Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yet another change of pace

with 31 comments

Outside Corpus Christi’s Art Museum of South Texas on June 3rd as we were walking back to our car I noticed a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) standing on a piling in the bay right at the edge of the parking lot. Hurriedly going to my camera bag and putting on my telephoto lens, I made a bunch of portraits. A man fishing near by noticed what I was doing and volunteered to throw a fish onto the ground near where the heron was. I said sure: he threw his fish, the heron fluttered onto the ground and snatched it up, and I kept taking pictures till the fish disappeared down the bird’s long throat.


✬         ✬         ✬


Here’s some good news. In Chicago on June 6th, 20-year-old Anthony Perry had just arrived at his train station when he noticed a nearly unconscious man on the electrified third rail. Anthony jumped down on the track bed, nimbly worked his way into a good position, and pulled the injured man away.

“‘I was hoping I could just grab him and not feel nothing, but I felt a little shock,’ Perry said. ‘I felt it all through my body actually. I didn’t let that stop me.’ With the help of another commuter, Perry administered CPR, saving the man’s life.”

You’re welcome to read more about this heroic act and watch a 7-minute video about it.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2022 at 4:27 AM

31 Responses

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  1. Nice closeup of the heron and its meal. I won’t get into the baiting issue. Just kidding as you were honest about it. Lots of photographers, especially of raptors, draw their subjects in with their chosen food.

    Every once in awhile we hear a good news story amongst all the bad ones. The closest I’ve ever come to something like that was rescuing a skunk from a Yoplait container…or a spider form our shower. One would like to think we would all step up when an emergency arises but it does take some courage to do the right thing.

    Steve Gingold

    June 18, 2022 at 5:19 AM

    • The guy volunteered to give up one of his fish, so I thought it was polite to accept. The previous time someone offered to draw an animal closer so I could photograph it was last year, with a fox: https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2021/03/21/first-fox/

      Rescuing a skunk takes overcoming the fear of ending up stinking. If the spider was venomous, you might have run some risk there, too. I don’t know that I’m nimble enough now to jump down onto a track that has a third rail. Whether I would have when done that when I was 20, I can’t say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2022 at 7:01 AM

      • It acted curious when sensing my presence but I grabbed the cup and started running. We don’t have very many venomous spiders here and as far as I know only the brown recluse enters homes but they are rare here. Most of the spiders in our shower are the daddy longlegs variety.

        Steve Gingold

        June 18, 2022 at 2:56 PM

        • Grabbing the cup and sprinting away sounds like a good approach.
          Texas has a few more venomous spiders than you do, but I think they’re still relatively rare. Daddy longlegs certainly aren’t a problem.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 18, 2022 at 3:29 PM

  2. What a great sighting, and heartwarming story this morning!


    June 18, 2022 at 6:50 AM

  3. The blue heron stands like a statue on its post, almost like an abstraction. When gobbling down the fish, he appears very much alive.

    Peter Klopp

    June 18, 2022 at 8:21 AM

    • Most of the time that the heron stood on the piling it was still, except that it would occasionally move its head to look in a different direction. I took pictures of it looking left, right, and straight ahead.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2022 at 8:52 AM

  4. I enjoyed the post, Steve. I am always amazed how herons can swallow fish whole.

    It is always good to see uplifting news.

    Lavinia Ross

    June 18, 2022 at 9:24 AM

    • So that’s downswallowing followed by uplifting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2022 at 3:25 PM

      • Uplifting is always good. I had a heart attack two weeks ago and almost died. I like uplifting things. Too many things out there I can’t change. 🙂

        Lavinia Ross

        June 19, 2022 at 4:11 PM

  5. Great teamwork!


    June 18, 2022 at 9:39 AM

  6. Stunning photo and a much needed good news report…thanks for the link. 🙂

  7. That’s an excellent pose in the first image, love the bright eye.


    June 18, 2022 at 9:57 AM

    • Fortunately I had no shortage of good poses to choose from, which as you know isn’t always the case. I hope my photographer’s eye stays bright, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 18, 2022 at 3:31 PM

  8. Well, no one ever gave you a papaya, but no one has ever volunteered to toss a fish to a bird for a great photo moment!

    The link to the story – wow. What a lovely story! We need more good stories like this!

    • And no one ever promised me a rose garden, either. Actually, while no one has given me a papaya here, we’ve occasionally bought one in a supermarket or grocery store. And yes, the linked episode is inspiring.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 19, 2022 at 9:02 PM

  9. I smiled at your heron story. I suspect what the fisherman did wasn’t an example of ‘baiting’ in the sense that Steve mentioned. Birds are quick studies, and the droppings on the piling suggest the heron you found had been studying for a while. Wade fishermen often toss fish that don’t meet their requirements to the birds that hang around, and the more they toss, the more the birds hang around. When I watch shrimp boats come in, they often have egrets and herons riding on their stern, or pelicans diving behind them snatching the ‘culls’ that the crew toss away. Beyond that, every fish cleaning table up and down the coast has pelicans, herons, gulls, and such just waiting for the goodies that get tossed into the water.

    My hunch is that the heron was a regular in the area, and that he’d made a few friends. He certainly made a fine model for your portrait; there’s nothing more fun than watching a heron gulp down a fish — unless it’s watching a photographer record the event.


    June 19, 2022 at 8:12 PM

    • It’s clear that living near the coast as you do and having all those years of nautical experience, many chances have come your way to get to know the ways of shore birds. Encroaching briefly on that world, I was happy to get a few good pictures of something “alien.” You may be interested to know that here in the center of the state, peach growers also refer to their bruised, broken, or misshapen fruit as culls. Years ago we would occasionally buy a boxes of culls cheap, remove the pits, and freeze the rest as raw material for weeks of peach smoothies.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 19, 2022 at 9:42 PM

      • I was thinking about the story of the dramatic rescue at work today, and remembered another rescue that took place in your fair city over the weekend: the paddleboarder who got the TP&W pilot who landed his plane in Lady Bird Lake to dry land and medical help. It wasn’t quite so dramatic, but these days anyone who takes the time and makes the effort to help someone is to be commended.


        June 20, 2022 at 5:33 PM

  10. A timely catch.


    June 20, 2022 at 12:15 AM

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