While Tommy Thompson and his wife were on their way to the Leiper's Fork, TN, area early one morning, they were lucky enough to spot a Great Blue Heron wading in a marshy area at the corner of Hillsboro and Berry's Chapel Roads (across the street from the Legends Ridge Subdivision) in Franklin, TN. After parking near the side of the road, Thompson quietly removed his tripod from his minivan so that he could get a better photo of the beautiful bird. According to the Cornell University's Ornithology Lab, the great blue heron is the largest and most widespread heron in North America. The blue-gray bird has long legs, an S-shaped neck and long, thick bill. The heron has a head-to-tail length of 36 to 54 inches, a wingspan of 71 inches, and a weight of 4 to 8 pounds. It is found in shallow marine waters and marshy areas near lakes or ponds. Although the Great Blue Heron eats primarily fish, it is adaptable and willing to eat other animals as well. Several studies have found that mice are a very important part of the diet. It feeds in shallow water or at the water's edge during both the night and the day, but especially around dawn and dusk. Thompson painted "Blue Heron at Dawn" after returning to his studio because of the unpredictable nature of the bird.