Juvenile and adult great blue herons.
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A juvenile great blue heron stopped by one morning.
[This bird seems to have no neck as its head sits right atop its body. Most of the bird including the top of its head is covered in grey feathers. Its belly is a mixture of grey and white.]

I didn't realize what the bird was until it started moving. I recognized the movements of the great blue heron even though this juvenile had yet to show its long neck.
[The juvenile is walking just on the other side of the locked gate of the chain link fence.]

An adult great blue heron with its wispy mating plumage.
[The heron stands in water right beside the grassy bank. Wisps of long feathers come down from its necck and over its back.]

I referred to this top fence rail as my studio as so many birds stopped here to view the surroundings and I was able to photograph them from my room's window.
[The heron stands on the fence rail facing the right.]

This great blue heron is having a snake for lunch.
[Although this view is from the back, there is clearly a long curved, skinny thing coming from the bird's mouth.]

A side view of the heron eating the snake.
[The snake is definitely hanging from the heron's mouth in this view, however the snake's color blends in a bit with the grass.]

This image was taken through a fence, but still gives a sense of just how big the wings are in relation to the body.
The wingspan is approximately six feet.
[The heron has its wings fully outstretch with its head forward, but its legs are hanging down. There are diagonal lines across the image from the de-focused fence wires.]

The "flasher" pose. As soon as it noticed me on the other side of the fence it pulled its wings back to its body in a normal stance.
(Photo taken through fence.)
[The heron stands on the grown has its wings spread to the side as if it were a person opening a cloak to expose himself to passerbys.]

Another bird in the flasher pose.
It's believed the heat from the sun helps flush out or kill parasites which are then more easily removed from the feathers.
[This bird has its wings more in a cupped posed rather than spread to the side. However, its body is still fully exposed and it is definitely facing the sun.]

Side view of the flasher.
(Photo taken through the fence.)
[Side view of the head, neck, and body. The near wing is at a 45 degree angle to the body.]

The great blue heron appears to be checking its feathers for intruders.
[Side view of the heron with its head bent down looking at its wing closest to the camera. It has the feathers of that wing spread apart.]

Continue to page 2 of 2 to see more of these big birds.

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