A few days ago, my daily walk tendered quite a bird-watching extravaganza. Birds of many species, both known and unknown to me, were flying here, there, and everywhere. An experienced birder would have had quite a large number of species checked. These experts could probably chalk up additional numbers by identification of not only perched birds, but those in flight and those hiding out given away only by their unique calls. I, on the other hand, am quite limited in my identifying abilities. I saw and heard many more birds than those that I could readily name.
But, the ones I could easily ID, were definitely amazing.
First, right from the onset, I noticed a bird silhouette at the top of a dead snag. On closer exam through the lens of my camera, I was able to verify the bird as a red-headed woodpecker. WOW! This is a bird species that I have had the pleasure of seeing only a few, maybe as little as three, times before. The sighting was brief, but certainly exciting.
Next, I came upon a baby bluebird, just one step ahead of me, sitting in the tall grass on my trail. Even though my eyes are constantly in motion looking up and around for my next sighting, I also look down frequently to keep from any missteps that might cause me to fall or twist my ankle. And, it is a good thing I was looking down at that very moment or the little bluebird might have been squashed. Tragedy averted, I treasured the few moments watching this baby up close and personal while, at the same time, drawing my dog Buddy’s attention elsewhere. We continued on down the path. I hoped that little bluebird, still unable to fly, was safe.
Once down at the pond, I sat on the deck watching the regular residents; tree swallows, bluebirds, and red-winged blackbirds, go through their usual activities. I was wishing for something fantastic to happen.
I was rewarded…a Great Blue Heron flew past me coming from behind the pond house, turned and made one fabulous landing on the water right in front of me. I had not seen the heron for months and when I do, he is usually flying away from the pond as I approach. Both of my canine companions had been resting on the bank, but immediately sprang into action on the arrival of this heron. The Great Blue is a huge bird and cannot be missed. The dogs ran quickly along the water’s edge. I knew my time with this heron was limited. As the dogs neared the heron, the majestic bird flew off with measured wing movements gaining height slowly. The heron was never in danger as I knew the dogs would not enter the water, but the heron was unaware of my dogs’ capabilities.
The following day, the heron returned as I was at the pond, but this time, diverted his landing to a nearby tree. He perched in the very top branch of the tree to optimize his view of the area. I continued on my walk back home, the heron still standing sentinel from that tree top. But, I am sure, that once the dogs and I were well away from the pond, the heron made a fishing expedition. Planned, of course.
FYI – My walk times vary day to day, so to catch a sighting/a glimpse of any bird is quite by luck – I consider myself to be very lucky.