to anyone who has picked up a window-killed warbler or released a banded chickadee. Birds are like puff-balls of feathers and fluff, skin and bones.
The warning changes to "Objects may not fit in your viewfinder" if you add the very long legs and the skinny snake-like neck of a Tricolored Heron.
Back yard view:
John James Audubon's herons stand out magnificently in his "Birds of America" double elephant folio. Since Audubon's bird paintings were all life-size, he contorted the images of herons in order to fit them within the dimensions of the portfolio's pages, which measured about 3 by 2 feet (0.9 by 0.6 meters) .
Here is his rendition of the "Louisiana Heron," now known as Tricolored Heron, from Biodiversity Heritage Library (FLICKR Creative Commons, some rights reserved)
Many of my heron photos were taken at close range in our Florida back yard. The subjects were often only about 50-60 feet away. Since I use a prime telephoto lens they commonly do not fit into the frame even if I back up against the back wall of our home. Unless the heron assumes an Audubon-like posture, my choice is to cut off either its legs or head!
A preening heron does fit the camera's frame:
An immature Tricolored Heron crouches for the kill:
Audubon usually painted from freshly collected specimens, often posturing them with wires. He introduced action and excitement into many of his works. Sometimes his herons seemed surrealistically expressive.
An immature Tricolored Heron sought (without success) to be fed by its parent, chasing it across the lake and to the near shore:
The contortions of the energetic young bird reminded me of the way the great painter arranged his subjects:
An immature Tricolored Heron is reflected in a flooded prairie:
A graceful landing:
Tricolored Heron feeding habits VIDEO:
(If it does not display CLICK HERE)
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display