I returned yesterday to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, where a few days prior I had spotted a Great Blue Heron reflecting beautifully in the water (see photo here). This time, the impressive bird was busy on the hunt, catching shad in Horton Slough.

Great Blue Heron Removing Shad From Water

Great Blue Heron Removing Shad From Water

The weather was proving challenging for wildlife photography – cloudy with on-and-off rain. This usually isn’t ideal as it requires a faster shutter speed to capture action, but raising the ISO to achieve that can add noise to the photo. Still, I set up my Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a 500mm lens on a tripod to see if I could photograph the heron without disturbing its hunt.

Great Blue Heron With Shad In Its Beak

Great Blue Heron With Shad In Its Beak

While the clouds brought out the deep blue and gray tones in the heron’s plumage, I missed many action shots due to my slower shutter speed. But after some patience, I managed to capture the power and precision of this hunter. The Great Blue Heron is renowned for its size, over 5 feet tall with a wingspan exceeding 6 feet. Equipped with lightning-quick reflexes and a spear-like beak, these wetland birds are formidable fishermen.

Great Blue Heron Flipping Shad

Great Blue Heron Flipping Shad

It was remarkable witnessing this beautiful bird exhibit its incredible hunting skills. Despite the weather, I’m thrilled to have captured a few shots of it snatching shad from the water, showcasing the beauty and talents of this Oklahoma wildlife icon. I feel fortunate to build memories experiencing sensational, raw moments like this in nature.

See another photo here of this heron with two shad in its grasp. Stay tuned for more posts from my wildlife photography adventures!

Image Information: Second Image

  • Date: 12/29/19
  • Time: 10:41 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
  • ISO: 2000
  • Aperture: 5.6
  • Shutter: 1/400
  • Exp. Comp.: -0.3
  • Lens (mm): 500
  • Program Mode: Aperture Priority