A couple of months ago, Lorne went off on his own one day, armed with his trusty camera. He loves to go down to the local marina and watch the boats come and go in between reading his latest book. That day, he was given a wonderful sight - a Great Blue Heron was sunning itself in the marshy area nearby. I hope you enjoy the short slide show I put together of his photos.
From my book "Birds of British Columbia" - the Great Blue Heron is probably the best-known bird in British Columbia. It hunts a variety of small animals day or night along rivers, lakeshores, beaches, fields and seashores. They nest together in the tops of trees in sites often known as rookeries. The oldest known colony in British Columbia is in Vancouver's Stanely Park, where permanent scopes are set up to view the birds. In flight, Great Blue Herons fold their necks back over their shoulders in an S-shape and make slow-motion movements with their wings. Similar looking cranes stretch their necks out when flying.
Since living in this area of BC since 1978, I've had the opportunity to see many many herons standing by the side of roadways, in ditches, at the Boundary Bay Regional Park, and in country fields everywhere. In the late 80's to mid 90's, our house must have been right in their line of flight because every Spring, Summer, and Fall evening around 8:00 I'd sit out on the patio to watch them fly overhead on their way to somewhere.
In early October of 1986, my (late) husband and I went down to the local mall and went our own ways to do some chores. We met up later at the Sandcastle Art Gallery (no longer there) where I found him admiring a brand new work of art by Carl Brenders.
The artist writes: Since childhood, I have had a special place in my heart for herons. It always fascinated me to see the standing on one leg, their long necks seeming to disappear into the feathers of their bodies. I had observed them in this particular stance so often that it seemed natural I should depict them in this way in my first major heron painting. Winter often attempts a final attack at spring by covering the new life appearing everywhere with a blanket of snow. This creates a special effect in the wetlands with the yellow sunlight penetrating the cold, early morning mist surrounding the heron, who is in his breeding plumage.
I had already seen the picture a few days earlier and had fallen in love with it. However, I hadn't mentioned it because we'd just bought our new house and I felt it would have been extravagant to purchase it. As I got closer to my husband that day, he turned to me and said, "Isn't this the most wonderful picture!" I told him that I'd already seen it and did, in fact, love it! He then said, "I'm buying it for your birthday then!" Even though he's been gone now for 18 years, I still have that painting and will never part with it. (Click to see larger version of picture.)