There is a wetland area near my home that has been formed to provide a safe run off for storm water. It has a walking path that is popular with the residents of the neighborhood and a wonderful ecosystem for marshland flora and fauna. Imagine my delight, a few weeks back, when taking a walk around the water I noticed a great blue heron. It was standing still, waiting perhaps to ensnare some fish. It looked so elegant with its long pointed orangeish beak, long slender neck and graceful posture. I was struck also by the colorings on its face- almost pure white in some places and a long dark blue band stretching from the top of its eye diagonally downwards, leading to a plume like hair sticking out, almost like those sported by warriors of certain tribes - a reminder that it was from the birds and animals that mankind learnt to make himself appear dangerous while out hunting. I stood and watched it for quite some time observing the way stood still and then waded across the water in search of food.
Last weekend I went back to the same place and was pleasantly surprised to find yet another heron standing on the railing of the wooden trail this time. It was quite a sight. As I walked along I also saw several sported turtles with interesting patterns perhaps in red (it was hard to see clearly through the water) on their legs and shell. There were also ducks and the Canadian geese (which I read, have been happy to make northern Virginia their permanent residence thanks to the relative warmth compared to Canada and the abundance of wetlands and places to nest and raise their young and plenty of grass to eat . I wonder if they will be asked to leave as well if a certain someone becomes president this November. ;) )
There were some people feeding bread to the ducks. I have read that this is dangerous for the geese as they feast on a natural diet of wild grasses and other greenery. Bread and other "human" foods can make the entire flock sick. Feeding also encourages the flock to stick together which can spread disease and cause harm to the environment. (Information from the Fairfax County Stewardship leaflet on Canada Geese) I was not sure if this was true for the ducks as well, perhaps it is-so the next time I see anyone feeding bread to the ducks perhaps I can share this information with them.