Posts Tagged ‘fishing birds’

© janet m. webb

for One Word Sunday

© janet m. webb

There’s a dead tree by the river in the park where I walk.  It’s often inhabited by birds of one sort of another: a siege/sedge of herons, an exaltation of egrets, or a gulp of cormorants…fish hunters all.  One unusual time, there were two types of birds there simultaneously.

I check each time I walk, hoping to catch a glimpse of as many as six or seven perched on various branches.  I think they muse about fish: those they’ve caught, those they plan to catch.  I muse about getting close enough to get a decent photo.  Even with my telephoto, it’s a bit too far away for a really good shot.

But there’s a path winding its way not far from the base of the tree and when the ground is wet or there are no crunchy leaves, it’s possible to get close enough if I move very, very slowly, to see them high above me in the tree.  This time I finally had my Nikon, not just my phone, and was thus able to immortalize this musing cormorant.

These birds are in some ways my muses.  I think about them, wonder whether they’ll be there, if I’ll get a photo of them.  And I enjoy seeing them muse about whatever it is they think about while sitting on a dead tree overlooking the river.

On a personal note, I’ll be taking a blogging break for most of the rest of the month as I travel to France to visit my s-i-l and b-i-l.   I pray for each of you a wonderful time and many blessings while I’m gone and promise to share thoughts, adventures, and photos with you when I return.

for One Word Sunday  (This week one word and then some!)

This week, Debbie’s word for One Word Sunday is “tasty.” In this case it could be last week’s word, “fish/y” or even “sushi.”  I don’t do raw fish, but this diner seems quite content.

copyright janet m. webb

After powering through all that snow without a sight of any wildlife other than small birds, I headed back towards where my van was parked.  Crossing the dam, I looked down the river to my left and saw what appeared to be large grey spot quite a distance away in the snow by the water.  But I wondered whether it might be a heron, as I’d seen one some weeks earlier.

Taking out my camera with the telephoto, I focused.  Yes! It was a heron, hunched over, balancing on one leg while looking cold despite his nice and puffy down coat.  I guess he must have been ice fishing.  It was the view that made me morning complete.

(Anyone else having issues with WP formatting some of the words differently in the final post, even though they don’t show up that way in the original?  I didn’t change “nice and puffy down coat” above, but there it is.)

© janet m. webb

Sushi.  It’s always been what’s for dinner, at least in some places.

copyright janet m. webb 2014

Gone fishin’

Posted: July 18, 2015 in Nature
Tags: , ,

One sight that can temporarily stop my walk is that of a fishing bird patiently waiting for its next meal. I hit “Pause” on the app that keeps track of my walk and simply enjoy. Herons and egrets are common near us. I often spot them waiting, unmoving, until suddenly their heads and long beaks dart down and another fish dinner is consumed. But I’m just as intrigued by cormorants, even though they aren’t elegant in the same tall, thin way these other fishing birds are.

If for not having to flap their wings (quite fast, as they’re somewhat stubby), a cormorant, at least the ones who live here, would look like an avian version of the stealth fighters that sometimes overfly a sporting event. Slim and black, they move quickly through the air and I’ve never heard one make a noise. But it’s in the water that they really shine.

Here the image is, to me, one of the feared German U-boats: they run silent and they can run deep. One moment a cormorant is floating on the water; then next, it’s gone, diving after its victim. Watch and wait. Nothing happens. Keep watching. Still nothing. A movement catches your eye and there, quite a distance from where it began its dinner run, is the bird, floating deceptively peacefully…until its next dive commences and another fish becomes a bit of bird sushi.

The most amazing thing is how long these birds can stay underwater. I’ve repeatedly counted, routinely reaching as long as half a minute before the slender head emerges, dripping water. They can do this repeatedly. One day on the lake near our house, three cormorants dove and popped up time after time, in all directions, a not-quite-synchronized swimming/diving/eating team.

The end of the first half of my morning walk in the park takes me down to the river. I keep my eyes open for birds but on Tuesday, a cormorant and I mutually surprised each other. I’d almost reached the river when the bird, fish partly in mouth, saw me, frantically skimming the water before finally taking off. My first thought was regret that I hadn’t had my phone out, camera ready, although it’s doubtful I would have been able to catch the shot anyway. The second was pure enjoyment at catching a unique moment in the lovely morning light. I continued on my way with a smile on my face and a sense of joy at the beauty of nature.