There were no post ideas in my brain all day until I was on my way home and driving the single lane into my neighborhood, looking to the right at the first natural pond (like I always do) and hit the breaks very hard and fast. Out loud I said, "Oh boy. A heron." Quickly, I remembered it's Susan's birthday, too. The GBH is her totem bird, out there, staring at me! I turned my wheels onto the easement to let other cars go by and hopped out to grab my camera from the back seat.
This bird was quite a distance away and the western sun brightened him very well. Click on the photos to enlarge them. Maybe you'll see his eyes (staring at me).
On a previous post, I think I briefly mentioned my love-hate relationship with these birds, who, I think at first glance, look like hairy mammals instead of feathery water birds. Being a pond keeper for several years, I have met with this brazen and stubborn stinker a few times. The first time my eyes made contact with this bird was through my kitchen window in Maryland. Was he almost my height? Seemed like it... He just stood there on the side of my pond which was only about twenty feet away from the window and gave me a motionless, one-eyed stare. Every time I saw him perched and waiting to feast on my fish I was stunned at the beauty of this magnificent bird. "Chloe, come! Get it!" And out she would speed like a black and white blur...but I was too late with my command. The bird was so large that he needed a running start to get off the ground and it was comical to watch his long limbs and wing span working hard to get himself off the ground like large aircraft on a runway. He would sit on rooftops nearby and wait for me to leave while I mumbled warnings and obscenities to the poor thing. On one occasion I hurled a baseball at him while he fled. Bad aim. I'm glad I didn't keep Koi in Maryland because he would have eaten hundreds of dollars out of the pond.
In Delaware, I had a smaller heron visit during deep freezes. There were Koi in my pond then and I went to a lot of trouble to distract him. I strung a few aluminum pie plates around the pond to create a clapping noise and light reflections. Not too attractive, but I was desperate. Also, I used my owl decoy but I think herons are wise to them. There were no thefts in Delaware.
Today, I'm living a quarter mile from this bird pictured above and it makes me nervous. There are plenty of stocked ponds in the area for him to snack on so I don't think he'll visit my small pond unless we have a deep freeze. The bird is a stinker, I'll tell you! But a real beauty.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUSAN!
I was energized after this sighting and spent some time outside with Chloe, Bella and Mr. Biggins. Tonight, I made a decision that we will NEVER use black mulch in our gardens again. We had a few inches of rain over the weekend and this is what happens when your dogs play in the yard. Footprints. Not only outside, but inside as well. I'm not all that fussy about things but I try to keep a clean house. So look at this,
Stamped concrete, doggie-style. Inside, there is a stamped bedspread and carpets to match!
Nala is active and doing well at the vet. No bowel movement and no needle yet.
Ahem. Was this a Great Blue Heron? If not, I'll dig a hole and bury myself.