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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jan 28, 2010

Blue Heron

Blue Heron in flight over pond

It is amazing, truly what you can see in the way of wildlife just by visiting a local park if you pay attention, and sometimes even if you don't.  I had some time to kill  before work one day and decided to visit the park just across the street to drink my coffee.  It was predawn and already a warm day, and I only intended to watch the sun come up on the edge of the park, when I noticed an odd shape on top of a light post in the hollow of the park where the pond is.

Blue Heron stands in pond
 I couldn't quite make out the shape. So I stared at it for a few minutes through my binoculars to make sure I wasn't just seeing things and sure enough it moved.  Finally, just when I decided it had to be a very large raptor of some type, it puzzled me by drooping down into the pond.  It's large wingspan (six to seven feet), enough to be very intriguing, made me irresistibly curious and I decided to go have a closer look, even though going more deeply into the park is not exactly a bright thing to do at this time of day. It being a park in a big city  after all, and not precisely safe to hang around in by yourself.
Blue Heron coming to a landing

By the time I reached the pond it was light enough to see that it was a Blue Heron which had been perched on top of the light post, waiting for enough light no doubt to go fishing in the pond.  I don't know if these birds fly at night or if the Heron had spent the night on that light post, but I was amazed and delighted to actually see it here in the city.   I was  also, by this time, kicking myself right royally for not having my camera with me, although I did have my digital binos, which in this case did me very little good.  Since there still wasn't enough daylight, I managed to get a few very blurred images of the Heron with my binos before I reluctantly headed to work.  Nevertheless I was very excited as I told my co-workers about my little adventure.

Blue Heron at rest

Needless to say after such a wonderful experience, I frequented the park regularly hoping to see this magnificent bird again.  Days later, my brother mentioned seeing it one afternoon, and we immediately went to the park together to see it sitting awkwardly in the sun with its wings spread out, as if to soak up the sun.  It was quite a funny sight, but  as it turns out what the Blue Heron was actually doing was trying to cool itself off, because it was a very hot day, even for August.  I managed to get some clearer shots of it, but it wasn't until my daughter and I decided to visit the park a week later that I got some decent enough photographs.  The next time I saw the Heron, one day late in September, it wasn't alone.  Again my daughter was with me and she took my camera to take pictures, while I tried to get some distance shots from the other side of the pond with my binos.

Blue Heron Cooling off

Both Herons were somewhat shy of people but determined to stay at the pond just the same, because apparently they found the goldfish in it quite tempting.  At this time of the day, late in the afternoon, there were many people at the park on family outings enjoying the last of the good weather, by either having a barbeque or a picnic, and the Herons did have a rather hard time of it trying to avoid all of them; especially the very curious kids.  As a result they spent a lot of time in startled flight when one person or another came too close, which was very advantageous for me to get some pictures of these birds in flight.  Unfortunately all it took was some teenage boys throwing rocks at the Herons to scare them off permanently, despite the tempting goldfish.

Pair of Blue Herons in flight

If you wish to learn more about Blue Herons, hear their voice or watch a video follow these links and enjoy:

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