When You Just Don’t Expect It – A Bird Has a Good Laugh


It is always when you least expect it, when you are focused on something else, that right in front of you something wonderful flies by. For once, I am not lamenting on my equipment limitations where every bird I see is either ping-pong ball size or looks that way in the viewfinder.


I was shooting manual with the camera set at 1/200 sec. f5.6 ISO 320. These settings were for a Great Egret that was a bit of a distance away. Of course, the egret was just standing around like they always do, hiding in the shadows of a watering hole.


Then out of the marsh comes this Great Blue Heron, maybe 40 feet away. Right past me, then he turns in front of me on his way to the shore. All this happened so fast, I had no time to make different camera adjustments, just follow the action.

Blue-Heron-FlyingI’m thinking I blew it with a slow shutter speed and manual focusing. I switch to auto-focus then rip off 30 frames anyway. Thought wrong, because almost all of the photos came out just fine. Plus, he landed not too far away. My lucky day.


Lowering the landing gear…


making the approach. (And I needed a faster shutter speed for the splashdown….)


So I’m thinking, maybe I will be really lucky and he gives me a show by catching a fish. He did see the egret fishing and wanted to get in on the good fishing hole.

Blue-Heron-LandingPerfect touchdown. Feathers all in a disarray. Click any image to make larger. For once I am happy that I got the shot.

I reset the shutter speed for 1/1000 sec. Now I am going to be prepared this time. The photos I have been waiting for, the ones with the bullet-like fish piercing…. Looking, looking… drats.

Heron-FishingHe thought this was funny getting my hopes up.


OK big guy, what’s the deal on that few feathers coming out the back of your head. I think they are funny too.

Next post, see where he was in the water with other birds. I think it is amazing that competitive species (for food) get along side by side. Makes you think something is wrong with people.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
This entry was posted in Birds, photography, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to When You Just Don’t Expect It – A Bird Has a Good Laugh

  1. alesiablogs says:

    Those are great shots. Your last sentence was pretty interesting too! I was just spending the last hour reading my newspaper about WWI and the etiology of that War and for that matter any war. WE humans have a way of really mucking things up.

  2. Excellent pics and post!!!

  3. Such an interesting and amusing post ….your photographs are wonderful – they put my poor little effort ( Heron pic I posted today) to shame !

  4. I can just picture you following with your lens this guy and laughing at the same time!
    It must be very much like meditating this quiet process.
    That touchdown picture is perfect! πŸ™‚ [not that the others aren’t though! – I just like it a lot]

  5. acuriousgal says:

    I just love those last two pick, it almost seems like he posed for you. Really beautiful creatures. Love their long legs, large wingspan and that little grey tuft of hair on top of his head….looks like he curled itπŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. Okelle says:

    Gorgeous photos. Wildlife is a difficult subject to capture with any accuracy.

  7. Wow!!!! Donna, you nailed those shots!!!! They are all super! Liked your story, too.

  8. I’ll call her a gal, a most sensitive gal. She dances, she sways, she curtsies, she bows. With a most ornate plumage showing all the glory of her gown, she knows she is the queen of the ball. She laughs, just as you said, for she knows you savor her beauty.

    Thank you for taking us to the ballroom.

  9. Debra says:

    WOW! I used to think hockey was exciting. Amazing photos.

  10. Alisha says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures..they are so lovely…

  11. These photos are astounding! Well done!

  12. Rose says:

    Amazing photos, Donna! I am wondering about those feathers sticking out of his head in the last photos, too. Makes you want to grab some gel and smooth them down:)

  13. I am glad you got some really good shots of a GBH. I remember that ours on Cliff were in hiding when you came.

  14. catmint says:

    thanks, Donna, for giving us the details of how you got the shots. I’ll keep trying. Last photo is very funny.

  15. Pat says:

    Wonderful captures!

  16. My Heartsong says:

    I love the landing of a great blue heron. Great series of photos.

  17. debsgarden says:

    Wonderful photos! I was smiling too!

  18. A.M.B. says:

    Great story! Great pictures, too. The shots are wonderful.

  19. Fantastic series of shots! And I like his jaunty head feather.

  20. Cool! Very nicely done, Donna! I know what you mean about looking for something else when something amazing happens out of nowhere right in front of your eyes!

  21. Wow those shots are so hard to do even once in a while, to get a series like that is so amazing. Really stunning.

  22. Wow is right…amazing shots. My sister who was visiting witnessed a heron on our patio away from the pond…he was huge and she was in shock…where was I…taking a nap 😦

  23. ladyseminole07 says:

    Beautiful shot of this lovely bird in flight.

Comments are closed.