Looking for herons and getting swallowed

A barn swallow looks like it is trying to stare me down.

Today was a top 10 weather day of the year, so I headed to the Raritan River hoping to find a heron or two. I went to a county park that is mainly a flood zone, there are a couple of soccer fields mowed among the tall grasses and a path to the river. I grabbed a bunch of gear and hiked over to the river.

Right away I saw a heron about 150 yards downstream. Wow, my lucky day, perfect weather and a beautiful bird right away. I needed to get much closer and rather than walk along the river and scare it away, I headed away from the river and into the tall grass, which was over my head. As I started walking, I could hear voices but there weren’t any other people in this part of the park.

A robin chirps as it looks for worms.

I walked a ways and then I saw the noise was coming from a fishing boat floating down the river. My luck ran out and the heron was gone by the time I got back to the river’s edge. I decided to sit along the river and see if the heron would come back, they frequently hang out in the same place day after day. I sat pretty still for over an hour but no heron or anything else.

Some days I get pretty mad when it doesn’t look like I’m going to get a shot. But the day was so perfect I decided it really didn’t matter if I got a picture or not, I would just enjoy what was there. As the sun was starting to get low, I hiked back to my Jeep.

I put my gear away and noticed some swallows, red-wing blackbirds, starlings and robins in a mowed area near the parking lot. So I watched them for a minute and they were pretty animated. I moved my Jeep so I could shoot out the window along a split-rail fence and into the grassy area. I shot some birds hopping and flying around and then a barn swallow landed on the fence right in front of my Jeep. Of course, I couldn’t shoot out the open window so I had to shoot through the windshield, which I hate doing. The windshield can distort the image and do some strange reflections. But I didn’t have any choice, the bird was nice and close and it was preening and acting a liitle goofy. It wasn’t the shot I thought I’d get, but I like it.

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