Lunch with a Great Blue Heron
Fish.....      Tasty. -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fish.....      Tasty.
Great Blue Heron at Home -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 78mm — 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Great Blue Heron at Home
at the Reina de Reina Mexican Restaurant

Every once in a while we see a great blue heron around this building (across from where these night blossom shots were taken), usually standing motionless on the sloping banister wall. The first time we saw him we didn't even realize it was real, until eventually it moved slightly.

I happened to have my camera with me when I saw him on the banister wall today, and was about to take his picture when he jumped down to the stairs leading to the basement property. I ran up to look, and saw him go down and inside, and then saw a lady close the door. Odd!

The lady soon came out with a plate of fish, followed by the blue heron with an “enough already, hand'em over!” look in its eye. In the out-of-focus show below (sorry), you can see his crest is quite, uh, crested.

Hungry Heron -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/4000 sec, f/3.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Hungry Heron
Crest Subsides After First Fish -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98mm — 1/5000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250, — map & image datanearby photos
Crest Subsides After First Fish
Fifth Fish Unflaps Feathered Fedora -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 116mm — 1/640 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fifth Fish Unflaps Feathered Fedora

He barely gets a fish past his mouth when he was going back for more. They became lumps in his ever-thickening neck.

Neck Full o' Fish -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/1500 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Neck Full o' Fish

I chatted with the lady a bit to get the story. It seems 10 years ago the owner of the building would throw out scraps of food for the heron, and over time the heron trained him to give him full plates of fish. Plate-fed fish are much less work than hunting for food, so the heron has apparently become domesticated in that respect. He's also unfazed by strangers even in close proximity, but otherwise is wild.

In one sense it's a bit sad — Fumie noted that his dependence on the people is why you shouldn't feed wild animals, despite it being cute. At least in this case, so far, it's turned out well for the bird because according to the lady, he's outlived all his contemporaries.

I don't know how old he is, but for what it's worth, according to this reference, the average of a Great Blue Heron is about 15 years.

Let's just hope that they continue feeding him. The ground-level restaurant (Mexican restaurant Reina de Reina) is new and prior to it opening there was an extended period of construction, so I doubt he feeding schedule was normal.

The heron's name is “Aotan.”

Dressed for Dinner -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/350 sec, f/6.3, ISO 250, — map & image datanearby photos
Dressed for Dinner

By the way, I ate at the restaurant the other day with Shimada-san, to celebrate both his birthday and his earning a licence which allows him to drive large vehicles (busses, cement trucks, cranes, etc.), a difficult task in Japan. (For comparison, look at some of the hassles required just for a car license.)

The crap one gets in a so-called “Mexican Restaurant” in America has trained me to believe that I'm not a huge fan of Mexican, but I tell you, this place was superb. Portions were small, which on the bright side allows you to order a variety of things. It add up to be a bit pricy ($70 for the two of us, including four 700-yen beers), but it was quite worth it. You could really taste the freshness and quality in each bite, especially in the salsa and the chile con carne. I hope to take Fumie there sometime, once she gets over the cold that's been nagging her for the last week.

— map & image data — nearby photos Wannabe -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100, P.P. cut: -0.14EVmap & image datanearby photos
Wannabe

After Aotan got his six fish, he hopped up onto the roof to digest in the sun. He looked content.

Food Coma -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2007 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1600 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Food Coma

All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Well, now I understand why, about 3 years ago, that bird let me walk right up to him and shoot video for about 5 minutes. I thought there was something weird about him, waiting by the door and not afraid of the customers going in and out.

We ate at El Latino (Higashioji-Marutamachi nishi-iru) last summer, which is also good but expensive with small portions. For Mexican you should come back to my ‘hood and eat at Speakeasy. The bartender/cook there learned to cook Mexican food while living in L.A. and does a really good job.

— comment by Nils on May 23rd, 2007 at 11:41pm JST (10 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
— comment by Nils on May 24th, 2007 at 12:19am JST (10 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Wow, Jeff. These are the best close-ups of the GreatBlue that I’ve ever seen. You remember how skittish the ones around our lake are here at home . I remember one cold winter day when they hadn’t yet left for the winter, I bought minnows at the bait shop to feed them, but the hawks and crows got them first. Now when you come home I think you should take this post and turn it into a short article with all the pictures and submit it to a magazine.(Like Birds and Blooms)

I’d feel better about the pictures if there were a more natural background, rather than a building. That way, the viewer might be fooled into thinking they were shots in the wild, rather than more or less zoo shots of a tamed bird. —Jeffy

— comment by Grandma Friedl on May 24th, 2007 at 10:18am JST (10 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Happy to have found your other hangout Jeff. Must teach myself how to do a blog like that. Very impressive. Your blog also demonstrates a scary propensity of seeing shots like I do. I had always thought to be a little unique in what I saw and attempted to capture. having seen and admired your work, it dawned on me after seeing the photos here that we see things in a very similar fashion. When I learn the craft better and learn more about lenses, I hope to get better in the presentation aspect of it. I believe you are in the PNW and a long way from S/W Ontario, Canada, otherwise I would dearly love to arrange some time looking over your shoulder. Ah well, take what you can so for now I will enjoy my visit and not to sound repititious but sure do enjoy your work (it’s not work but that is like referring to a doctor or lawyer having their practice-like when do they do it for real?) Talk later. Max

— comment by Max deBruyn on October 1st, 2010 at 3:15am JST (7 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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