Yesterday I wrote about an image I took of a Great Blue Heron standing on one leg on a fishing pier (Great Blue Heron’s One-Legged Stance). That blog post was about why birds like herons often stand on one leg. Today I am sharing two photos I took of this same Great Blue Heron on the same fishing pier at Charleston Lake. The photos I’m sharing today are extreme close-ups. I was lucky to be parked next to the fishing pier when this bird decided to land on it. I was able to get a photo of it standing on one leg which I shared in yesterday’s blog post.

Since this heron didn’t seem bothered by me photographing it from inside my truck, I decided to switch to a different camera and lens to get some close-ups. I switched to a much longer lens and was able to get these portraits. I also benefited from great early morning light from the sun which helps show the details and colors in the feathers. I will share the equipment I used and my camera settings below.

Details of a Great Blue Heron

Details of a Great Blue Heron (A Larger View)

Here are a few reasons I think Great Blue Herons like spending time on fishing piers early in the morning:

Great Blue Herons are known to hunt early in the morning or early evening, but will come at any time of day. They are skilled hunters and will prey on a variety of animals, including fish, frogs, large insects, small birds, and more. Their preference for fishing piers in the early morning may be due to the abundance of fish and other potential prey in the area during that time. The quiet and undisturbed nature of the early morning may also make it easier for them to hunt.

Additionally, the vantage point and visibility provided by the fishing piers may offer them a strategic advantage in spotting and catching their prey. However, I did not witness this particular heron attempting to catch any prey during the time I observed it on the pier. It seemed to simply be enjoying the early morning sun before it flew off to join another Great Blue Heron that passed by. Therefore, the combination of plentiful prey and favorable hunting conditions likely attracts Great Blue Herons to fishing piers early in the mornings, even if they are not actively hunting at all times.

A Heron's Morning Stillness

A Heron’s Morning Stillness (Larger View)

Image Information:

  • Date: 01/03/24
  • Time: 08:36 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: Canon RF 800mm F11
  • ISO: 1600
  • Aperture: 11
  • Shutter: 1/800
  • Exp. Comp.: 0
  • Lens (mm): 800
  • Program Mode: Manual