Great Blue Heron at Dawn

Posted on Aug 6, 2015 in color, photography

Early this morning I walked down to the Ashuelot River Park in Keene, NH in the cool morning air. After walking through the entire park and not seeing a single bird, I finally spotted a great blue heron fishing at the base of the small dam near West Street. Before I could setup my camera, the heron flew a short distance over to a muddy patch closer to the West Street bridge. The heron then began to work through a series of different poses, almost as if it was practicing an early morning yoga routine.

Great blue heron standing in a river

My favorite photo of the series is one in which the heron’s beak is open, as if gasping at its own reflection on the surface of the river. I have done the same on many a morning, looking into the mirror for the first time just after leaving my bed.

A great blue heron gasps at its own reflection

The heron seemed to combine moments of hunting for breakfast with other moments of fastidious cleaning, twisting its neck into a variety of different contortions.

A great blue heron tends to its feathers

A great blue heron curls its neck to clean beneath its wing

After watching for about twenty minutes, I packed up my gear to return home and begin my last workday of the week. It was good to get out for a little shutter therapy before starting my day.