I wish I had noticed them sooner…..they are often difficult to see….blending into their environment with their changing colors and as George McLean, award winning photographer says, shape-shifting….
One day as I photographed a swan pair…. a woman passing by asked me if I saw the heron….. pointing across the pond….where my eyes finally focused on a lanky long-legged bird standing perfectly still….a hypnotic experience….he never moved ….. I was fascinated immediately and often thought to look for the Great Blue Herons that occupy the Reservation but rarely saw them…. it’s as though they let you see them….or not….
Last spring I accidentally encountered a heron who stood motionless while I took photographs for 20 minutes….my hands were shaking….as this beautiful bird was only about 100 (impassable) yards away…. the Great Blue is the best visual argument for bird dinosaur connection….. particularly in their flying with an 8 foot wing span…their legs and feet out straight behind them…. their raspy unmistakable call when needing to comment…. A couple of days later the second heron appeared and I saw him easily ….and so it went…. the herons were in my life visibly and I was again smitten…
Great Blues are lone creatures…..rarely do you see two at once…. I read that in heavily populated heron areas that as many as 3 (other than family raising time) have been seen together…. but nearly always you will see a heron sitting in meditative solitude….not relating to other birds or people or each other at least in public view….they are said to mate (according to Cornell bird studies) raise their babies and mostly separate…. starting the next season with a new mate…. or so it is believed about these mysterious birds….
Several weeks after these encounters I spotted a rather small heron with head bowed and on shaky legs at the same pond…..a couple of weeks later on the River a lankier but young ( no fringe plumage and shorter is the cue) heron fishing …. seemed like the same bird….and it felt and looked like the same bird….perhaps the first two were his parents?…. He (gender is a guess with clues) appeared almost every visit to that area…. very young and very much on his own…..I can’t tell you what about him drew me and my companion to visit the pond…. in hopes of seeing him…. and, well, that lead to love….. he became “my” bird….. and to this day and from this day I am his protector/stalker….. I believe he knows this…. sometimes welcomes the attention and other times flies off annoyed…. so it is… unrequited. but something of a miracle…..