Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Blue

Curiously, the weekend's highlight was a simple Great Blue Heron standing atop a muskrat mound at the Corbin City section of McNamara, WMA, up in Atlantic County, NJ. We sought Golden Eagles, and found none, but somehow this Great Blue put it all even.

"Here we come to know the Great Blues as gray sentinels of the marsh, standing rigid like so many old pilings or weather worn stakes." So says Witmer Stone in Bird Studies at Old Cape May, one of the first places I go to put a bird in context, to understand it more deeply than my own observations lead me to.

Stone later adds, "The Great Blues are the wariest of our herons and are ever alert and ready to take wing at whatever seems to them the opportune moment. . . they seem to know that safety lies in distance."  In recent weeks Great Blues have allowed closer than usual approach, for reasons one can guess relate to cold and empty bellies. Leave me alone, they seem to say, I've enough to worry about spending the winter hereabouts. . . .

I took no picture of the Great Blue. I don't know why for sure. I've heard said, and maybe even said myself, that no photo contest should be won with a picture of a Great Blue Heron. Too common, too easy. But I've never entered a photo contest, and though I've many images of Great Blues, I'm not sure I've yet captured the sentinel of the marsh. Maybe next time.

[Another kind of blue, this male Eastern Bluebird flew past me at Cape May NWR, NJ on Saturday morning. Blue herons, bluebirds - anyone find themselves longing for Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings yet? Oh May, how far and faint you seem these cold and dreary days.]