My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Sunday at the pond

It all started innocently enough, I intended to get a few good photos of a great blue heron I saw hunting in a pond. I was taking my daily walk around the apartment complex where I live when I spotted the heron, and I circled the pond so that the lighting would be better for the photos I planned to take. When I go to the other side, I decided it was such a nice day, that I would sit there on the hill overlooking the pond, get a few heron shots, and spend some time soaking up the sun. Almost as soon as I sat down, the heron leapt into flight.

Great blue heron in flight

Great blue heron in flight

Fortunately, it didn’t go far, must be the fishing wasn’t very good where it had been.

Great blue heron landing

Great blue heron landing

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

It didn’t take the heron long to make its first catch in its new location.

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

Then, a mother mallard and her brood swam over near the heron.

Great blue heron and mallards

The mallards didn’t seem to bother the heron, it went on fishing.

Great blue heron catching a fish

Great blue heron with its catch

Great blue heron with its catch

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

That one must not have tasted very good.

Great blue heron

In the meantime, one of the mallard ducklings decided it was time to spruce up a little, while mama looked on.

Mother mallard watching her duckling bathe

Mother mallard watching her duckling bathe

Mallard duckling bathing

And, the heron kept on fishing.

Great blue heron

And to add some more action, a kingfisher began hovering over the pond, then began its dive.

Belted kingfisher diving for a fish

I missed the splashdown, but I caught the kingfisher just after it came back up.

Belted kingfisher in flight

Belted kingfisher in flight

The heron kept on fishing.

Great blue heron

I heard the mother mallard give one quick alarm quack to her young, and I looked around to find this.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Red-tailed hawk in flight

The heron kept on fishing.

Great blue heron

And it kind of surprised me, but the rest of the mallard ducklings decided to spruce up, even though the hawk had just been overhead.

Mallard ducklings

Mallard ducklings

The heron made another catch.

Great blue heron with its catch

Then, three male mallards swam over…

Male mallards

…and began showing off.

Male mallards

The heron kept on fishing.

Great blue heron

The male mallards got out of the water, and started quite the discussion.

Mallards

One of the males must have said something the female didn’t like, for she attacked one of the males.

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

He didn’t like that at all, and turned on her.

Male mallard attacking a female

Male mallard attacking a female

She turned the tables back on him.

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

Then the two of them started jawing back and forth.

Mallards quacking at each other

Mallards quacking at each other

He must have really insulted her, for she leapt up into the air….

Female mallard attacking a male

…and dive bombed the male.

Female mallard attacking a male

Female mallard attacking a male

One of the other males got between the two of them, and broke up the fight.

Mallards being mallards

The female declared victory.

Female mallard declaring victory

And, they all head back to shore, where the conversation continued.

Mallards talking

The heron kept on fishing, as if none of that was going on just a few feet from him.

Great blue heron fishing

The female mallard left with one of the males.

A pair of mallards in flight

A pair of mallards in flight

One of the other males took off to follow them.

Mallards in flight

Leaving the third male and the ducklings behind. He didn’t stick around for long though.

Male mallard taking flight

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

Male mallard in flight

And, the heron kept on fishing.

Great blue heron with its catch

That’s when the SD card in my camera reached its capacity. As I was headed home to swap to the spare card, the female returned, minus the two males, I was wondering if she was going to leave her ducklings for long.

In all, I was there at the pond for a little more than half an hour. I didn’t include shots of robins, red-winged blackbirds, or the bad shots of a killdeer flying overhead that I also took there. There may have even been others, so much was happening that it was hard to keep track of it all.

As I was walking away, I pulled out my back up point and shoot camera to show you that the heron kept right on fishing.

