Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork Portraits – January 2022


Intense expression of Ardea herodias the Great Blue Heron

In a sub-tropical environment such as offered here in south Florida, the breeding season for birds starts early. I’ve noticed the great herons building their platforms on some ideal spot in a rookery and trying to attract a mate as early as December in past years. After a long absence from the rookery at Wakodahatchee I finally made my way through the highways and byways of Broward and Palm Beach Counties to reacquaint myself and spend a little time at this favourite spot to just watch nature unfold. Even watching the other watchers provides relief as the expression of wonder is so palpable in the demeanor of other visitors that you feel kindred. One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2022 is to spend a lot more time watching birds go about living, waves swirling along a shoreline, or clouds float by than watching our ever-distressing stream of TV news.

I felt incredibly rusty photographically speaking as there have been so few outings in the last couple of years. That is however my own inertia as there is always beautiful light and interesting objects animated or inanimate all around us, all the time! The images I picked for this post are just to show that nature does go on. Included here are pictures of a Great Blue Heron pair and a Woodstork pair. Both early season and seeming to have selected each other but with the nest building and chicks yet to come. This visit was exactly mid-January on the 15th of the month. February, March and April will be very active with the air saturated with the plaintive cries of hungry chicks. I couldn’t resist making a painterly portrait effort of the intense concentration on the Great Blue Heron face. It is peering into the depths of wetland waters for the movement of prey. Wood Stork faces are endlessly fascinating for me, it seems, and I did a black and white treatment of one of them with a combination of paint brush effects to give it a portrait appeal. With Wood Stork portraits I generally like the ones with feathers blowing in the wind or bunched up at the neck, beneath the bill. They always look so commanding.

Great Blue Heron drops in on its significate other as the afternoon wanes.

Great Blue Heron pair attentive to each other. I believe it is the bird on the left which just dropped in.

Despite one of these Wood Storks looking a little aloof…or maybe self-satisfied…they seem happy. Wood Storks always do have that aloof, commanding look though. Time will tell if there is a nest next time.

Wood Stork , Mycteria americana, portrait in profile with paint brush effects to enhance the image as a portrait.


Happy 2022 Everyone!!





~ by Judy on January 23, 2022.

17 Responses to “Great Blue Heron & Wood Stork Portraits – January 2022”

  1. Hi Judy. Wonderful to see you back in your element. I always adore the way the Great Blues erect those cap feathers in courtship but your Wood Storks nuzzling bills is an endearing show of affection. We don’t have them here and it’s always a delight to see them through the eyes of your camera lens.

    • The support of your comments is always great, especially as a fellow GBH nerd if you will!! I love the detail of the erect head plumes as well and that generally does happen in moment of one excitement or another…arrival at the nest and territorial encroachments etc. I also enjoy the affection that the herons and the wood storks show when they’ve paired up.

  2. You have not lost your touch at all! These photos prove it. Welcome back and hope you will do more. Happy New Year!

    • Thanks so much…and I sure hope that 2022 will bring more nature, more creativity into my world. I know that your lovely site and writing is full of beautiful views of the natural world.

  3. It’s so good to see this post! Believe me: more nature and less tv news is a great prescription for health, both physical and (especially) mental!

    I’ve not been out much this month myself, because of a combination of weather, work demands, and other concerns. Once I get a couple of jobs finished up, I’ll be able to get out on the weekends again, and that will help. The last two times I’ve been out, there have been remarkably few birds. Maybe they’re just laying low, waiting for sunshine, too.

    I always love your photos of the wood storks. I see them so rarely — like twice in my life — that every glimpse of yours is a pleasure. It’s always fun to see a Great Blue Heron airborne, too — especially when it’s such an unusual image as the ‘dropping in.’

    • Now to find ways to keep filling that RX 🙂 I can remember when I didn’t know what a wood stork was and that they were not such a common sight. But, those days are over around here as you can see them on many road sides next to canal waters and any number of wetland spaces. They are always fun to watch…just love their textures. Sometimes I feel, large birds that they are, that they crowd out some other species at the rookery. I think that the Great Blue Herons tend to be more present a little earlier and mostly the storks later on. This January trip did show pairs in both species. I’d say the storks were more dominant though. Although, end of day hordes of ibis’s flew in to roost.

  4. What an enjoyable series of photographs!

    It’s that time of year when the herons and egrets will be making nests and performing mating rituals.

    Hope your new week is filled with joy.

    • With thanks!!! I remember your blog as having stellar images and wonderful writing…I must do better on keeping up with everyone!! A joy filled week to you as well. 🙂

  5. Glad to have your photographs back on the blog, Judy!

    • Feels nice to want to work on them again and not get so dragged down by the details that want to fill the days. I’d like to do a few coin images for a favourite or two as well and some stills.

      • Perhaps a collection of what you think are the best designed coins?

      • I do have my favourites but there are so many world over that I love. German Thalers of old have the coolest bird designs. I am fond of the modern Kookaburras design wise. I’ve only shot a couple of close ups of coin designs, but enjoy doing that. As long as not representing for sale, I can do artistic treatments to them too. Do you have a favourite?

      • That’s a toughie. I have mostly samples of U.S. coins, and necessarily the ones I might like best for design. I remember seeing the state quarters come out some years ago, and being unimpressed with any of the designs until Rhode Island’s came out.

      • I agree on the America the Beautiful designs. I felt that the big canvas the 5oz size had was a missed opportunity for something stellar. My favourites of those are pretty predictable for me…Bombay Hook, Cumberland Island, and the Everglades issues featuring favourite birds.

  6. Seems everyone’s said everything, Judy. Welcome back, we’ve missed you and your beautiful photos. Ardea… that’s timely since I’m now writing The Hare & The Adder in which Ardhea the Asaric Heron again appears!

    • I like the genus name of Ardea and your variant of Ardhea for your Asaric Heron!! Works for me!!! I look forward to another great read!!

      🙂 Happy 2022!!

      • It’s coming on a treat. Now reached that place where I’ve changed it in books which fall chronologically later in time, so this has to match!

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