Thursday, May 3, 2012

Unexpected Encounters

The past two weekends, I've encountered a Great Blue Heron at close quarters down at Yesler Cove (part of the Montlake Fill), and I'm pretty sure it's the same bird, as it is completely unconcerned about the presence of people.  Well, at least, it wasn't concerned about me, as I was the only person around down there.

There's a narrow trail to the Cove that winds through Yesler Swamp.  In the first encounter, I came round a bend to see the bird nonchalantly sauntering down the trail about 10 feet ahead.

It looked back at me, then continued on, and went fishing in the reeds while I stood nearby to watch the birds in the Cove. 

In the second encounter, I'd just finished sketching some gnarled trees at the water's edge...

...and was packing up to leave when the heron flew in, and began fishing in the water/reed beds that parallel the trail.  As I slowly walked back along the trail, the bird kept pace.  It didn't stop for more than a few seconds at a time so I wasn't able to do a drawing, but I did get in a few very quick impressions.

At one point, the heron actually strolled from the lefthand reeds to the righthand reeds -- straight across the trail in front of me, only three feet away.

It was amazing, and even a tad intimidating -- that's one powerful bill!  But as I said, this particular bird is extremely focused on finding fish (which it did), and totally disinterested in humans.

A beautiful bird and a wonderful encounter.

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