Friday, April 15, 2011

Great Blue Heron

Last but not least in my run of herons on this blog comes the Great Blue Heron, certainly the biggest and best known of this extended coastal breed. Over the past few years I've photographed the abundant Great Blue in a number of different places.  But perhaps my best shots, or at least the most close up I've been to this great bird was last November on Hilton Head Island where we gathered with family for Thanksgiving. 
A canal ran between a section of condominiums where some of our family members stayed on Hilton Head. This Heron seemed to be somewhat used to all the people being around and let me get pretty close.
Whether standing on one leg or two, the Great Blue is close to five feet tall.

Its wingspan can reach six and a half feet.
The color palette is varied.  You've got rusty-gray (neck), red-brown (thighs), black (plumes running from just above the eye to the back of the head), gray (lower legs), yellowish (eyes and bill), and white (face).
The colors add up to one elegantly beautiful bird that is much beloved, the Great Blue's image used in many company logos and advertising here in coastal South Carolina.

The class of the classy Heron family?  A tough call but I'd have to say yes.
Majestic but not aloof, based on my observations, the Great Blue Heron can be seen mixing with other big birds such as this Anhinga...
...and these Double-crested Cormorants.
The Great Blue Heron will always stand out in a crowd for its sheer size--and beauty.