Lens-Artists Challenge #50 – Trees

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Nelson Henderson

2 egret juveniles


I’m stretching a bit to respond to Ann-Christine’s TREES challenge this week. Having spent some time shooting a copse of trees where a number of beautiful birds have decided to locate their rookery, I’m focused on the birds within the trees rather than the trees themselves. But after all, where would the birds (or for that matter we) be without the trees in the first place?!



“Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heavens.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Although a good friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with the birds, we are hopeful they will move on before they’ve destroyed the lovely trees they inhabit. Their chicks are no longer little – in fact the best way to identify a juvenile is to watch them being fed by their avian parents (see below). They’re testing their wings by flapping and jumping around but are not quite ready to fly. We laughed out loud at some of their antics.

egret parent feeding juveniles


“We can learn a lot from trees. They’re always grounded but never stop reaching heavenward.”

Everett Mamor

We were impressed by the number of birds and how closely they’d located their nests. Cormorants were next to anhingas, herons were nesting on the same branches as egrets -a truly integrated neighborhood! There was an amazing cacophony of sound as the chicks called to their parents and to each other across the entire rookery.

anhinga chicks and parent


“The story of the tree is written on every leaf.”

Marty Rubin

As we made our way around the rookery we marveled at how clever the birds had been in choosing their location. They’d built their nests deep in the greenery of a set of trees surrounded on one side by water and on the other by an impenetrable growth of bramble bushes. There was no way to capture them other than with a long lens. Even at 200mm, my images this week required cropping to show the details of the rookery’s inhabitants.

Egrets in the trees


“There’s nothing more beautiful than watching trees getting dressed up for Spring and Summer.”

Charmaine J Fordy

The rookery is located smack in the middle of an area between the third and fourth holes of one of our local golf courses. Many a ball has been lost to the pond fronting the rookery, which is also a popular areas for juvenile gators and their watchful parents. Needless to say, only a fool would try to retrieve a ball there.



“Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

John Muir

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning with the nesting birds and their homes in the greenery.  Let’s hope the area is still green when they decide it’s time to move along to their next location😊. Wherever they end up, we’ll do our best to find them. Their last rookery was only a few blocks away and was equally protected by water and densely stickered bushes – I expect nothing different next year. 

flying egret with branch


“A forest bird never wants a cage.”

Henrik Ibsen

Hopefully Ann-Christine will forgive my “tweak” of her Trees challenge. How about you? Are you focused on the trees themselves or the wildlife that inhabits them? We look forward to seeing your interpretation whatever way you decided to go. If you’re new to our challenge, click here for instructions on joining the fun – and don’t forget your Lens-Artists tag.  We hope to see you next week when Amy shares her take on the next Lens-Artists challenge.





76 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #50 – Trees

      • It’s common to find a quotation repeated on many websites with nothing more than an author’s name attached. In quite a few cases the alleged author turns out to be incorrect, and I was beginning to think this was another instance of that, when finally I hit on the article I linked to.

  1. Tina – I adore your take on the tree prompt. The birds are huge compared to the ones I see where I live! I would’ve been right there with you clicking my camera – you captured so many fun shots of them in action.

  2. These trees are splendid homes for the birds. Good way to stretch the challenge, Tina. With them around, what does the surrounding smell like?

  3. enchanting magical images captured superbly, loved all – and the quote ‘a forest bird never wants a cage ‘ by Henrik Ibsen has such deep meanings. beautiful work. It is a great pleasure to be here. Thank you

  4. Beautiful photos or gorgeous birds! A few years back Cornell Lab of Ornithology had a Heron Cam that allowed us to watch the incubation and raising of a family of Blue Herons – it was amazing. Birds and trees go together, can’t have one without the other 🙂

  5. I so enjoy being a student of your lens and beautiful words👍 u truly captured these stunning friends😜

  6. A beautiful interpretation of the theme, Tina. I think that’s the great thing about the challenges–the way we each interpret them in a unique way! I can see why you’re captivated by the rookery. Wow. Amazing shots! Your images are so crisp and the details are marvelous. I’m impressed that you were using a 200 mm lens! I would have thought it was higher intensity. A really great job!

  7. Trees and birds do seem to go together. These are all wonderful, but the blue heron is especially gorgeous. You really got the delicacy of the color and the beautiful details of the feathering.

  8. Pingback: Lemme Take You To The Beach – Proscenium

  9. Glorious images, as usual, Tina! And if it wasn’t for the trees – where would the birds be? I don’t know about stretching…that is really what it is about, isn’t it? Your own touch – and yours is gorgeous! Such gracious birds. So alive in your pictures. And John Muir is so right.

  10. Gorgeous set of photos Tina – the blue heron is stunning!! We visited an alligator zoo in St. Augustine and they have a rookery there. We learned that it is a symbiotic relationship – the birds will nest around alligators because they keep the predators away

  11. Such gorgeous shots of the birds, Tina, so majestic among those beautiful trees. Reminds me of an old Andy Griffith episode where Opie accidentally killed a mama bird and had to raise the babies. After Opie opened the cage to let them fly away, he remarked that the cage seemed so empty. Griffith simply said, “yes, but don’t the trees seem nice and full.”

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