Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Green Heron

I've been spending time on the dock behind Evelyn and Gene's house soaking in the serenity and remembering.

Bird watching is good down there. Two different evenings I've seen a turkey hen and a solitary chick. The first night they roosted in the tree just above where I was sitting. Last night I disturbed them and they moved on around the lake. The chick would linger and then run to catch up with the hen. They finally came back around and roosted in a different tree near the dock. I could also hear the big flock of turkeys across the road as they were settling in for the night.

I had been watching a green heron fly back and forth across the cove. It landed on some dead branches right over the water. Looking intently at the water for some time, it suddenly leaped into the water. Now I know for a fact that the water drops off steeply here. I think of herons as wading birds, not swimming birds. It flapped around for a few seconds in the water and then popped out of the water back onto the branch with a good sized perch (4 or 5 inches long) in its mouth. Even with the binoculars I could not tell if it had stabbed the fish or just had it tightly in its beak. Rather than trying to eat it where the fish could escape back into the water, it hopped back along the branches onto the grassy shore (out of my sight) to enjoy its catch.

While I always enjoy watching the hundreds of vultures settle in for the night, the heron's leap into the deep water was the highlight of the evening.

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