Sunday, October 8, 2017

Watching a Great Blue Heron

Field notes from September 9, 2017

I’m sitting on a boulder at the edge of the Umpqua River, sitting quietly watching two lizards.  The day is still a little hot, but shadows grow long.  A great blue heron flies to the rocky shelf that reaches out into the river.  He pants and droops his wings.  It is their typical ‘I’m drying out pose.’

The heron stays put long enough for me to sketch him.  After about fifteen minutes of sunning himself he moves down between boulders.  I can’t see his body, but the angle of his head tell me he is hunting. 

When watching a great blue heron hunting ‘…you might imagine you are watching a statue of this bird.”
                                    John James Audubon

He finally moves to where we can really see him, but not for long.  All too soon he flies. 
The heron flies across the river and up onto an exposed limb on a tall alder.  He carefully limb-walks, getting himself tucked under the canopy of the tree.  The river valley will soon be in total shade.  Dusk is coming.  I suspect the heron is settling in for the night. 


  1. Your an inspiration to enjoy the little moments in nature, Elva!

  2. Love these birds. Love your art work too. You have such patience for watching and sketching them. Thanks for always sharing your work.

  3. That sketch of tree with heron - exquisite!

  4. Wonderful observations and sketches!

  5. Agree with all of the above and especially the heron in the tree!