Great blue heron

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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25 responses

  1. Wow! What an exciting time for you, Jerry. Great collection of photos. Catching that kingfisher in flight is exceptional.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:45 am

    • Thanks Bob, the only way I can catch a kingfisher is in flight, they won’t sit still for me.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

  2. What an amazing set of photographs! The first 2 look like paintings – love them. And the mallard with the reflection in the water – wow! πŸ™‚

    May 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    • Thank you Zelmare! I hope I can keep them coming in return for the great photos that you take from a place I’ll probably never be able to visit, but would love to.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

      • I’ll have to get active on my side then, because I’m seriously lagging behind in quantity!!! πŸ™‚ I do hope you’ll be able to get to our side of the world one day. If you do, be sure to let me know!! πŸ™‚

        May 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

  3. Awesome action shots! Especially the heron and kingfisher. Lately I’ve heard the strong splash of a kingfisher striking the water surface of a narrow tree-lined stream but haven’t managed a picture through the leafy limbs. It’s great to see your pictures of the fisher in flight.

    May 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    • Thank you! It has always been hard for me to get good shots of kingfishers, I am wishing you much better luck than I have had!

      May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

  4. That’s an action-packed half hour! You have a great pond near where you live!

    May 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    • Thank you! I would love to spend day after day moving from one of the ponds here to the next, and just sit for a while at each one, as they are all great for watching wildlife, but then, I would miss what goes on along the creeks, which are just as good.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

  5. Those were great pictures-I love great blue herons. I’ve heard that if they swallow a fish tail first they can choke to death, but I don’t know how true it is. I suppose it would depend on the size of the fish. Those mallards are hilarious as usual.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    • Thank you! I have heard the same thing, I hope that I never see it to confirm it, but I think that it also depends on the species of fish, their shape, and how spiny the fish’s fins are. But in typing this a thought occurred to me, I understand that herons regurgitate the fish for their young, in that case, they would either have the fish come up the wrong way, or, they have to be able to reorient the fish in their crop before they feed their young. Hmmm?

      May 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

      • Excellent observation-I never thought of that. Fins could indeed be just as bad going either way.

        May 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

  6. Fantastic storyline and behavioral action photography, Jerry, loved it, well done! Many favorites but absolutely love the male mallard taking flight with perfect reflections! πŸ™‚

    May 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    • Thank you Donna!

      May 15, 2012 at 10:03 am

  7. I too enjoyed the reflections with the male mallard. It’s also fun to sit on on a lover’s quarrel. What do ducks have to fight about? It sure makes you wonder!

    May 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    • Thank you! Watching animals makes me wonder just how much of human nature we inherited from nature to begin with.

      May 15, 2012 at 10:02 am

  8. That was a gripping presentation. You set us up for something momentous to happen then introduce the eagle, so it wasn’t until you got up to get the spare card that I started to breathe easy again, so afraid was I that the eagle might come back for one of the ducklings! And the photos themselves … Many of them compositions of individual beauty, deserving of a show of their own. Bravo:).

    May 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    • Thank you very much, I just shot things as they happened, nature provided the script.

      May 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

      • You recount4ed it to us:)

        May 15, 2012 at 10:02 am

  9. plantsamazeme

    Amazing! What an exciting day! You are a wonderful storyteller and a great photographer. Are you part bird? πŸ™‚

    May 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

    • Thank you! The only thing I have in common with birds is my brain πŸ˜‰

      May 15, 2012 at 9:58 am

      • plantsamazeme

        πŸ™‚

        May 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  10. Oh my! I love your photos! I’m amazed at how clearly you can get birds in flight! That’s my goal someday! These shots are stunning and I love your accompanying story! I was on Northern Narrative’s blog and you mentioned being from MI…you mentioned the StemFest from Holland! I live south of Lansing. So hello, fellow Michiganian, it’s nice to meet you! I love your blog!

    May 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    • Thank you Judy, and thanks for following my blog! The secret of getting good shots of birds in flight is practice, and that means lots of bad photos of birds in flight. πŸ™‚ It’s nice to meet a fellow blogger from Michigan as well.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

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