11 – Heron

After the last video are links to other bloggers posting about herons

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Passing me, a Great Blue Heron flies low with its broad wings – eventually landing far ahead of me. From a distance, the Great Blue Heron appears as a slender shadowy figure standing still and staring out to sea. Sometimes on the dry sand away from the constant waves – other times at the water’s edge as water laps over its talons.

Some days I see the heron from afar – standing and staring all alone – and no humans nearby. Other times the heron patiently stands and stares at the sea, but with a fisherman. The heron seemingly knows the fisherman is likely the source of the next meal and a possible feast for the day. Now that’s one smart bird.

The seated fisherman stands to tend the pole that appears to have a fish on the line. The heron’s attention heightens. The fisherman walks away with his catch – the heron follows. After freeing the fish from the hook, the fisherman tosses his unwanted fish toward the heron – who slowly approaches, then quickly uncoils its adaptive neck and beak to spear its prey – then swallows it whole.

No matter where, the heron stands and stares. Not pondering the meaning of life. Not reflecting on its life, friends, or children. Undoubtedly working to find the next meal – so the heron patiently lurks as a phantom hunter.

The heron is watching for a struggling fish or crustacean in the shallow water. Standing with its eyes peel and a sharp beak on a coiled neck coiled ready to work – which together serves as a sharp dagger action of a harpoon. When the heron walks, it does so slowly as it doesn’t want to alarm its prey. But I most commonly see the heron all alone – standing and staring.

Some days the heron allows me to walk relatively close – sometimes slowly stepping away. Other times as I approach, the heron flies ahead to a new spot – only to be disrupted as I again approach his new domain. The pattern repeats before the heron flies away to find a new spot to stand and stare all alone. We will see what happens today.

As I enter its domain, I find the eyes of this zen master to be menacing. Besides, I know it’s neck is powerful and the beak is sharp. Its legs are long and four claws serve as an anchor. Its stick-like legs remind me of tanks on Star Wars.

This time as I pass, the heron continues standing in stillness and silence – seemingly doing nothing – but maybe concentrating as a disciplined soldier. Its wings now appear as a cloak.

The heron uses its adaptations to survive and eventually produce other Great Blue Herons so the tradition continues over time. After all, the heron is designed for a specific role in nature – just like all other living things in nature that surrounds us.

There is something about the Great Blue Heron that gives me sorrow. Although beautiful in flight and design, I don’t see it as beautiful. To me, its drabness signifies depression and despair. Perhaps its stillness is a sign of praying for better, more joyful times.

We live in a self-maintaining wonderful world that is a mere speck in the grand universe. There is so much to ponder as I walk on the beach – a walk that is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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92 thoughts on “11 – Heron”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this post as you brought a very unfamiliar (to me) aspect of the beach, alive. I think I will always notice the heron differently on my beach trips. I am intrigued at how you found sadness in the beauty, stillness and silence of this creature. I am also amazed at how you found a phantom hunter, zen master and a disciplined soldier in the same creature 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PD,
      You did it again, but this time using my own words. At no stage of writing this post did I ever compare the adjectives. Maybe making sure I didn’t use the same descriptor too close, but never comparing. For me, you’ve allowed me to take my own thoughts to another level. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your account of the heron and the fisherman. I don’t think of the heron as a bird of the sea. It’s a quintessential part of our riverscape here, and always something that improves my day if I catch sight of one hunched on a rock, waiting, fishing. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret,
      As we know, there are different kinds of herons. However, the Great Blue Heron is also at my home – a 13-hour drive to the north and very inland feasting at rivers, lakes, and ponds. But I get to observe them more on the beach. Glad you enjoyed this stroll with the heron.

      Like

    1. Pam,
      So true – I’ve seen two together once. That’s it. Social distancing for sure – but maybe him and her have issues at home, so can only stand the presence of the other while they are sleeping.

      Like

  3. Beautiful tribute to the lonely / pondering heron [I prefer to look at him as ‘pondering’ rather than hunting 😉 ] I’ve never seen one in life but he looks like a lovely silent companion on a beach walk. 😉
    Yamas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marina,
      Good descriptors of the heron. Definitely lonely as I’ve only seen two together once. Pondering is a good word as they seem so stoic as the stand gazing at the sea. They love to make friends with fishermen! Enjoy your day. Yamas!

      Like

    1. Dan,
      Good morning. Thanks for walking along this morning and sharing your encounters with herons. They move so slowly but strike unbelievably fast. I once observed a heron following a fisherman holding a fish, fearing the heron would spear the man’s hand!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on herons, and I like how much you’ve thought about them.

