I am amazed by this beautiful creature, which George from the Montclair Bird Club has told me is a Great Blue Heron. I first saw the bird two summers ago in the pond at Edgemont Park hanging out among the geese, though slightly off to the side like the new kid in the school cafeteria trying to fit in. He remained there for several weeks. To my delight, the heron came back again this spring. Of course, it could be a different bird—a relative who somehow intuited his ancestor’s pleasure at hanging out at a park in Montclair. As George tells me, “There is no way of knowing for sure since they forage rather widely.” But, he added, some species of birds do exhibit “home site fidelity,” so it’s possible the bird is the same one I saw two years ago.
Whoever he (or she) is, the bird is elusive. The few times I’ve seen him this year, I have not had a decent camera on me. Whenever I do have a camera, he seems to have disappeared, and the last few times I have been to Edgemont Park he has not been there.
He is one of the many non-human creatures I’ve gotten a child-like thrill out of seeing since I moved to Baristaville from the city four years ago. Others may find deer to be pests, but I still stop and gawk every time I see one. Or when I see a wild turkey, one of which ambled up the slope of my backyard last fall, not far from my window, where I sat staring in awe. My kids love to watch the chipmunks and robins fight over the birdseed on our patio. And, as I mentioned in this post, there really is a family of groundhogs that lives somewhere under our backyard. Sure, they’re chubby and ungainly, but so far they haven’t destroyed anything.
Strangely, one of the most amazing wildlife sightings I had was in New York City, while on a walk in Central Park. Standing on a baseball field not more than a few feet from me was a red-tailed hawk (Pale Male, perhaps?), looking proud, regal and surprisingly big.
Which is why the heron is so fascinating, too. His size alone makes him an unusual sight in an area usually populated by robins, cardinals and sparrows—miniscule in comparison.
I hope he returns before the summer ends. Maybe I can finally get a decent picture.
What has been your best wildlife sighting in Baristaville?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons