Great Blue Heron: 2011

great blue heron

Great Blue Heron

I found her in her favorite morning fishing spot, though she grew angry and flew farther downstream before I had my camera ready. I readied my lens and crept to the top of the bank as off she flew!

This isn’t in a park or conservation area, this is right in the middle of Carnegie. I dropped my car off for service and walked back home, dipping down by the creek, studying a few industrial areas, walking down a few alleys instead of main streets and then walking on Main Street itself.

Chartiers Creek winds through the middle of town and beyond in both directions, and a colony of great blue herons nests about 11 miles away, considering the entirety of the creek’s channel as their hunting ground. For the most part the creek is less than a foot deep, and today the air turned slightly warmer again, warming the water and bringing out the small creek fish, carp and darters. The heron stands on the gravel on a shallow edge of the creek and as the fish swim between her legs she just reaches down with that long neck and picks them out of the water with her beak like tweezers.

When the heron is standing still in the water, she is so slender that she looks like a twig or thin tree branch standing up in the water. But when she decides to fly she is hard to miss as she looks like a prehistoric creature, some sort of pterodactyl, with her long beak, long hooked neck and immense wingspan, plus those long gangly legs. Not to mention she is quite blue.

Those big, long wings are so graceful that I can’t even describe it.

I’ve been playing in this creek since I was a child. Both the heron and the fish she eats are signs that a creek horribly polluted by industrial waste has found a new life. I’m glad to see it coming back.

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