Spring Hatch

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The Great Blue Heron in Flight

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009


"Born Free"   © 1973 by Paul F. Moloney

"Born Free" © 1973 by Paul F. Moloney

I went to work for the Greeley, Colorado, Tribune as sports editor in November 1956, and Editor Floyd E. Merrill told me: “You’re also the sports photographer.”  


I went to my apartment frustrated, for I knew little about photography.  Dad, A.I. Moloney, had advised me, “Always fill the job description.”  So I did, and the next spring, 1957, Mr. Merrill awakened me about 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning.


My mentor asked, “Would you like to go with me to photograph the Great Blue Heron at Fossil Creek reservoir?”  I promptly said, “Yes.”


This opportunity was an intensification of Mr. Merrill’s teaching me to photograph action.  “Be calm and observant and react as the hunter,” Mr. Merrill repeatedly advised.


We went together a couple more times, and, of course, my pictures left considerable to be desired.


But I was hooked.


I’ve really enjoyed this magnificent bird in flight.  I’ve continued observing the Fossil Creek Great Blue Herons for years. The times I went were just after the spring hatch and the parent birds were feeding the young.  I watched them land and take off through the viewfinder.  What a spectacle.


“Born Free” was made in 1973.


The rookery is a couple miles north and west of the I-25 and U.S. 34 intersection between Greeley, Loveland and Fort Collins..