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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Feb 5, 2010

Little Night Heron and a lack of patience

Nature seems intent to surprise me at every turn

Once again, at the local park I experienced a little life enhancing adventure.  I got into the habit of walking to this particular park each morning to visit the pond, in hopes of getting some pictures of a little Merlin who frequents it quite often.  But when I arrived at the pond there was nothing to be seen.  Not even a duck.

It was at first very disappointing, but I decided to stick around for a while, as I have a tendency to need to be alone for periods of time to regenerate as it were.  The best way for me to do this is usually to hang around in a setting that is natural, which I find  both very soothing and relaxing, and actually allows me the time necessary  for some serious reflection once I've soaked up the peace and solitude.

Night heron in flight
In this case I couldn't quite relax enough to do so and was considering finding new natural surroundings in which to make discoveries and observations in regards to birds in particular and wildlife in general.  As I'm limited in mobility, having no car this presents a problem, although a minor one and some inconvenience, also a minor one, but I truly felt that there wasn't much left to see at this particular pond.  Also it was quite possible that my assumption that the little Merlin visited this pond regularly was quite wrong.

Of course being a creature of habit, this is frustrating for me, especially during this period, when I knew that my time was limited because my job was making excessive demands on my time, in that time off wasn't scheduled for the foreseeable future as is typical in my job during summer months.  I admit that I was not exactly a happy camper and negative thoughts were beginning to take over.

The sun was only just to the point were it was barely over the horizon as I was sitting on one of the larger boulders near the pond, just sort of staring off into space when I saw movement just beyond the reeds on the far side.  Lost in thought I hadn't seen any arrivals, so I was startled and it took me a moment to realize that what I was actually seeing was not a duck.

In  fact I had never seen this particular bird before and excitement  was instantaneous, as it always is whenever I see a new bird.  Unlike any bird I had ever seen this one was kind of comical in its actions, skulking around behind, and amongst the reeds as it was, keeping its head low and its shoulders hunched like a thief in the night almost.  As if it did not wish to be noticed. Which makes sense since Night Herons apparently usually hunt at night.  And yes I am applying human characteristics to this bird, but those are the impressions I had at the time. In fact, at one point  I  was reminded  of  Charlie Chaplin, just by the bird's walk and only wish I had an image to prove it.

This bird was particularly shy obviously, however, and in my enthusiasm to get some good pictures I spent about a half  hour pursuing it  around the pond, instead of sitting quietly as I usually do to wait for opportunities to get  the shots. I should have known better.  Predictably the bird became more and more distrustful and flew off, and who can blame it.

Lack of patience is not conducive to birding, is a good lessons to be learned here as well as a lack of faith. As I  have discovered  more than once, there is no predicting what nature will present you with no matter where you are, or how often you visit a particular place.  This is true especially if you truly love nature and wish to interact with it peacefully, and if a spot is lucky for you once it will remain so, unless it is somehow destroyed.

As it turned out the little Night Heron, which is what this bird was, never came back, which is not really a surprise after such a stressful visit for him.  This is truly unfortunate, as I do like to see a bird repeatedly so that I can learn more about their behavior, which is a secondary purpose behind my birding experiences  after all.  Nevertheless I will, at the very least, be able to recognize a Night Heron in future, if I'm ever fortunate enough to see one again.  If you too wish to be able to do so, or wish to learn more about this bird just follow these links:


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