    I haven’t seen “my” heron in a while. I’m not at the river quite as early since the time change, or perhaps he or she has migrated for the winter. I don’t think of them as sorrowful exactly or drab. I have mostly seen herons in shadow, so there’s a touch of melancholy about them to me, though there’s also a sort of beauty in the early morning quiet that’s wrapped up with seeing them. Their walk makes me laugh–sort of like a turkey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      Glad you enjoyed the post. Between my post and comments, there are many interesting adjectives describing the Great Blue Heron … and I can see melancholy. For sure, they are interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam.
      Solitary and patient are two great adjectives describing the Great Blue Heron … and you’ve added an interesting religious perspective. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed your encounter with the great blue heron — I find your pictures of the solitary bird on the beach very stirring. Although we have them up here I’ve only seen one, in February, and its neck was tucked close to its body, probably to keep warm, so I didn’t see it looking so majestic as it does in your photos. I was going to send you the link but since it gives you sorrow I suspect a picture of one in the middle of the drab winter would make you even sadder. Its stillness is very meditative, though. Beautiful, thoughtful post, Frank.

    Like

    1. Barbara,
      Glad you enjoyed this post. They are interesting creatures – and oh that neck. Coiled … tucked for streamlining yet powerful for quick strikes. I like you adjective of meditative … perfect for the Zen master. This pics were in January & February – but I don’t know what they summer color is. … but the ones at home (in the summer) appear to be drab – well, at least to me.

      Like

  6. I had an eight-year relationship with a heron named Peggy. The reason for the name was she (Was probably a male given the size ) had only one leg. Peggy would greet us every morning, and throughout the day, she would beg fish from the guys fishing. I found out she had several names as she became well known to the snowbirds. We saw Peggy for the last time on our walk before the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Harvey. When we returned, Peggy was gone and never came back. I say “back” since our fantasy cure-all had her flying to Miami away from the storm. Thaks for the memories, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John,
      I love this story about Peggy. Not only am I glad that you shared it, but I smile thinking that this post sparked your recollection. Cheers to the joys Peggy gave many.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I find herons to be particularly regal, the way they just stand there in silence, their gold eyes (which make them all the more aloof and scary looking) staring at the world around them. I disturbed one on purpose last year, just so I could capture it in flight (I know, my bad). Funny. I didn’t think they built their nests in trees since they seem to prefer the water. I always assumed they’d be like swans and nest near the shore. Of course, I see mine in a little pond-like part of a river.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      I’m so tempted to gather the adjectives of the post and the comments … wow …. you’ve added regal and aloof. Well done …. But shame on you for scaring one to catch it in flight. … Of course, I’m kidding. No harm, no foul for the fowl.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! It’s a bird that strikes in many ways.
        Nah, I went slowly… but kept getting closer till he decided I was too close 😉 Got great shots, though! You mighta seen one or two on WW over on Sorryless 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful, melancholy post. In the warmer months of the year, we have lots of herons where I live, in a town surrounded and filled with lakes. I love to watch them fly. Herons are not warm or chipper, the way song birds are. But, still, they have their elegance.

    Like

    1. Laurie,
      Elegance and melancholy … wow … they seem so opposite, but I see them as very fitting. Thanks for your additions to the list of adjectives.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The heron, symbolism of patience and longevity… I have never managed to photograph it (only the grey frequent our rivers and estuary) However, a grey heron does feature in The Spinner’s Game, and will feature in the book after then next one.
    Love your thoughts, Frank.
    Oh, and did you know, in Norfolk the heron is called the Frank, in old-time speech

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crispina,
      Alright, alright, alright … so the heron and I are share namesakes. News to me! … Your description of “longevity” has me wondering – hmmmmm …. what was Crispina meaning?

      Like

  10. Beautiul post as always, I love Herons… In the city home, around our building there were Herons… I missed and wondered them… Before coming in village, I was following and watching them. Reminded my my Herons… Thank you dear Frank, your music videos are so beautiful too, I note them all, Loved so much, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nia,
      Before I read your comments, I wondered if herons were in your area … and then you answered it! 🙂 Now I wonder how many varieties of herons exist throughout the world! Thanks for watching the videos and glad you enjoyed them!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Monika,
      I’ve been tuning into the adjectives in this posts and in the comments about herons – ding ding ding … sentinel is new to the list! Well done!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for the very peaceful music as I read your post about Herons, aFrank.
    They are very majestic. I think they walk like dancers, sliding their feet.
    We had a family of Herons in our back yard lake. They arrived as a couple,
    then, brought their baby. Eventually, they never came back. Sad but we’ve
    had a few new birds visiting recently to take their place. Hope all is well …
    Be Safe … Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isadora,
      Oh may —- you have seen a heron family? … including a little one? Impressive … and no wonder you were sad to see them go. Hope all is well in Florida … stay safe! …. and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Michel,
      The Heron obviously influenced me in this post. Now I wonder … can herons be found in France? I’m thinking yes.

