If you want to take Great Blue Heron photos in winter, on snow and ice, then head to Bear River MBR in Utah after the marsh freezes and the snow starts to fall.
Great Blue Heron close up on ice – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Winter is when I have taken some of my favorite images of this heron species at the refuge. I’ve taken images of these herons in fog so thick that I could barely see the birds. The herons looked especially prehistoric in dense fog.
Great Blue Heron hunting from an ice shelf – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Fluffed up Great Blue Heron walking on ice – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
That winter morning was truly delightful. It was bright and cold, and I had dozens of birds in my viewfinder all to myself. It was quiet, peaceful, and yet exhilarating at the same time.
Great Blue Heron in a winter wonderland – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
This heron had my full attention for a good long time. The sparkles of the sunlight on the snow just added to what felt like magic to me in a gorgeous winter wonderland.
Great Blue Heron watching winter ducks – Nikon D500, f16, 1/640, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The heron stood watching the winter ducks in the water for a bit. It had already tried to swipe a shad from a Common Goldeneye earlier. If the large bird had even a half a chance to pirate a fish away from a duck, I am sure the heron would have given it a try.
Adult Great Blue Heron on an ice shelf at Bear River MBR – Nikon D500, f11, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I took so many images that wonderful winter morning that I still haven’t gone through them all. After watching all the action and laughing for most of the time, I was a bit hoarse when I tried to talk later in the day.
Great Blue Heron about to land on ice – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Finding herons to photograph in the winter at the refuge isn’t all that hard. I look for them next to open water where they can fish. They need to eat to survive the bitter cold winter temperatures.
The snow can also make them more visible since their plumage contrasts nicely against the pristine white background.
Winter Great Blue Heron on ice – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/4000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It doesn’t require any special skills to photograph Great Blue Herons in winter at the refuge, but I know for sure that it can feel like magic. Birds and magic in the marsh. I like that feeling.
Life is good.
Click here to see more of my Great Blue Heron photos plus facts and information about this species.
Autor Mia McPherson