I watched this near adult stalk the shallows like an adult hunting for fish. Only it was spearing leaves instead. No doubt testing and honing it's hunting skills. For while it patents still dutifully feed the 3 remain chicks just like they did when the weren't strong enough to leave the nest, that won't last forever, if much longer at all.
Soon the parents will let the children to fend for themselves, and by then this chick will have had to become an expert at spearing wiggling darting prey, not just stationery objects like this leaf. So for now practise makes perfect.
This went for me as well. As I could tell it had a built in tolerance of people, just as it parents had, my close up presence didn't unnerve it. This allowed me to get within just under 40 ft or so of it. That I have learned without any doubt is the cutoff distance for my 70-300mm nikkor to record at least reasonably sharp images of nature subjects. Any farther out and the image quality tails off considerably, and beyond 50 ft the shots look like pure crap.
That is why every shot of the nest I've taken both this year and last was with my 300mm Nikkor, or that plus my 1.4 tele-converter. They are manual focus optics from a generation ago, but they were designed by Nikon engineers to pull in distant objects, and do it with perfect clarity. And that as you can tell from the shots of the nest they do superbly.
The down side is being 30 years old besides being manual focus optics, my 300mm also doesn't have image stabilization. So with this active chick moving erratically around making a tripod impossible, I needed something auto focus enabled with good reach to it. Not razor sharp at this distance, but reasonably good enough, I was able to follow the young heron around, and practise my predictive action focusing skill which definitely needs improvement. So both of us were practicing out at the lake today.
summerStaten IslandClove LakesGreat blue heronbirdsnatureheronsNYC