Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild Blue


I am something of a bird-nut.  I love watching them out on the rivers, harbor, and marshes. I love the slow glides of the swans, and the brilliant little flicks of the nuthatches and titmouses. I even love to watch sparrows and chickadees, pedestrian as they may seem.  I love flicking french-fries at them in the parking lot at the harbor.  But my favorite of all is the great blue heron.

If you have never seen them, you don’t know what you are missing.  We are lucky enough to have a healthy population in my area, and they fascinate me.  They are huge—which makes them hard to miss when they stand along the edges of the harbor or the river, usually on a boggy spot of marsh.  In flight they are gigantic—so much larger than our largest birds of prey.  If those long legs seem awkward on land, the wing span you see in full flight is all magesty and grace.


Saturday evening, on my way home, a male great blue flew over my head.  He was no more than ten feet above me, but it felt as if I could reach up and touch him.  The sun was setting, and his color was amazing: a faded denim blue that picked up peach and rose from the sun.  He took my breath away.

The long, meandering paths along the Green Harbor river and amazing views of the marshes are one of my great joys. Even as a child I wandered these woods, getting covered in muck and dragging home all manner of critters and clippings.  My mom would make me empty my pockets, only to discover a mangled bit of wild sassafrass root, a carefully pocketed feather, or—sorry Mom—something furry.  Moles, mice, newts, and chipmunks… baby ducks who incited near-violence from their mother, and turtle babies my father helped me return to the marsh.  I was quite the manky little beastie, with quite the wild menagerie. 

I don’t bring wild things home these days… unless you count Ahmed.  But I do so love to watch them.  I guess I always will.


  1. I love birds. Growing up in Michigan, we had a lot of herons all around our house (plenty of marshes and creeks to keep them busy and well fed). Now that I'm in the high desert, the only chance I get to see the Great Blue is when one happens to fly over on his way from one tiny watershed to another. Thanks for stirring some childhood memories and for sharing my love of the feathered. =o)

  2. Love this! We have tons of bird life around here. My favs are the roseate spoonbills, but then I've been partial to pink for a while. ;o)

  3. I love bird watching...especially big birds. Pelicans (aka pterodactyls)are particularly fun for me. But my favorite bird of all time is the flamingo and I can't wait to see them in their natural habitat one day!

  4. I like birds from far away. If they are near me or in the house, they creep me out.