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Image 1 - This blue heron was photographed amongst the mangroves, close to a deserted beach at Academy Bay in the Galapagos Islands. Shoals of small fish were circulating among the mangrove roots, and for the heron the living was easy. Much of the wildlife in the islands has no fear of human beings. The islands are very isolated, some 600 miles out in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador, and much of their area enjoys protection as a wildlife reserve.

I sat on the sand only two or three metres from the water's edge and watched as the heron circled in and out of the mangroves in search of choice meals. Gradually it came closer and closer until it stood, as seen in the image, just five or six metres away. I used a hand-held camera with a 135mm lens, and shot the picture on Kodachrome 64 slide film. The bird was well aware of my presence but was clearly unconcerned even when I released the shutter. I took a series of pictures of this particular bird, but liked this one best because of the elegant shape of the neck.

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