Winter Heron

Over the past few days, a juvenile (last year’s offspring) heron has been coming regularly to a very small stream in the woodland where I walk my dog each day.  Nothing too unusual about that in itself other than I saw it twice on two successive days and at about the same time and that piqued my interest.  More unusually, this stream runs adjacent to a footpath and this is the main thoroughfare through the woods.  There is somebody walking along this path every few minutes and often with a dog.  Herons don’t like people and more so dogs close by and this path is on the right on stream bank and within comfortable jumping distance of an energetic dog.  Nevertheless, despite the obvious hazard, it seems to be a fruitful place to fish at this time of year and I have noticed that the bird will, if it is disturbed, get out of the water and stand motionless close by on the far bank but it doesn’t fly away.  Curiously, most walkers and their dogs walk by without noticing (perhaps, its not what you expect to see and its tactic of not moving doesn’t draw attention).  But, it is stunning to see quite so close up. Nevertheless, it’s best not to stress it so I’ve grabbed a couple of shots and then moved on.  (It’s a difficult time of year for these birds and my guess is that it’s found a ready food source that it can’t find elsewhere at the nearby and distinctly quieter pond.)  

Nikon D500 but using a 70-200mm lens.  160mm for the first here and 200mm for the second.  f/4 at about 1/200s and ISO 1600.