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