During our visit to Indian Creek Recreation Area a few weeks ago, we noticed several Great Blue Herons. Like the other shore birds we saw, these were wary of humans and almost unapproachable. On our first afternoon there, I noticed a heron strolling along the shoreline of Indian Creek Reservoir adjacent to our campsite. I followed it and was able to snap the above photo before it saw me and flew away.
The heron returned to the same area several times during our stay. Because it was mostly backlit by the afternoon sunlight in the photo above, I tried again one morning, hoping for better lighting. Unfortunately, the only shot I got was while the heron was under the shade of a tree.
In the large cove on the other side of our campground, there was a metal structure sticking out of the water. One breezy afternoon another Great Blue Heron chose to perch on it to do some serious preening. The bird was far enough from me that it wasn’t annoyed by my presence, so I had more time to photograph it, albeit at a greater subject distance than in the above photos.
In the first photo below, the heron is relaxing before the next preening effort.
Here, the bird is involved in some serious preening. These preening sessions lasted several seconds each, during which the steady breeze usually distributed visible white fluff into the air.
The locations from which these photos were taken are shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.