Last month we decided to check out Spanish Lake, a place we visit much less often than Lake Martin. While driving on the levee alongside the lake, I spotted outside my window a Great Blue Heron perched on a partially submerged log relatively close to shore. After stopping and aiming my long lens out the car window, I noticed the bird was surprisingly comfortable with the situation. It stayed in place long enough for me to get several full-length photos like this one.
It was even willing to pose for closeup shots like this.
Donnette was getting anxious to take some shots of the heron with her new Canon SL1 but was sitting on the wrong side of the car. There wasn’t enough room for her to get to my window, so she said she would quietly exit the car on her side and keep low until she could shoot over the hood of the car. I told her to go ahead and I would prepare to get some shots of the heron if she caused it to take off.
Sure enough, as soon as Donnette poked her head and camera over the hood of the car, the heron turned away from us. I got a shot of it looking like it was preparing for a standing vertical jump.
It immediately launched itself from the log …
… and then was off to the races, squawking loudly the whole time it flew away from us.
I try to learn what I can from blogs written by more experienced bird photographers. The authors of two blogs I follow very closely, Texas Tweeties and Feathered Photography, have both mentioned that vehicles make excellent blinds for bird photography. According to these two accomplished bird photographers, most birds will allow you approach them much closer in a car or pickup truck than on foot, and poking a camera out a vehicle window usually won’t bother them; however, if you step out of the vehicle, they are usually frightened away. That was certainly driven home to me on this day.
The location from which these photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.