Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nightly visitor

He shows up around the same time each evening. First he alights by the bench on the end of the dock, graceful and quiet, not bothering anyone.

He stays aloof from the crowd of cormorants that hang out on the docks to the south, flapping, posturing - flying low across the water and then wheeling back around to perch again. The gulls laugh and chatter as they show off.

No, he's the solitary type. He paces slowly in front of the bench, legs skinny and knobby-kneed, his stride deliberate. He stares intently into the water, looking for fish.

Sometimes he hunches up his neck against the wind, but other times he uncoils his gangly body, holding his head high and straight up. He stares out over the water toward Anclote Key.

The light at the end of the dock comes on automatically with darkness. He doesn't mind it. He stands for hours by the bench, watching.

Sometimes, he'll raise those big wings and ponderously flap down to the water, and wade ankle-deep in the brine.

He doesn't mind a careful, respectful visitor on the next dock, but he doesn't engage in conversational chit-chat.

The Great Blue Heron is a solitary eater, as lonely and self-contained as an old bachelor at a lunch counter. Staring deliberately at the water, he waits, then spears something wriggling up from the waves down his sinuous gullet.

It's his nightly routine. Don't bug him.


Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

as lonely and self-contained as an old bachelor at a lunch counter

best word image of the day!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Beautiful that purple. I love water birds:)

Nej said...

Love that first photo...the green light and the bird....amazing!!!

My hubby has a tattoo of a great blue on his shoulder blade. When he was working on his PhD, he'd been out in the wetlands all day, and this heron would swoop in every day. He'd (hubby) sit and watch it hunting and going about it's daily routine.

They are beautiful birds!!!!


Are you sure it's a him? She looks like she is building a nest.

phd in yogurtry said...

That's right! Don't come between a heron and his dinner! Excellent photos - really enjoyed meeting your fleeting friend : )

Gilly said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos! He's huge, isn't he? Our British heron is small compared to him!

I'd love to see him in flight!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Simply wonderful- we have a great blue that overwintered on the job site- there was enough open water for it to stay.

My favorite local bird, though, is a chattering belted kingfisher- too shy to get close to, but a cheerful presence all the same.