Big River — Big Birds — Big Wings

We are lucky enough in our small town of Napoleon, Ohio, to have a big river — the Maumee River, which runs all the way to Toledo and Lake Erie — and to be able to enjoy some big birds that frequent the waterway. Napoleon is cradled North and South of the river and is located between Grand Rapids, Ohio, (east) and Florida, Ohio, (west).

In late Summer and early Autumn, we can photograph Great White Egrets and Great Blue Herons, both pictured below as I captured them “fish-hopping” in the Maumee.

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The top picture is a Great White Egret (black legs, yellow peak) shown rising into take-off from the water with just one wing showing. As you can see, he has an amazing wingspan!

The second picture shows the long, long neck both these big birds possess. The length is very handy for catching fish under water. This photo also demonstrates an apparent gray-blue color of a Great Blue Heron at standing rest.

In the third photo, a Great Blue Heron shows darkened colors as they appear in low light while he prepares to land at his favorite fishing spot.

Gliding over the river in brighter light in the fourth picture is a Great Blue Heron displaying his full wingspan and true colors of white feathers with bluish-purple trim.

In the last two photos, you can see how both birds pull in those long necks during flight. Observe the heron’s (top photo) yellowish-black legs extending beyond his short tail feathers and the egret’s (bottom photo) all black legs.


The Launch

Since I’m not very mobile and have limited equipment with which to work, I feel privileged to be able to get photos of a variety of birds. My saving convenience is that I live where a portion of the Maumee River passes right along-side the backyard of our apartment building in Napoleon, Ohio. Many birds pass through, too.

This particular photo is of a Great Blue Heron minnow-fishing at the North end of the bridge in Napoleon, then launching into the air. Because of a low cloud bank and a bright sun above it, the bird’s coloration is quite amazingly captured in its true hues, particularly in the launch stage.

Pre-launch: minnow-fishing stances.

Watching for that special minnow to catch!

Watching for that special minnow to catch!

Got the catch spotted...

Got the catch spotted…

Full and thinking of flying to a new location...

Full and thinking of flying to a new location…

Launch… with landing gear still down !!