Sleeping Great Blue Heron

Posted on Oct 31, 2015 in color, photography, wildlife

This is a true story.

Early this morning I walked the trail along the western shore of the Ashuelot River, heading away from the dam towards a spot that has a view of the area where the river divides. The spot was lit by the early morning sun, and I said aloud to the universe, “This spot is really beautiful and the light is perfect. All I need now is a heron to land on it.”

Shortly after those words left my mouth, I heard a strange sound coming from my right across the river. I could not place it — it sounded like a duck, but also like a crow. A few minutes passed, and then I saw it — a young great blue heron flying low over the river, heading towards that beautifully lit spot.

A great blue heron flying over the Ashuelot River

Seeing the spot, the heron began to pull its chest up, throwing its legs forward and dangling them toward the shore. The heron landed in the exact spot that I had hoped for, and began a long course of preening.

A great blue heron lands on the shore of the Ashuelot River

Having finished preening, the great blue heron lifted its right leg up towards its body, shifting all of its weight onto its left leg. With the warmth of the early morning sun hitting its chest, the heron eventually closed its eyes for an early morning nap.

A great blue heron sleeps while standing on one leg

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