Walking On Water


Watching Canada Geese come and go on water is a photographic challenge because they do it more quickly than the other two birds pictured — Skimmer gull (ABOVE) and, especially, the White Egret (second picture BELOW).

The Skimmer sort of glides (skims) along as he scoops his beak down to snag a fish, then sprouts his wings to get up in the air with his prey. The fellow pictured here missed the fish he spotted and left to search elsewhere.



The White Egret is a very patient fishing machine. He will stand in one spot for many minutes at a time before he hops up and floats to another location a short distance away. He’s an easy photo op once his habits are learned.


Canada Geese do everything seemingly frantically as they approach, or leave the water, so their quick movements are hard to follow with amateur photography equipment.

These photos were all taken at the Maumee River near the bridge in Napoleon, Ohio.

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Great Blue Herons and White Egrets Fish Their Fill

If you’ve never watched a Great Blue Heron, or a White Egret, fish, you’ve missed some wonderful entertainment.


Both these hardy fishing birds have substantially long beaks which they use amazingly easily to snatch swimming fish (Close-up ABOVE).

The snaps (BELOW) show that the heron occasionally will swim around branches, rocks, or other river obstacles, to hunt for his fish.

(BELOW): Once disturbed, off the big bird goes to another favorite fishing spot!


The snaps (BELOW) of a White Egret were taken from the other side of the width of the Maumee River, north of the bridge at Napoleon, Ohio.





(BELOW): An Egret generally changes his fishing venue more often than a heron, even if not provoked. He will fly-hop along the shoreline to find suitable fishing locations.


All Photos in “My Special Photos” are out-of-camera and completely un-retouched from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Eagle Landing

An accommodating friend transported me to Eagle Country at Grand Rapids, Ohio, last month. GR Eagles have nested and frequented the little quaint village along the Maumee River and former site of a portion of the Maumee and Erie Canal consistently for years.


One resident (ABOVE and BELOW) obligingly landed on the bare branches of an island tree close enough for my tiny lenses to photograph. I snapped a number of pictures from quite a distance, as he never did incline himself to soar off, and he was still roosted when we had to leave.


As luck would have it, a Red-bellied Woodpecker (BELOW) also stopped to stare on the old canal trail, and held on long enough for me to snap a shot.


Isn’t he a fine fellow?

A good time was had by all !

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

All Alone


This stubby little fellow seems to be seeking companionship. He usually travels in a flock!

I didn’t know exactly what type of bird he is and couldn’t find him in my bird book until a friend suggested he was an American Coot. And that he is! American Coots are more of a Southern bunch, so seeing this single fellow standing alone near the bridge in the Maumee River at Napoleon, Ohio, was quite the rarity.

Though stubby, this specimen can dive under water as far as 10 to 25 feet to find food, mostly seeds, roots, and leaves, as well as small fish.

Best of A Cold Morning


Gulls come in flocks and singles around the bend in the Maumee River to the direct East of our apartment building. Such was the case this morning.

I’m on an endless quest to get close-up flying photos of these beautiful white, long-winged birds. They appear to be Herring Gulls, which, according to and as pictured in my “Smithsonian Birds of North America” (2001), are very prevalent in our Ohio area near the Great Lakes.

It’s also interesting to catch these birds cruising along the tree-lined riverbank.



It’s easy to see the gulls coming down river crossing the East bend along Winter’s bare tree-line in long swoops that bring them closer to the South side, or in tighter angles that take them along the North edge of the water.

Wingspans of these gulls can be nearly five feet, and their pure whiteness is highlighted by black wingtips.

This morning, against a cold, blue Winter sky (brrr… ! ), they photographed quite well with my Canon Powershot ELPH 135:

The fun is catching their wings in different stages of flap and float and soar.


Any way you look at it, these gulls are like low- and high-flying aircraft. And sometimes they depart from their plane-like behavior to dip low enough to the ground to inspect prospects for lunch.


Geese Gathering

Last evening, my geese gaggle decided to invade the low-lying yards along the Maumee River’s shoreline just SouthWest of the bridge. They climbed up the rocky embankment, using their wings as balancing tools, then gathered in the delicacies offered within the groomed and grassy, golden yards.

Getting ready for the embankment climb

Getting ready for the embankment climb

King of the yard!

King of the yard!

Just an embankment between him and Kingship!

Just an embankment between him and Kingship!

Then there was this fellow (series of seven pictures above) who kept approaching the embankment but was unable to find his climbing courage. Finally, cleverly, he found a much less steep slope to negotiate.




All in all, a good time was had by all!

Flying Around

With my limited equipment (described on the “About” page of this blog), it is interesting to discover the number of feathered friends we have behind our apartment building along the Maumee River.

Here are a few visitors:

Well, perhaps these aren’t all feathered! 🙂

A scavenger hawk, a pigeon in full wing upswing, and herring gulls shared the sky with a “silver bird”.

Canada Geese are a common bird flying around the territory.

Grackles invade berry-bearing trees, and sometimes look like jet fighters in the air.

Gulls fly along the river in singles, pairs, and groups, sometimes dipping quite low over the bridge.


Pigeons that roost atop the pilings under the bridge fly a daily ritual around, under, and above the bridge, and to the nearby downtown Courthouse and back.


By far the most frequent flyers along the river are the various gulls.

Except for “silver-birded” humans, of course!

Great Blue at the Bridge

Great Blue Herons are one of several big birds that spent the Summer and Fall catching fish along the Maumee River near the bridge in Napoleon, Ohio.

I had several opportunities to shoot some close-ups of Great Blues (BELOW.)

It’s quite amazing that the Great Blue can appear rather grey, or bluish, in a standing position, but “morph” into a great creature whose front feathers feature white and are bordered in the back in magnificent deep purplish-blue while in flight.