Like watching paint dry.
That’s an apt cliché for watching Great Blue Herons. If you’re the patient sort, you might be entertained watching them fish.
Tip-toe… tip-toe… (stand motionless for a full minute) … tip-toe… (don’t budge for another two minutes) … tip-toe… snatch!
Hardly the stuff of an action movie, so I don’t often show herons on my blog.
I don’t recall why I was filming one of these tall birds a few weeks ago. It was early-evening feeding time, and the creature was engaged in the usual slow-mo fishing expedition. Bored, perhaps, I turned on the camera.
I couldn’t have predicted the arrival that would catch both of us by surprise.
Here’s what happened:
The heron was fishing at the edge of a tiny island, where we spot deer quite often. The island is full of oaks, so there’s no shortage of acorns, aka deer candy, to draw them there. I don’t know if deer live there year-round, but in all seasons, I see them travel to the island. In winter, they walk the ice. Otherwise, they swim.
Deer and herons seem to get along. I’ve often observed deer browsing in the company of loafing Great Blue Herons and Sandhill Cranes (which also do a lot of standing around).
‘Loafing’ is a technical term: That’s what ornithologists call a bird’s non-active, non-productive time, which seems particularly apt for these birds.
Was it the element of surprise that startled the heron? Or just that these laid-back creatures prefer only the company of other loafers?