Friday, June 29, 2012

A HERON ODDITY

click photos to enlarge


That last entry was the most difficult entry ever.  This satellite internet is the worse method of working with a blog or web site imaginable.  I apologize for the strange print also.  I can't correct it.  That all brings me to this entry.


Great blue herons are wading birds.  They stand on stilt like legs at the edge of the water silently waiting for a passing meal.  Frogs, fish, large insects, turtles and baby birds make up its diet.  In short, they are opportunistic.  Their exceptionally long, skinny legs have feet with three long toes spread wide to support the bird in the soft mud.  Birds that swim have webbed feet.  That would be ducks and duck like birds.  I saw something today I have not seen before.  Just when I think I have them figured out they throw me a curve.  Look at the sequential photos below and you will see what I mean.


The great blue heron below has landed in fifteen feet of water.  He is simply floating.  There is no forward movement because he has two foot long legs with feet attached at the end of them with toes and not webbed feet.  The fact that he has willingly elected to do this is odd.  I believe it is a way to dissipate heat.  He's cooling off.  This is also a very young bird.
My boat is disturbing him.  I wanted to see if he would fly.  Actually, I wanted to see how he was able to leave the water to fly.  How could he propel himself into the air without webbed feet to push himself up and away?
Above:  He raises his wings but does not use them for lift yet, he is rising up.  He does not wish to get the wings wet.  The secret is below:
He is peddling with those long legs and big, web-less feet under water.  Flight is a slow process.  A duck would be airborne in an instant.  This big guy is getting into the air very slowly with maximum effort.
He was moving his legs and feet much like a person would while running.  The movement is left, right, left, right, and so on.  He arose straight up from his position on the water.  A duck like bird would have forward movement with speed to gain instant flight.
 He is now literally running on the surface of the water on feet without webs between the toes.  His wings now begin to flap for lift.
Look at him running on water below:
 Finally he's off.  Is that not an amazing act?




The great blue heron running across the water is really what I wanted to document on this entry. But, there were a couple other players who made an appearance on the lake today.
So, what have we here?
 He's a muskrat and a handsome fellow he is. 





A kingfisher blasted past the front of the boat and made a big, wide turn and was on the return.  I swung the camera up very quickly and snapped one shot.  It is below.  He was really moving fast and the shot was pure luck.
A small cove was ahead and I wanted to enter it in hopes of finding a fishing boat under the overhanging trees.  It is 102 degrees on the water and I only found one fishing boat so far today.  There were no boats but there was a little blue belted kingfisher who started playing cat and mouse with me.

The day was hotter than hot and it felt good to get into the air conditioned truck.  I only found two fishermen in six hours of running through my area with the boat.  It's just too hot!  This is a short entry so I'll just throw a couple more shots up and close it out.  Thank you for your attendance.