Great Blue Heron at Lilypons

Lilypons Water Gardens

Lilypons Water Gardens

I went to Lilypons yesterday with photography in mind.  I expected that with all of their ponds I might see some water birds.  They have about 250 acres of ponds and water gardens and specialize in water plants and fish.  The visit more than filled my expectations.  I walked around the outer perimeter just exploring what is at times almost a tropical path with water on both sides of the walk (Lilypons abuts the Monocacy River).  The first thing that struck me were the incredible flocks of Tree Swallows.

Tree Swallows at Lilypons

Tree Swallows at Lilypons

They were continually swooping and diving above the various ponds, even going into the water to grab insects.  I have never seen so many swallows at once.  On the far side of the property there were many, many Tree Swallows sitting on the telephone wires.

Tree Swallows on a wire

Tree Swallows on a wire

Along the ponds were numerous wildflowers, such as Ironweed.

Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)

Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)

And of course Goldenrod.

Goldenrod at Lilypons

Goldenrod at Lilypons

The real surprise that awaited was on the far side of the ponds where I came upon this Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron at Lilypons

Great Blue Heron at Lilypons

Great Blue Heron Profile

Great Blue Heron Profile

At first as I began taking pictures and walking toward the Heron I thought he was going to leave at any moment.  Then I began to think he was accustomed to people.  It turned out that he was much more interested in his dinner than in this slow moving photographer.  All of a sudden he tensed and darted downward grabbing a good sized snake.  I barely had the presence of mind to grab a photo.

Great Blue Heron with Snake

Great Blue Heron with Snake

I followed him around to the next pond over where he took his prize.  He then proceeded to eat the snake by swallowing it whole.  This is more difficult that you would think when you don’t have any hands…Heron eating snake 2

Of course Lilypons doesn’t exist just to keep photographers happy.  They also sell water plants and fish.  They have sample gardens and ponds set up and publish a catalog as well.  But I will be back to take pictures again in the future.

Sample water garden at Lilypons

Sample water garden at Lilypons

4 comments on “Great Blue Heron at Lilypons

  1. Jonathan

    WOW! You are definitely ready for safari photography–I am *really* impressed with the picture of a heron on the wing with a snake in its mouth!!!

  2. Jan (ThanksFor2Day)

    Love the photos of the Heron with the snake! Terrific shots;-)

    1. jw

      I was just lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time…

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