Louisiana Heron – Pond Apple Portrait

Elegant Louisiana Heron Perched within Green Shadows of a Pond Apple Tree

I am paying tribute once again to Audubon’s “Lady of the Waters” in this portrait of the dainty heron within the cool, verdant shadows of a Pond Apple Tree. Audubon called this elegant heron the Louisiana Heron but today most know it as the Tri-Color Heron or Egretta tricolor. It is always good to know that egrets are herons but defined by the lovely ornamental back plumes they have during the breeding season called aigrettes– so they carry both names sometimes.

This picture was taken last visit to the wetland rookery I travelled to specifically to observe the fledgling Wood Storks. Anytime a photographer strikes out seeking wildlife images, nature offers more beautiful gifts than you’d planned on!! While Spring is the time for breeding and renewal of the species, there is still breeding activity well into the summer despite the intense heat. This Louisiana Heron is still in its mating colors and plumage but I couldn’t say whether it is a parent with an empty nest or waiting to start one. Though the aigrettes appear luxuriant,  the lore is yellow and not fluorescent blue, so perhaps it has fledged its young. There are certainly many fledgling tricolors flitting about the rookery at present!!

I really loved the light on the heron and the leaves in this scene so could not resist giving it some attention.  Pond Apple trees have very nice textured leaves which catch lovely light and lend a beautiful setting for a bird portrait.


~ by Judy on July 9, 2015.

29 Responses to “Louisiana Heron – Pond Apple Portrait”

  1. This is an amazing photo with excellent lighting and color, and of course a beautiful bird with such expressive eyes.

  2. Judy such a stunning portrait and composition, truly spectacular.

    • Louisiana Herons are just so gorgeous that it is hard to not want to point your camera at them!! I probably have a few too many of this species, but I am always keen on a new setting and trying to better my best I guess. Those leaves with the light filtering through were just beautiful with the bird.

  3. What a gorgeous photo. I just saw one of these birds today, but the difference the setting makes is remarkable. Mine was just sitting on the edge of a dock along a channel. With nothing but wood and water around it, the colors were almost bland. Here, the pond apple does a fabulous job of setting off the bird, and, of course, when I saw mine it was high noon, so everything was a little washed out in the strong light.

    I’m pretty sure you don’t have too many photos of this species — or any of them, truth to tell. You’re one of the best bird photographers I know. There never can be too many!

    • Wow, I don’t think anyone has ever said I was one of the best bird photographers they know to me before. That just makes me want to get better!! I thank you for the kind thought and the inspiration it provides!! 🙂

      You are right about high noon washing things out…especially in wide open areas. Sometimes the harsh light can be very interesting when filtered through a canopy of leaves though. I don’t seek out the harsh light but times when I have had no choice about it, results have been surprising. Late day is way safer for flattering light though and sun behind you makes for beautiful color in front of you.

      Its is a nice thought too that in our separate areas we have that connection in seeing the same species of birds. Sometimes I feel a connection with Audubon in that I can observe the very same species he did around 200 years ago. The viewfinder becomes a portal to the past.

  4. Beautiful photograph!!

    • Thanks M.R.!! Do you have any stories specific to the Louisiana Heron!! Your research is always so thorough!! Audubon called this bird “Lady of the Waters” which is perfect. Even though sometimes she looks like a lady but is not always lady like…..like when I saw one go after a desperate Green Herons eggs.

      • Unfortunately, Judy, I haven’t found any stories specific to the Louisiana Heron–but there’s got to be some, right? Herons in general are such beautiful creatures. The only ones I’ve seen here in North Carolina are the Great Blue Herons. I really like the photos on your site, including the ones of eggs and nests. And the information you provide, too, is quite extensive!

  5. this is excellent 🙂

    • Joshi, thanks so much for your visit and comment!! It is a pleasure! I couldn’t really say I do for birds what you do for people, but I like to try and show their personality or presence in their own setting.

  6. I always think grey herons, which are the ones I sometimes see here, look a little like grumpy, hunched old men. But this heron is beautifully elegant 🙂

    • I know the stance you mean! I think it is the cattle egrets that I see that hunched over pose the most around here. It does look like a little old man!! Your words really brought the visual to life for me!! 🙂

  7. Even I can see that it’s an excellent composition. 🙂

  8. Wow, just gorgeous Judy, as always!

  9. I am struck by this heron’s colours, which have much in common with the European Night Heron—which, incidently, I refer to in Priory Project as a fire-heron.

    • Night Herons are beautiful and interesting birds too. While the body shape is different, I can see that some share the slate blue coloring and the white head plume. Glad to be able to share this specimen with you!!

      I like fire-heron a lot!! Night herons seem to have reddish orange eyes and the tricolor here has more ruby eyes. Did you pick fire-heron for the orange red eyes?

      • No, but from an illustration which made its plumage seem dark, shot with flame, like the glowing embers of a fire, or the last gasp of sunset. Apparently it used to be common in UK, but now, like the great bustard, is no more seen here.
        I admit in PP I have emphasized the ‘fire’ qualities of the night heron to best suit requirements. Besides, Destination isn’t actually our world, which allows a certain licence.

      • Oh, yes fiction always allows license..based loosely on something in our realm of knowledge or completely invented..either way..cool!! Now connecting a fire bird with a heron isn’t exactly new though since some see a connection between the Egyptian Bennu Heron with creation, rebirth and sun and feel that a heron is in fact the Phoenix! Talk about fire and ashes!!

      • I have a liking of the Phoenix (though I’d thought it a crane, or a stork; yet these anciently were grouped together anyway.) I remember a design I did (a series of screen prints that might have made interesting duvet covers) which had a bird morphing to women rising forming out of a curl of smoke.

      • That does sound like cool imagery. I think you are right about cranes, storks, and herons being kind of lumped together sometimes. Read somewhere that it might have been the purple heron in Egypt that was the source for the Phoenix. But, who really knows. When I see a depiction with a head plume, I lean toward heron for those.

  10. It is really a beautiful picture. It almost makes me want to lift it off and pin it on my wall!

    • Yeah, this particular image does seem to jump off the screen with the bird, lighting and leafy detail. I thought as you did it might make an impression as a wall print so I will very likely post it to my photo sales gallery. I think it would be amazing as a metal print. So will play with the idea.

  11. The “lady of the waters” — how unbelievably sweet and beautiful! I had never heard that term for them… So appropriate! And in one of my favorite trees of the wetlands. 🙂 It’s a gorgeous swamp portrait.

    • Thanks!! Yeah, pond apple tree leaves have wonderful texture and great for beautiful green sunlit setting. Sometimes though after the rough and tumble of a nesting season and young birds scampering about the trees, the leaves can be incredibly tattered…and caked with bird poop too!! Luckily, this bird was situated a bit better with nice looking leaves.

      • Hee… I’ve seen some of those pond apples, trying to understand how they’re still alive after all that nesting and poop! Incredibly resilient; but then again look at where they thrive!

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