A studio for bird study

Tag: blue

Gluttony and the Great Blue Heron

by Bryce W. Robinson


The other day I observed a Great Blue Heron- Ardea herodias, that had caught a fish seemingly too large to handle. The above image is directly after the bird had speared the fish, and was working on a way to get the meal down its throat. Yes, I did say spear. Before this instance, I was under the impression that herons never speared their prey, rather they stabbed at the prey only to grasp it in its bill. This bird speared the fish, effectively killing it, then retrieved it from the water. I believe that if the bird had not done so, the large fish would have been too strong as it struggled to escape the herons clasping bill.

I also was taken aback at the size comparison this photo illustrates between the Herring Gull- Larus argentatus, and the Great Blue Heron. Heron’s seem like such large birds when standing alone. Anyway, I took a sequence of photos of the heron struggling the fish down its throat. The sequence is as follows:





IMG_2815You can see in the last photo where the fish still sits in the birds body. This will undoubtedly take a while to digest. I was impressed in the least. I absolutely love seeing predators eat, and the heron is one bird that always delights. I once came upon a photo of a Great Blue Heron that had killed and was holding in its bill a Least Bittern, about to consume the close relative. How bizarre.

Anyway, I felt lucky to see this instance, even luckier to capture it on film.



Great Blue Heron- Ardea herodias

by Bryce W. Robinson

Great Blue Heron- Ardea herodias. 11×15″ prismacolor on bristol.

My childhood was spent in study of the Great Blue Heron. I stalked the large wader all summer, learning its habits and admiring its stoic poses. I became engrossed in a passion for the bird, and for what reason I will never know. This childhood connection will forever be an integral part of who I am. I spent many hours illustrating the bird in multiple positions, always enjoying the process of recording the creature I so admired. Today, I feel troubled that I have not put the same passion and effort into this bird. I took the morning to do so, and resolved to schedule a goal for myself. As the Great Blue Heron is responsible for my introduction into the world of birds, I find it so appropriate to write an essay detailing my admiration, feelings, and understanding on its life history. I have only posted one essay thus far, and feel that I must rectify my lapse in writing with a second essay, appropriately paying homage to the most special bird to me. This is only a preview, and I will undoubtedly take my time putting the essay together. In two weeks I will leave society to count migrating hawks for some months, and will have no opportunity to work on the essay. So it may be long coming, but be assured it will. I only found it necessary to voice my goals, as an exercise to solidify the plan for my own sake.

Finally, a Heron Photo

by Bryce W. Robinson

Great Blue Heron- Ardea herodias

I first met the Great Blue Heron as a boy, in the fields of Ithaca, New York. This large bird is solely responsible for my interest in the entire avian world. I spent the remainder of my childhood drawing the Great Blue Heron over and over. Many birders and ornithologists alike have similar stories, each with their own bird. The Great Blue Heron is my bird, and will forever be special to me.

I have never been able to come away with any decent photos of my favorite bird. Although common, they are rather shy. The other day I went to a wetland near the California coast. Bolsa Chica is a large reserve of estuaries near Huntigton Beach. I walked through the reserve birding, finally coming upon a very tolerant heron. I couldn’t believe how relaxed it was, as I was standing only fifty feet from the bird, taking my photos.

Of course the photo could be better. I’m not so concerned with that fact. I am satisfied with the reference photo, and thankful for the luck of a cooperative bird in a beautiful place. Perhaps in the future, with more luck, better equipment, and new skills, I will capture a photo that will truly deliver the deserved respect to this stoic creature.