Monday, July 25, 2016

Shhhh...The Heron Is Sleeping

Roger spotted the heron before I did. Its head was hardly visible between the rocks down by the brackish pond. We've seen it in the water here very often, always hunting for little fishes. It took me second to see it. Ahhh, what an interesting perspective. It was standing below the rocky edge.
I took a few photos and then we walked along the path a little further to get a slightly different perspective. It surprised us that it didn't take off. We were really pretty close to it.
As we walked on, it was visible behind the weedy dandelions along the edge of the pond. Still quite calm and unafraid.
That's when I noticed that it was closing its eyes and getting ready for a little nap in the warm afternoon sun. What an interesting thing to see. I was so surprised that its lower lid rises up like this.
Eyes closed and falling asleep. 
We walked on, thanked it for such a nice opportunity for a close up look, and wished it the sweetest dreams.
Nasreen asked a very good question in the first comment here. So, I updated the blog with a photo to show how far we were from the heron. I  had zoomed in at 60X to get these photos.  Click on the pic to see if you can find it! The rocks are a clue.


  1. Great pictures. I really like that last one. Either you are a calming influence or else that bird has no survival instincts. Shouldn't it at least stay awake when people are near?

  2. Pure poetry! Astonishing! Splendid! Wow!!!

    Eyes are immensely expressive, open and closed.

  3. So nice to see! Lucky you!

  4. Wow, great photos! What a sweet-looking bird.

  5. Ha! Tough life for a California heron. Eating and sleeping on a sunlit shore.
    Given that birds have a nictitating eyelid which protects the eye but allows them to see, I'm surprised it didn't opt to use that for its nap. then again, it may well know that there are no dangers along that shoreline.
    Great capture of a peaceful moment in in the GBH's life!

  6. Nasreen-- Glad you liked the photos. We were actually not as close as the pics suggest. Close enough for good photos, but not so close to scare it.

    am-- It was a lovely moment. I was so happy to be there to watch it fall asleep.

    kenju-- It was so nice to see.

    Sharon-- Herons really are big, beautiful, impressive birds.

    CCorax-- It's a pretty safe place for birds during the day. Lots of visitors who adore them from afar. It's different at night when the predators are out and about. I loved seeing this bird fall asleep!

  7. Amazing shots. When I saw how far your were from the bird I realized what an awesome zoom you have.
    Why am I surprised they nap in the day time?

  8. Oh yes, I see it in the last shot. I've never seen a sleeping heron before -- how cool is that?

  9. Wonderful shots! Most of the time herons are warily keeping an eye on the intrusive human with a camera.

  10. Nice images! I try to be respectful of herons when I come across them fishing or just loafing in the water, but they almost always take flight as soon a they see me. You and Roger must radiate an aura of St. Francis of Assisi to be able to catch this individual falling asleep. Any, by the way, our pet parrot closes his eyes by raising his lower lids, just like your heron.

    1. Scott-- Usually the bird are far enough away that our presence doesn't scare them. This was the closest we've gotten. When I saw how the heron closes its eyes, I googled around and found that birds do close their eyes lower lid up. Made me think about dinosaurs and wonder if they did it that way too!

  11. Arkansas Patti-- The camera does have an awesome zoom. We were a little closer when I took the photo between the rocks. Still we were closer than we usually get, and that's because it was on the shore and not in the water. I think it was just taking a little nap!

    Tara-- I hadn't ever seen a sleeping heron before either. It was cool to watch it fall asleep.

    Larry-- I think the birds here a bit habituated to humans. We can't really encroach on their spaces, but we get close enough for good visuals. Glad you like the photos!

  12. Amazing that you saw the bird from that far away. Especially given that it was among the rocks of similar color.

  13. NCmountainwoman-- When Roger first saw the heron we were on the other side of the first photo by the rocks. We walked to where I took the last few photos, zoomed in pretty far.

  14. Never got close enough to see one sleeping. Maybe it was old, sick or injured. And you guys have some awesome eyeballs. I would not have seen it at all.

  15. Nicely caught there and a lot closer that the one I spotted in our neighbours garden

  16. jsk-- This heron likes to hangout where the brackish pond fills with the tide. The fish are best there! We didn't see its eyes closing with our human eyes, only through the zoomed in lens on the camera. Sure would be cool if we could have watched it, but it was way too far away, although closer than we usually get.

    Bill-- Glad you liked this. Herons are wonderfully photogenic birds.

  17. Sleeping was a nice touch, robin.

  18. Loren-- I was so glad to watch that eye close.