Brown Bag Lunch in the Cove
There were many dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…
The eastern-most end of the cove is the feeding ground and roostng spot for one of the older herons. He is very wary and gorgeous, and it’s always a thrill to see him here, wading, foraging for fish or sunning himself on the overturned willow that came down the year before.
Yesterday, I visited a couple hours earlier than prime feeding time, and so he wasn’t about. That made an opportunity to paddle in closer.
Right stroke… left stroke… right blade planted shallowly… now a broad arc around the white blossoms… left stroke… gliding straight now, past the lily pads… Gliding… Gliding… Gliding up to the fallen willow where he often preens.
Look! A big blue-grey flight feather floating there, a downy belly feather tuft, too. And beyond the willow, paddling deeper to where it stops being cove and starts being brook. What’s the name of that blue flower? Must look it up. This is where the yellow daisies bloomed last fall, it must be.
The water level is much higher than ever. How deeply I can paddle without bottoming out, or getting stuck, like last summer. That was a long slow slog back out.
Mustn’t tarry too long here, but what a beautiful place. Serene, still, and so many wild flowers, lush ferns. He may be back soon…
Right paddle planted deep, hard stroke left, bring the boat around sharply. Yes, like that. Stroke… Glide… Stroke… Glide… Glide… Stroke, stroke, stroke.
There! Back in neutral territory, away from his space. Can rest now, and cruise along on the breeze. Floating… Floating…
I’m hungry. Where’s a good picnic spot? Ah, right here: not too close to the trees, a little shade, still waters, a good place for a floating lunch. Paddle leashed and propped ‘cross the cockpit. Lunch bag open. Hot tea, warm oatmeal – maple syrup and brown sugar.
Mmmm. That was very good. Satisfying in the fresh air. Well, time to head in. Close the tea mug, stow the lunch containers, don the gloves, paddle ready.
Wait, what’s that on the island shore? Hunkered down? Watching me…
Later that evening, just after dusk, back at home.
“How was your outing, dear?”
“Oh, so lovely. There were many dragonflies – tasty and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…
“And so many sunfish – the smallish ones, not so many bones. Did you ever notice how irridescent they are? If you hover your wings just so over the water so the sun gets that glowy filtering while you stir the bottom just right with your left foot, they’re much easier to see… and to catch.
“But the most unusual thing happened. I was out at the cove, wading along the small island shore when I saw it, right before my eyes. A human…
“I watched in silence for the longest time.
“It is not so rare to see a human in the cove, and there’s one who sometimes watches me when I’m down at the end, where its more brook than cove. You know the place. She thinks I’m not aware of her presence, but I am. I just let her think that.
“I sometimes put on a show for her, preening, stretching my neck far back to get at that itchy spot right over my left shoulder. Or extending my wings half open, down low.
“And I love to show her how to fish. How to be patiently still, toeing the water beneath the surface imperceptably, watching for the telltale glint of a fin, swish of a tail…
“Whoosh, thrust, submerge, a clean strike. The trout is mine!
“And I surface, wriggling trout speared. A beauty.
“Usually I just wolf it down, but sometimes – sometimes – I want to show her. And so gradually I step and turn and stand there so she can see what a beauty I have caught. What a beauty I am.
“She loves to watch me feeding from a distance.
“Today I watched a human in my cove…
“A human… feeding.
“They have curious feeding rituals, humans do.”
(This took place August 23, 2008)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Posted on June 11, 2013, in Adult Heron, ardea herodias, Bird photography, Birds, Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Wildlife Photography and tagged ardea herodias, great blue heron, heron, kayak birding, mindfulness. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.