A close encounter of a heron kind

It appears that word has gotten out that a green heron finally relented and posed for an extensive and up-close photo shoot yesterday, and so not even 24 hours later a great blue heron must have said “hold my beer”.

I was just walking along beside the river, as is often the case, and had just reached the north edge of the big, old, abandoned bridge abutment, when there was a youngish great blue heron, maybe not even eight feet away from me, fishing from the little bit of rock jutting north right at the water level.

Now, I’ve startled herons before, by accident of course, when I don’t see them first, both on the pond and on the river, and they have always immediately taken off, but not this one. As has happened before a few times with other critters, such as red squirrels or nut hatches, I suspect they are just so stunned to have let me get that close somehow that they don’t even know how to react, and they often pretend I’m not even there and continue to go about their business.

We both immediately froze, and after just enjoying the moment for a bit, I softly explained that I was going to put down my trash bag and take out my camera. The bird wasn’t exactly thrilled, but it still didn’t take off and instead slowly tried to wade north along the riverbank, although the water was probably a little deeper than it preferred.

When I had gotten all the pictures that I thought I could, I also continued north and took the right at the fork to avoid getting too close. At my next opportunity to check on it again, now from upstream looking south, it was still there, and I even got some more pictures by leaning on a cottonwood tree that was conveniently growing out over the water.

Once again, I took all the pictures I could, but from that vantage point, I could also see a big yellow plastic bag, which originally held rock salt, and now was wedged between a pair of sticks by the recent flooding. So, I took that with me when I left and managed to fill it up with yet more plastic by the time I reached the stairs up to the beer garden.

After dropping off the bag in the bin at the top of the stairs, I washed my hands, and enjoyed watching a blue jay fly with a big red crabapple in its beak from a tree at the crest of the bluff to a maple tree over the beer garden. Sadly for us, the jay made quick work of the crabapple, and it was all gone already by the time I was able to squeeze off this shot.

From there, I swung back by the pond where I saw plenty of ducks but no herons nor turtles. Oh well. I suppose it’s good practice to enjoy the pictures we got and not worry about the ones we didn’t, eh?

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

6 thoughts on “A close encounter of a heron kind

  1. Love the beautiful Blue Jay color – vibrant and perfect!

    Not so perfect, take a picture of some of the filled trash bags- perhaps a lesson for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, and I hear what you’re saying, but I think I’ll keep the trash for now to mentions in the commentary once in a while. I suspect that anyone reading this blog doesn’t need a reminder. I used to post pictures on instagram, as part of the MKE Parks “Brew Hero” promotion, but I don’t want to see them there either.


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