Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Tag: herons

Like an Asteroid Toward the Earth

Dusk ripples
across the pond.

A great blue heron
stalks sunlight
along the reeds.

He snags a fish,
from the water.

He flips and swallows
the fish, which falls
down his gullet
like a rabbit
through a snake.

His neck straightens;
the fish is gone.
He shadows dark
along the shore.

Don’t you wonder
if that fish
ever believed
in herons?

This post in included in I and the Bird # 149 over at Twin Cities Naturalist. Sadly, this looks to be the last edition of I and the Bird. I’ve been participating off-and-on for 5 years and even hosted it once. Sad to see it go…

Night Heron Stone

One of my small stones (observational micro poems) is up at a handful of stones: night heron stone. Check it out and read some of the other stones as well.

Great Blue Heron

Another great bird. Over the past few months I’ve developed a thing for egrets and herons. The great blue heron being one of my favorites. When I see one fly overhead, I tend to stop and stare.

I especially love watching them take flight, their slow but sturdy wingbeats pushing them up several feet at a stroke. Unlike the ubiquitous turkey vultures riding lazy on the thermals, the great blue herons seem to have a sense of where they’re going.

This one was settling in to roost for the night atop a tree overlooking the golf course. I wish I’d been clever enough to climb down from the trail where I was riding my bike to get onto the other side of him so the sun would be at my back, but I would have lost the light by the time I got down there.

I took a few pictures and rode on.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

While we were in Orange, I kept seeing this fellow standing in a ditch by the road hunting crawfish. Finally, I stopped to take a picture so I could ID him. He’s a yellow-crowned night heron.

I love the name night heron. It’s such an evocative name, one that fires the imagination. Not quite as good as the Latin version of the black-crowned night heron (nycticorax nycticorax), which translates to night raven, though.

The picture here doesn’t really do him justice as his crown appears more white than the pale yellow it should be. Blame the photographer. The bird himself was living up to his name, which he claimed was actually Moe.

I also added another bird to my life list: the fish crow. I heard what sounded like a nasal quawking, but the birds flying over looked like crows, but the sound was definitely not the hard caw-caw. I listened to some recordings online and consulted many a tome to learn that I had seen fish crows, a fairly common coastal bird.

Bird Pictures from Canyon of the Eagles

Here are a few of the better pictures of birds from Saturday’s trip up the Canyon of the Eagles.

This is a bald eagle. They roost there this time of year. We mostly saw juveniles, which look more like hawks because they don’t have the white heads yet. This is the best shot I could get of an adult. A 300mm lens doesn’t do it justice, but that’s all I’ve got. It looked stunning through the binoculars.

Bald Eagle

Next up we have some pelicans chilling with a flock of ducks…


A couple of blue herons standing in a tree on top of a cliff…

Blue Herons

And finally some seagulls who didn’t mind getting closer to me and my camera…




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