Big birds, wings and a duck couple

A few years ago we were on the northern Washington coast and decided to head to the beach during the golden hour of the early evening to catch the sunset and whatever else might show up. Once there we found that shore birds especially some Herons had the same idea. There were several skimming the water’s surface looking for the right spot to land and have a little dinner.

While we have a good size population of Blue Herons here in the Twin Cities, it is extremely hard to predict where and when they will show up, in spite of the our plentiful lakes and wet lands. So to see several actively working a shore line was pretty exciting. In flight the bird seems to be a relic left over from the dinosaur era while on land its’ spindly legs and general awkwardness make it look like a prepubescent child.

Since I had yet to catch a Heron in the process of landing being able to capture this one in the full sequence of its’ approach was a real gift.

Ever since my days in Rochester in the mid ’70s, Canadian Geese and other large birds have fascinated me, especially in flight, on take off and landing. Their large wings allow them to glide further, making their flight more graceful. The long neck of Canadian geese adds a sense of gracefulness in flight, however, once on the ground the neck that gracefulness is lost and becomes more like a periscope.

When I lived in Rochester I used to drive by a lake that never froze because it was fed warm water from the local power plant. During winter mornings the clash between warm and cold air produced a semi permanent layer of fog over the lake’s surface. Because of its’ warm water, the lake became a home for Canadian geese whose heads would rise through the layer of fog like miniature periscopes.

Back in ’07 I spent a lot of time trying capture the character of these geese, especially when landing, I have yet to get a satisfactory shot. However, while waiting for this small flock of geese to take off, the one featured in today’s photo rose out of the water spreading his/her wings as if to say “I’m here” to the other geese. Thankfully, Marsha was able to grab the shot, since my attention was elsewhere.


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