Nice Shot: Bird Watching – – Richmond magazine

A great blue heron on the James River
March 31, 2022
9:28 AM
Photo by Jay Paul
The James River is home to many great blue herons, which can stand over 4 feet tall, with a wingspan of more than 6 feet. For about eight years, an island just west of the 14th Street Bridge in downtown Richmond hosted a heron rookery, where pairs of birds would breed and nest in late winter and early spring. The rookery offered a unique opportunity for urban bird watching, but in 2015, the colony did not return. 
However, great blue herons can still be seen fishing in the rapids near the James River Park System’s Pipeline Walk, and that’s where Richmond magazine Senior Photographer Jay Paul saw this bird perched atop a dead tree.
Paul, who lives near Forest Hill Park, spends a lot of time on the James photographing nature. 
“The nice thing about Richmond is that we have so much nature in the middle of the city,” he says. March is a great month to see wildlife, as temperatures warm but the trees haven’t yet fully leafed out.”
Paul often photographs birds, which can be a challenging subject. He says herons are slightly easier to capture than some other species, since they tend to stay still for longer periods of time as they search for prey. He has invested in a new telephoto lens, which helps, too. “I enjoy all birds,” he says. “They are fascinating to watch.”
March 31, 2022
9:28 AM
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