The Great Blue Heron; We lost someone today.

The sky looked clear enough early this morning, the smoke prediction was for a clear day today and heavy smoke tomorrow. I’m not sure what was in the air this morning, when I opened the door a sneezing fit ensued. I stayed inside all day taking advantage of the down day to study photo editing.

It’s difficult to get out of the mindset of “saving” pictures that are way too far gone, but still I attempt to do it. It’s best to have the camera set correctly which increases the odds of good detailed images. Especially when taking pictures of static subjects like this Great Blue Heron; they don’t move much at all. I have waited over an hour to catch a picture of them taking off or landing, it takes the patience of Job. Then just when I look away it is gone when I look back. It’s best to watch them anyway because they are very slow until they do something then they are like bottled up lightning.

Herons are pretty much everywhere on the Delta, usually early in the morning the first scan I make with my binoculars is along the far side Levee. Many times I discover a Great Blue Heron motionless studying the terrain for its next meal I’m certain. They blend in perfectly with the grey rocks along side of them as their plumage is exactly the same color. Part of their hunting success is their camouflage the other part is staying perfectly still, I don’t know if the fish can see them or not.

It’s on this old dock nearly every day, he is difficult to see as I ride past on my scooter even if I’m looking for it. There are some very good places for it to blend in with the surroundings. It makes me wonder if animals know what they will blend in with perfectly to match their coats. Or perhaps they have evolved to match the spots where they roost, I prefer this choice. It is quite remarkable how they perfectly match well seasoned wood.

This dock has two other frequent visitors as well, a Red Tailed Hawk and a Barn Owl; both of them are difficult to see in the rafters as well. It kinda makes me wonder if it’s this old guy just not seeing them.

Most of the time they are right out there standing in clear view and they are not shy about it as their loud AWK! can wake any one. Even a nearly deaf old guy, it’s a great alarm for alerting me that one is heading somewhere; often towards me. However their smaller cousins the Green Herons make the exact same squawk; I cannot tell them apart.

Living near a large city (San Francisco) it’s at times a bit of a contradiction in population. There are indeed a lot of people living in the Bay Area in large suburbs. But then again there are small cities like the one I live in, around 2,000 people +/-, we all are connected on this Island. When a tragedy strikes it is like an octopus with its outstretched arms. One of the very worst tragedies has struck our little Island, a mother was severely injured and air lifted along with her teenage daughter to the hospital. Her 12 year old son was killed when a train struck their vehicle, it is sad beyond words. It’s a terrible intersection to be so near a school many people have met their end in the same spot. Attempts have been made to make it more traffic/people friendly but there is 5 miles of road between there and our bridge. I don’t know as fact but it seems there has been a fatality on that stretch every 50 yards over the years. The entire road was ripped up at one time and re-configured due to several high school kids on a rain slick road hitting a telephone pole; all were lost. It’s tragic, no finger pointing, no blaming just pure sadness.

Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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