The Travels of Tug 44

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Herons are large birds, standing about 3 feet tall (neck extended) and weigh about 5-6 pounds. The 6 foot wingspan is what makes them spectacular. This one is sticking his tongue out!   high-res

I discovered that there are always Great Blue Herons in an abandoned section of the Old Champlain Canal which runs right thru Fort Edward. The occasional runner or bicycle on the towpath here makes them somewhat accepting of humans as long as ya don't get too close. This is a typical hunting pose, wading in foot deep water with the head down and the neck coiled, ready to strike.   high-res

They like to hide around swamp plants but this location has enough gaps to make photography possible.   high-res

When startled, they take flight. This one is in the middle of an up-stroke when the wings fold up.   high-res

This is the bottom of a down-stroke.   high-res

This Great Blue Heron just caught his lunch, it's a foot-long Round Gobie fish.   high-res

This fish requires some careful handling, so the Heron flies down the canal to a tiny island where he can manipulate it to get it down the bird's throat without having it escape.   high-res

The Heron is starting to put on some speed ... still carrying the fish.   high-res

... and now settles down into a glide. With a 6 foot wingspread, they are built for effortless gliding.   high-res

On a different day, a Great Blue Heron glides off into the distance, just a few feet over the water.   high-res

... and lands behind some weeds. The Great Blue Heron, one of the most majestic birds, and a native of Fort Edward and the New York Canals.   high-res

Sept 2016: This Great Blue Heron has speared a sunfish right thru the side with his beak. The seaweed draped over the bird's head shows he went all the way in the water for this one. The bird made a few quick head tosses and the fish came off the beak and the bird rotated it for easy swallowing. Then the Heron started puffing his throat out so the fish would fit ... and down it went. Lunch!   high-res

March 25th, 2017 - This Great Blue Heron returned to Fort Edward today, from his winter migration in Florida. He's fishing thru a small gap in the ice. He's not worried about today's snow and sleet and he already has a belly full of fish.   high-res

The Great Blue Heron, an elegant fishing bird

More pictures: If you enjoyed these photos, I have a set of 6 more shots you may also enjoy. A Great Blue Heron landed in a dead tree directly over my head, so I was able to get some close-ups of him preening his feathers and doing stretching exercises. Alas, it was a gray, dark and very hazy day, and I had to shoot directly into the bright sky ... which washed out the colors. But they are still spectacular shots, so here they are:

Click for: More Great Blue Heron Pictures

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