Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heron Habit

Great Blue Herons have been stalking me for about six years now. That is, it was 2006, the same year I started this blog, when I first noticed herons were making a habit of dropping into my consciousness. And a happy habit it is! Friday night, enroute to our regular gathering of bot-brains, I spotted my first heron of the year here in our local creek (fifth of the year overall). Must be time to post those pictures at long last.

Perhaps, to state it better, I was never aware of a special relationship with herons until 2006. That summer I saw herons hither, and I saw them yon. I'd be driving to the grocery store, or some such prosaic activity, and my eye would fall, as if by animal magnetism, on a heron. Silhouetted in flight or motionless in patient pursuit of prey, always a heron. The niece and I launched the trip of a lifetime that summer, and herons were spotted time and again as we drove from Colorado to Connecticut. More herons. After she left mid-adventure, I went on to Maine. One day I was driving through Worcester, Massachusetts, and spotted three herons overhead while I was on the freeway! This is not good for attentive, or even defensive, driving, especially when you end up doing more than 7,000 miles of it!

But I was often driving, and capturing the moment in more than memory was impossible. Once home, I watched for herons regularly on walks by the creek, though, and finally the heron moment and the camera coincided, mid-June 2009.

You walk and you look... until finally you see what you're looking for! Don't you? (maybe you'd better enlarge it, then)

But sometimes your subject doesn't appreciate being seen, and turns his back on you. And stalks, then flies away.

And stands quietly in the shade, a little upstream where he knows you can't see him. Finally you go on with your walk, knowing you can find better pictures on the internet than you could ever take yourself. Good info too!

But on the return walk, 13 frames later, you find his patience has been rewarded, and he's more cooperative. So your patience gets rewarded too!

Why post this now, almost three years later? Well, Catwoman sent a timely link to Heron Nest Cam! Perhaps not timely enough, as the last egg was imminent a full week ago. That means it will probably be lonely and boring for the sitter most of the time until about May 1, when the eggs start to hatch! But at the link, you can watch video clips of arrival of the third and fourth eggs, as well as other heron activities.

Maybe not as boring as I thought! Yesterday morning, the nest was attacked by a Great Horned Owl, creating a bit of excitement for the defending sitter, who went into fight mode (something to see in a heron!), revealing that there are now FIVE eggs in the nest instead of the usual four.

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