Pure Bliss – Weekly Photo Challenge

“By two wings man is lifted up from things earthly, by simplicity and purity.”

Thomas Kempis



There were many ways to address this week’s “pure” challenge, but since I recently visited the incredible rookery in nearby Wadmalaw Island, I decided to focus on the pure grace and beauty of the birds that nest there.  To get a better idea of the density of the population, visit my blog page where I’ve included a small segment of the area in my header.

My post opens with a sweet little egret chick who seemingly awaits the arrival of its siblings. The thing I found most interesting is the maturity of the chick. Typically the chicks arrive within hours or days of each other. This chick is surprisingly well-developed considering the other eggs have not yet hatched.



“A pure heart is a powerful heart.”

Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

Since I visited the same rookery last year I decided to impose some new challenges on myself this time around. Among several shots I self-assigned, most important was to capture birds in flight – no small task. I was pleased with the capture above showing a beautiful heron against the pure blue of the sky and the light of the moon in the midst of a beautiful morning.



“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

Oscar Wilde

Above I’ve featured the pure grace of a cattle egret rising upward toward the sky. The power of the birds’  wings is quite amazing as you watch them lift themselves from the branches to soar high overhead or to sweep downward toward their water-bound prey.



“Purity of heart illuminates your life with light and strength of character.”

Hector P. Perez

My second challenge was to capture more than one species in a single shot.  There is definitely truth to the old saying “Birds of a feather flock together”. In fact it is quite unusual to find two different species in the same vicinity – they tend to defend their territory quite vigorously from others. Above we see an egret and a heron, if not companionable, at least tolerating each other. Below, not so much 😊.



“The purest of heart often carries the heaviest burdens.”

Marie Sabillio

Somewhat less tolerant, this heron has staked its claim and wants no part of the great white egret thinking to invade its territory. Shooting birds in motion is definitely a challenge and in this case I’d have liked to have used a faster shutter speed and a different aperture to capture the egret a bit more clearly, but you get the idea.



“Purity is defined by the clearness of the stars”

Michael Biondi

Once I’d met my self-imposed challenges, I set about capturing the birds I found the most interesting. The shot above is a tricolored heron, which I found particularly sleek and graceful. His posture seemed to me a bit sad, but he’s probably just studying the water below for its fishing potential.



“The temple of our purest thoughts is silence.”

Sarah J. Hale

Is there anything more pure that the love a mother for her children – or in this case of a mother egret for her chicks? At the farm there are chicks of all ages, and parents are constantly soaring, dipping and diving for their next meal. The activity level and cacaphony are amazing.



“My strength has the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Above a pair of heron chicks in a perfectly mirrored position. It’s interesting to observe the young birds as yet unable to fly. Typically there is an older sibling that is very protective of the other chick(s) in the nest. When they are newly-hatched the chicks will peck at each other much as young human siblings will pick on each other. But the moment a third-party comes along they will fight hard to protect their younger brothers and sisters from the intruder.



“Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Finally, I loved the feeling of the younger bird hiding beneath the wings of his slightly older sibling. To me it spoke to the purity of the bond between the two, and the trust the youngster placed in his brother or sister. Would that we could all feel so protected as we make our way in the world.

For me, a day at the rookery is pure bliss; bug bites and hot sun despite the early hour notwithstanding! Sincere thanks to my friend Jack for sharing this amazing place.


77 thoughts on “Pure Bliss – Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Love your pictures, Tina! I particularly adore the hatchling with his/her baby hairs and the little nestlings. Wonderful captures, all of them!

  2. What an amazing experience Tina. These birds are pure delight to watch all the antics. A photographers dream location. And the quotes are so well chosen too.

    • It’s a really amazing spot John. I think because it’s so remote and private so the birds are perfectly protected from intruders. I’m very fortunate to know the owner who is very generous in sharing it.

  3. This is an amazing series of bird shots, Tina. What a diverse array of shots, and it’s so hard to pick a favourite. You did very well there with the birds in flight despite the shutter speed. Sometimes you the only thing you can do is press the shutter and hope for the best that a half-decent shot turns out 😀

    I would say the last shot is my favourite. Banana beaks, lol. Very apt 😀 I really like the “Alfred Lord Tennyson” It’s amazing how a selfless and kind heart can impact on others around us, and in some cases, it encourages us all to band together, protect each other and share in the love. These egrets certainly know that and they are quite a family 🙂

    • Thanks Mabel, it’s such a rich environment for photography it’s hard not to get some keepers! The family bonds between the birds are very obvious and were very much a surprise to me. Hard not to believe they have similar feelings to our own.

  4. What a great post ~ your first photo is the perfect opening shot matching your title, pure bliss indeed. My favorite photo is matched with my favorite quote ~ “My strength has the strength of ten because my heart is pure.” and the double juvies ready to head out and explore the world 🙂

    • Thanks Randall – it’s a very special place and I’m very lucky to have some limited access to it through a good friend, also a photographer. I loved the juvies too – they looked so interested in the world around them!

  5. Amazing photos. I love your bird shots. Our photography club has birds for its quarterly theme but I am failing miserably, especially at getting birds in flight. It is very difficult, isn’t it. Plants are so much easier!

    • Agree wholeheartedly Annette. It’s very hard and takes practice but you’ll get there I’m sure! The good news about your garden is I’m sure it draws lots of birds!!

  6. Spectacular shots and particularly good light too.

    I still can’t capture a bird in flight (unless its a seagull gliding in to land). I always make this a challenge for myself, but except by sheer chance I doubt I ever will.

    • Oh no Vicki – you can definitely do it! The best tips are us a fast shutter speed and observe for a while before shooting. Then point the lens ahead of where the birds are flying and catch them as they come into your lens! You go girl!!

  7. They are all incredible. Something about a parent standing guard over two puck-rock prodigies that warmed my heart.

  8. Tina–these are all beautiful but my favorites are the first and last photos. In the first, I am sure it is the lighting but the chick and the eggs seem to be the same robin’s egg blue–so pretty. The last photo…well, that is just plain precious. Excellent photos, as always.

    • Thanks Lois – actually it’s a combo of lighting and the birds’ coloring. When they’re this young their veins show through their skin a bit so they actually DO look a bit blue. As for the last – I just loved how the second bird hid behind his big brother/sister. Thanks!

  9. The rookery gets more amazing every year and you capture it beautifully. Love the interaction of the siblings!

  10. Stunning images and quotes, Tina. Love the fluffy babies, especially. I really smiled at the looks on the faces of the Great Egret and the Great BLue Heron in the photos featuring them both. 😀

    • THanks Julie – I suspect there was some reflection at play on that shot but the baby birds are a very bizarre color. Their insides kind of show through their strands of hair so it’s kind of like the blue you sometimes see in older people’s veins. Glad you enjoyed these.

  11. What fun, Tish! We have a rookery near us, but you can’t get too close when the birds are little. I love the baby bird shots and they really make me smile. Thanks for meeting your self-imposed challenges so marvelously and sharing the results with us.


  12. The colors and textures in that first photo of chick and eggs are so beautiful! I love the soft blues set off against the nest and the wispy chick next to the stucco-like eggs. I could look at that for a long time and see something new over and over again!

  13. WOW – great photos and quotes – love “By two wings man is lifted up from things earthly, by simplicity and purity.” Thomas Kempis. Perfect. have a wonderful weekend.

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