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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Great Blue Heron

Several times each year I see Great Blue Herons as I drive over Lockatong Creek on my way hither and yon ... but always from a good distance. Yesterday, working at home and pausing to look out the window, I watched a large, delicate creature, more gray than blue, with an astonishing wing span gliding across the garden, alighting at the pond edge just below the house. A frog plopped into the water and the heron jumped in to search.

I'm not sure what I felt. First surprise and excitement; I've never seen one of these wild creatures close up. Gratitude, curiosity, a little disappointment when it spied me and took off, rising in a long arc over the garden and into the trees. Admiration, wonder.

A couple of years ago one surprised me while I was doing some gardening chores. I heard a flutter and flapping above, and just caught sight of a dark, giant creature leaving the top of a Blue Atlas Cedar next to the house. And I remember thinking, had I lived in ancient times, I might have understood this as a visit by one of the gods, something wondrous, more heard than seen.

But we live in an age of reason, and I dismissed that wonder and surprise, knowing it was just a heron leaving a perch in a tree.

The pictures are of wild turkeys visiting my living room window (excuse the reflections on the glass). I didn't get a photo of the heron.


8 comments:

  1. This is a great post.. Very informative... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your every post that's why I think I'd come here more often. Keep it up! By the way, you can also drop by my blogs. They're about Vegetable Gardening and Composting. I'm sure you'd find my blogs helpful too.

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  2. Micha, thanks for the visit. I'll check out your blogs.

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  3. Hello James;

    Ten years back our trout pond was loaded with crayfish and frogs and salamanders of all types. I'd catch a trap full of crayfish for a day of bass fishing in an hour. But then a decline became obvious and pretty soon the crayfish were difficult to even see and frogs could be counted on one hand.

    A local person aware of environmental issues tried to tell me it was water runoff from the adjacent road and swamp. I listened but didn't comment. What had actually happened was a heron rookery 20 miles away was "relocated" by a growing population of raccoons near a large landfill, and our numerous new neighbors, the herons, found the trout pond and a good meal menu.

    We enjoy the big birds, the occaisional ospreys grabbing trout and the wild turkeys finding insects along the pond border. We try not to confuse environmental changes with some of the direct changes. Today is Blog Action Day and the issue is Climate Change. Guess I should get writing.

    Thanks for continuing to bring us fine pictures, fine writing!

    George Africa
    The Vermont Gardener

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  4. Damn that age of reason ruining perfectly good visits by the divine. I know you're a reasoned fellow, but I thought that was more than just a spark of the unreasoned in you. There is, right? Yes. I can see that from reading your post. Stop being reasoned--you'll never take off with that heron unless you do.

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  5. Those turkeys should be careful, particularly as Nov. approaches. There are places in this country where a rifle would be poked out that door for an easy dinner.

    Les @ atidewatergardener.blogspot.com

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  6. George -
    I noticed a marked decline in the frog population during the summer. I think that (those?) heron(s) may be the culprit(s).

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  7. Benjamin -
    I do have a mystical leaning. Reason doesn't always win.

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  8. Les -
    We had to put up a deer fence so the turkeys can no longer get to the house. I hear they're very tough anyway.

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