Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Hope To See You In The Spring

I'm going to miss a lot of the creatures around the pond now that the weather is changing and their summer time has passed. Some have migrated. Some will hibernate. And some, like the fish, basically just slow down for the cold weather and we will not see them as often. Of all those creatures I think I'll probably miss the green herons the most.

This year the green herons have been special. It started back in the spring with the rescue of a trapped green heron as recounted here. That was one of the incidents that prompted the creation of the blog.

Throughout the summer the green herons visited almost daily. At first there were 2 and then 3 when what appeared to be a juvenile arrived. Eventually we seemed to see just 2 at the same time and then primarily just 1.

Green herons are known to wander a bit after breeding so we presume the parents stayed around for some time as their offspring learned the ropes and then departed. Perhaps they lived nearby and brought it to the pond periodically until it was old enough to venture out on its own. Whatever the case, the remaining one that visited often appeared to be an immature bird by its markings.
This bird and I spent many hours around the pond together. We were both visitors there, but for different purposes. I was there to capture photographs. It was there to capture its daily meals. Over time it became more accustomed to my presence. It allowed me to come much closer and eventually it even approached me at times.

Of course it always maintained a safe distance, but I noted the change. I could tell it was growing much more tolerant and had begun to consider me as a natural fixture around the pond. We were on good terms. Some days I would stay far away and let it hunt in peace. Other days I would approach closer, but I always tried to avoid putting too much pressure on my friend.

Finally it was letting me get close enough to capture some its life around the pond. Often it would hunt mostly along the bank but sometimes it would concentrate its hunting near the cages where many of the small fish congregated.
Then all too soon the day came. It wasn't there. Nor was it there the next day. I watched for a week thinking maybe I had just missed it or it had changed its daily schedule.

But obviously the time had come for green herons to leave. That mysterious internal clock said it was time to go. It was time to head south.

I hope the heron finds its way back next spring. Maybe by then it will have a mate of its own. And maybe they will bring their young ones by to show them the best places to fish for lunch and teach them by example how to stalk the shallow water for prey.

We will be there waiting for them.


  1. Lovely story Baker......I have a similar relationship with a Robin here.......he comes into the shed most days to take the seed that I have spilt on the benches......I miss him when he does not come......

    The heron is a beautiful must be honoured.......

  2. Oh, that's kind of a sad story. I can hear your sadness in your writing, and I'd be kinda the same way. Herons are in my top list of favorite birds.

    I hope to see a post with the same Heron next spring!

  3. I hope your heron does return in the spring. I have to admit that I teared up a little at the end of the story.

  4. Lovely to have spent time with a green heron. I am so sad now that the migration is one and then the pond will freeze and I will be watching through a window waiting for next spring...Thank you for your comment on my nature post. I try to do the same with the kids and the adults. One neighbor thought that the wood duck was some kind of pigeon. ?????? LOL.... Michelle

  5. Last week I got to saw a migration of geese I believe it was, you know the V pattern formation, it was neat to see.

    A good story on how the heron got used to you and even approached at times, hopefully it will be back next year to give us poses again, cheers.

  6. This is such a touching post, Baker. I really enjoy creating a special bond with trust that must be earned. Question... you must not have too many dogs or cats around this pond? I know my outdoor cats(which were strays)have played a big part in diminishing my sightings with chipmonks, birds, etc! Great photos, as usual!

  7. This was a touching story. We hope he returns. You certainly get an amazing view of the circle of life at the pond.

  8. Cheryl - It is always so satisfying when one feels a bond to a particular wild creature

    Wayne - It is a bit sad but that is the cycle of nature - the herons are among my favorites, too

    Tammy - Who knows? Maybe we will actually have a nest around the pond next year

    Michelle - Even though many of our birds migrate a lot will stay around and we actually get some that migrate south to winter here so we will have a different mix during the winter - Luckily the pond never freezes - And I probably should have mentioned the adults in my comment on your blog, lol - We get to educate a few of them, too

    Floyd - I love the sight of geese in the V pattern - We generally have geese year around and often see them traveling back and forth in their formation between the ponds and lakes in the area

    Kim - That bond is so amazing - Some years we can form a bond of sorts with the deer - As for the dogs and cats, we don't have many that visit the pond - Most of the dogs are homebodies and don't travel far except when on a walk with their owners - Only once did I see a cat out-and-about this summer - I'm not sure why but it could possibly be that we have a few predators around that they avoid

    Forever Foster - Thanks - Although the pond continues to provide glimpses of the life during the winter I'm going to miss all the activity of the summer months

  9. Ahh... Baker, you made me all misty. This is a beautiful story and such a special experience for you. What a blessing the pond is for you, the heron and all who live there.

  10. Hello Kathleen - Glad you enjoyed the post - And yes, it was a special experience - I really felt that the heron finally came to accept me more as time went along - At one time I could not get closer than 40-50 feet and eventually I could get to 10-15 feet at times - If the summer had lasted a bit longer I really wonder how close he would have let me come

  11. What an honour to be accepted by a Green Heron! I look for the chicks each year at st Marks, but missed them this year. One of my favourite birding memories was a lengthy encounter with a greenie who seemed oblivious of my presence. I was on a boardwlalk and he was foraging below. Terrible conditions for photos, so no noteworthy shots that day.

  12. Hello there. I love your blog. I am so honored that you are my very first follower! I love your writing style and your photographs.

  13. SophieMae - It was pretty cool - I'm wondering if the same heron happens to return next year if it will remember me - Who knows, lol

    Kelly - Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments - Looks like you have the making of a nice blog - Keep it up



Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.