The Great Blue Heron, Up Close

I spent some time today with a new friend. She, or perhaps he, is an awesome blue heron. I don't know how to determine a heron's gender. I've read the males are markedly larger, so you can tell by the birds' sizes if you have a mated pair, but, alas, I had only the one on hand.

I shall presume she is female, because she is lovely, and I'm patriarchal or something. She's also very patient. She allowed me to come as close as I pleased, so long as I kept my movements peaceful and stayed on the shore.

I'm not sure if blue herons winter over in New Jersey. I should hope not. It's getting cold and the weather is bound to turn brutal in a few weeks. For her sake, I hope she moves on soon. In the meantime, I enjoy our little photo shoots.