In my last post I introduced Tower Grove Park. We are still in Tower Grove Park but have left the ducks. Just west of the pool with the ducks there is a small pond about 40 yards long and 15-20 yards wide. The end nearest the pool is covered with cattails extending 6-8 feet from the shore out into the water. The center section of the pond is covered with about a dozen Victoria plants; you know, the giant lily pads with the edges. I don’t think most people know they are called Victoria plants so lets keep Victoria our secret.
The pads are loosely arranged in lines of 3 or 4 pads going across the pond. Those closest to the shore are still a good 10 feet or more from the shore. In the center of the group of the lily pads was a bird I later identified (hopefully correctly) as a green heron. For the most part the heron just stood there on the lily pad. I don’t know if it is a fair assessment but I got the impression that green herons are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Okay, that probably is not fair on my part since this is the only green heron I’ve ever seen and I only spent 30-40 minutes with him/her. But remember kids, first impressions are important.
The one thing the heron did do that was interesting, and he did it twice, was to jump from one pad to another. The jump itself wasn’t that interesting, kind of like a chicken jumping and flapping out of the way as someone walks through the barnyard. What was interesting was the preparation prior to the jump and the settling back in afterwards.
Disclaimer: The photos below are a compilation of two different jumps. I saved the best from each jump trying to avoid duplicate poses.
For the most the part the heron just stood on the pad looking around like this.
It’s a bit subtle but here you can see he is getting ready to do something. His head has flattened down and he’s adjusted his neck and body position so that he is pointing and leaning forward.
Here he is just before taking a running jump from the pad in front of him to a pad two pads over and separated by about 3 feet of water.
Both times after jumping he would stretch himself out and almost look like a different bird. Here he displayed a comb on his head after jumping. Note that throughout he maintains his goofy wide eye expression. Like I said – first impressions.
The next two photos show the two extremes in his posture. Below is hunched up like he was most of the time.
Here the heron has stretched out which he seemed to do after jumping to a new pad.
I miss summer. I even miss October. That reminds me, speaking of miss October I’m going to be needing to get a new calendar soon.
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