Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Holland Marsh heron

Photos by Barry Wallace
The two photos posted here were taken on Friday afternoon on the Pumphouse Road, just south of Highway 11, in the Holland Marsh.   The Great Blue Heron had been standing in the canal and then decided to leap up onto a branch with its wings spread out.   It was motionless for a few moments, then dropped its head down and perched for a minute or two, seemingly soaking up the sun's rays on its muted blue feathers, on a day that was already brutally hot and humid.   In other poses, there are those who feel Great Blues have a flying dinosaur appearance - pterodactyl-like, I suppose. When viewed from the rear, as in these photos, I think they are just beautiful birds with awesome wingspans.   Below is a poem by acclaimed American children's book writer, Jane Yolen.   It is entitled simply Great Blue Heron.   It is direct, yet evocative.

                       a painted hunter
                       upon a painted pond;
                       the brushstroked eye,
                       the slash of bill,                     
                                      the the pencil-line of legs.

                       the head strikes,
                       spiking the water,
                       splitting it apart
                       with a splash
                       and an odd wriggle.

                       the head tilts back
                       on the stilt of neck.
                       The spiked fish
                       slides down the throat.
                       One swallow - then all is still.

                       a painted hunter
                       upon a painted pond.
From Birdwatch by Jane Yolen ~ 1990
Please comment if you wish.
Barry Wallace

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