Night Heron

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They surprised me. Two nesting black crowned, night herons. They lifted off together, circled around me and landed in a tree stand a few yards off. They make nests in thickets by rivers and streams and cattail beds in marshes. I was just turning the corner on the walk toward the marsh and they suddenly appeared in the air. I’d never seen this bird before and the trail took me right beneath them. I had my camera but took no photographs.

When I am so fortunate as to stumble upon wildlife, especially that which is rarely seen, I feel almost an intruder. Here they are at twilight building their nest and preparing for a night’s hunt for food and I stumble in, a party crasher in pink and lavender. No different than a juggler walking into my bedroom at midnight. So I left the camera in my pocket and just observed.

The breast of the male is a curious greenish yellow, but irridescent in the late afternoon sun. His mask has a slice of rich lapis blue. He peers at me as I walk past. I silently apologize for the intrusion. The female is deeper into the tree and is seen as just an eye peeking around the trunk. Once past, I turn and bow. Always be grateful for such moments. They are spirit taking hold of your heart.

10 thoughts on “Night Heron

  1. I love your description in that second paragraph … the bird family prepares for the evening and night; who is that intruder?
    You have such a way of telling the story!

    • Sometimes, I really think the camera gets in the way. I forget to just enjoy the moment or really take in what I’m seeing, because I’m trying to get that great shot. I’d felt like I’d already disturbed them, and if I stopped to photograph them they might get nervous and fly off again. That sort of intrusion into nature often puts animals off from nesting in certain areas. A few years ago I had become taken with a nesting horned owl. I’d go by to see the owlets often. Others stopped to look, too. They never nested there again. Our presence matters and I think we need to be mindful of what that presence is doing, no matter how awesome the shot would’ve been.

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