Great Blue Heron Catching Shad On A Windy Day

Great Blue Heron With Shad

Great Blue Heron With Shad

I photographed this Great Blue Heron catching shad yesterday at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It was a windy day and I think this had the shad pushed into this shallow cove. This Great Blue Heron was taking advantage of the wind and was catching lots of shad.

I usually don't see Herons in this location on windy days. They like being in the calmer backwaters.

The wind and the waves were not bothering this Great Blue Heron at all. I was able to photograph it catching three shad. It would have been four but it missed one.

A loud vehicle drove by and scared the Heron and it flew away.

I tried to research how much these birds eat in a day and couldn't find anything on Google.

Here are a few facts I did discover:

  • Herons spend approximately 90 percent of their waking hours stalking for food.

  • Great blue herons will hunt both during the day and the night. They have adapted eyes which help them to see in the dark.

Great Blue Heron With A Shad

Great Blue Heron With A Shad

Great Blue Heron Eating Shad

Great Blue Heron Eating Shad

How I Got The Shot - Great Blue Heron

I spotted this bird in an area to the west of Tuff Boat Ramp. This is a part of Kerr Reservoir which is the Arkansas River. I slowly drove toward the Heron watching the birds’ reaction. Most of the time I can tell when a Great Blue Heron is fixing to fly and I will stop my approach and let the bird settle down. I only had to do this once before I got in a good position.

I was using my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera with the Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens. I was shooting from the window of my pickup with my camera resting on a beanbag. I was shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 800. White Balance was set on auto. I was using single point, continuous auto focus with evaluative metering. It was a cloudy day, so I added a stop of exposure compensation.

BirdsSteve Creek