      Like

  12. I enjoyed your reflections on the great blue heron, Frank. We see them almost daily here. I loved the interaction with the fisherman – that’s a new one! They really can make a racket when they’re in a huff – not a pretty voice at all. They do seem rather solitary except in breeding season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eilene,
      Watching the herons interact with the fishermen is funny. They are patient. The line tugs and the fishermen begins reeling in the line, the heron’s attention heightens. The fisherman raises the fish out of the water, the heron is more attentive – even hopefully. I’ve watched them follow the fisherman while wondering if they would sneak attack … even spearing the fisherman’s hand. But they – no need to hunt if someone is feeding them! Glad you enjoyed this walk.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I believe I have not ever seen a heron in real life, but I could have seen one many years ago on a beach holiday.
    Back then I was more concerned about that night’s party, and not so much on the beauty of the beach. The beach was for recovering.
    From afar it’s quite the elegant looking bird. Close up, it could be from a Sci-Fi movie. Its solitary nature is making me think of my life today, as I live it in as much isolation as possible while hiding from the Covid virus. At that point your comment “its drabness signifies depression and despair” is very valid.
    Truly a bird for today, I toast the Heron!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      I tried to portray the heron in a variety of ways. Here’s something interesting …. read again and make of list of the adjectives describing the heron – not only in my post, but also in the comments. It’s fascinating!

      Like

  14. Another lovely reflection. Herons are special beings. My parents’ condo down on Fort Myers Beach had a resident heron who waited patiently next to each fisherman hoping for a morsel of shrimp or other bait. I can’t remember his name, but he definitely had a name. Will ponder this more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathy,
      Thanks for sharing your story about a heron. So interesting how they “stalk” fishermen. I’ve even heard about them waiting on a particular person! Just like the fishermen, the heron patiently waits – but once the fisherman starts working the line, the heron is very alert!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yanno you came up with something that I never really thought about but now that you said it, I totally see what you’re saying. The heron does feel like a lonely creature. Maybe it’s the odd shape of this bird, maybe it’s the fact you always tend to see them doing their thing solo. I don’t know, but it is true! And that image of the heron looking out to sea . . . perfectly frames your thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marc,
      I will encounter herons on a very high percentage of days – so I check them out each time I pass them. Even looking out from the balcony, and not seeing anybody on the beach – but there’s a heron! Nonetheless, for me, herons give me a wide-range of adjectives – some of which are contradictory.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I still can’t get past the solitary involvement of these birds. That loneliness aspect, that I’m quite sure isn’t what they feel. At all. Us humans label everything according to our understanding, after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m sure all birds are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. I don’t recall ever meeting a great blue heron, but we have blue cranes in our area, which look similar to your heron friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rupali,
      Welcome first-time walker. If my memory serves me correctly, we are linked through Jo. Here at my little corner of the world, walks are the rule – so I hope you return. Now I’m wondering how many different kinds of herons are throughout the world. On a quick check, one source says over 60 and another says 72. Now I wonder, which species you say in Tokyo.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      You are not the first to call me out about my view of drab and bringing me sorrow. On the other hand, I did refer to GBH as a zen master, a disciplined soldier, and noting its beauty in flight. Then again, it’s interesting how people can have a different expression of something. Oh – so be it. Glad you find them as inspiring. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. lovely observation of the heron, they are amazing hunters! One local First Australian has recorded incredible footage of the entire process. He has amazing patience and gets out on our north wall in his mobile cart and films from there.

    Found your first blog with well over 8,000 followers … you really do this on a commercial basis don’t you Frank?

    Like

    1. Kate,
      The Great Blue Heron is an impressive hunter – and I imagine that is true for other heron species. If there is an online source to see the footage you mentioned, please share.

      Regarding my first blog, that was home for 11+ years. But I don’t put must validity in the followers number because of the variety of ways bloggers use the tool. If 8000 followers would have visited 1 post a week, my numbers would have been much, much higher. Oh well … life as a blogger. For me, I strive for interactions – or shall I say, active followers.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. No kidding … that’s additional work, so I bow to your persistence. You’ll like this, but on the closing post on the old blog, I wrote the number of followers in that post. That was early February of this year. Well, the number is higher now. People are just clicking attempting to gain followers at their end.

          Like

  18. Hi Frank – the video was a treat today – especially at around the three minute mark where the bird is in the best right next to the camera !
    Such vivid close ups !
    And your take on the blue heron is interesting –

    Liked by 1 person

      1. well I skimmed the comments and saw a few of those notes from readers-
        but you know – I did spend time with a similar heron once – he was hanging around where a man was fishing – and the mood of the bird was a bit melancholic – and hmm – I am not sure – but it was nice that you shared your view and how you were seeing that bird right now – because who knows – it could change in a few years (or not)

        Like

        1. I find watching them with anyone fishing to be amusing …. patiently wait, but when the activity of a possible catch, the mood changes. Of course, the heron is actually hoping for a treat. They’ve been known to open coolers! Meanwhile, I think one of the reasons I find them as melancholy is their solitude. I think of the times I’m on the balcony during bad weather. Nobody is on the beach – but there stands the heron – alone – staring at the sea.

          Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve never seen a Mr GBH on the beach. Mine is of course just in my backyard as he patiently waits for an unsuspecting victim to swim past. I think he is such an elegant bird in his grey/blue suit. His perceived air of melancholy is probably because he never smiles. 😅

    Like

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