We’re relaxing on the rocks at the side of the Potomac River when a Great Blue Heron flies straight past us. It’s massive. It’s too big to fit in my viewfinder:
Its black flight feathers are a stunning contrast against the air force blue of the plumage.
It lands just across from us on a rock and stands like a statue:
It seems bigger and distinctively taller than the Grey Herons I’ve seen in the UK:
It’s got distinctive burgundy coloured patches on its shoulders:
Here’s Audubon’s illustration from 1834 which shows all the plumage details beautifully:
We watch it for an age. It stands unmoving. Just as my attention wanders it takes to the skies again and I get a shot of it in flight, this time with its legs showing:
I watch it as its great wings power it across the river:
Later, I see one high in the sky against the grey clouds.
It’s been a thrill to see such a big heron so close.