Green Heron By a Vernal Pool

It was a beautiful spring day, and somehow, my husband and I ended up running errands in town. But we got done what we had to, and afterwards, we managed to spend a few hours along Bald Eagle Creek, enjoying the sunny afternoon.

It was quite a bird-fest along the creek, and there is a tiny wetlands there that is also favored by them, especially the red-winged blackbirds and tree swallows. Spring wildflowers were also in bloom, and I spotted numerous tiny, fancy, yellow trout lilies in the ground cover among the trees.

We got to our spot along the creek and set up our chairs, and I was hopeful I'd see some amphibian eggs, which can be quite plentiful this time of year. My husband promised me I'd find a ton of them in one of the vernal pools near the creek, and so I went in search of them with my camera.

When I approached the vernal pool, however, I spotted a short, rather thick-bodied bird sitting alongside it. Well, so much for frog eggs. I'd found a green heron, which was WELL more than I could ever have hoped for! (Learn more about green herons here.)

The very instant I spotted the bird, I quickly took a photo. Best practice, of course; because you never know if you'll get a chance at a second shot. I zoomed in, snapped a few more, and this one was among them. There it stands, looking for lunch along a vernal pool.

As I took a step toward a tree so that I could lean on it to do some super-zooming, the bird flew up into a nearby tree where my view of it wasn't quite as good. I stopped at that point, amphibians almost completely forgotten, just enjoying a few minutes with the green heron.

I can't say that green herons are RARE, exactly, because I've seen a few. But only a handful in my entire life. They are something like the big blue herons, only smaller and more compact. Different colors, of course. And travel-sized, for our convenience. :-)

I mentioned it was a bird-fest of a day for us. And the biggest bird show of the day was the tree swallows who have taken over every single nesting box in the wetlands there. Their aerial acrobatics were something to see! (Learn more about tree swallows here.)

My husband had spotted them on a prior visit and came home talking a mile a minute about the "blackbirds with blue wings" that he had seen. I've heard that one swallow doesn't make a summer, but how about two? You may see a photo of a pair of them hanging out atop one of the nesting boxes in the extra photos.

The song for this bird-fest of a day has to be something by the Byrds. And so here is a favorite: Chimes of Freedom. Dylan wrote it, of course, but the Byrds turned it into a pop hit. I am a Springsteen fan, so you probably won't be too surprised to learn that I think he did it best. Anyhow, here are three quite good versions, which I hope you enjoy!

The Byrds
Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead
Bruce Springsteen, live in East Berlin, 1988. It includes the famous Springsteen speech about the Berlin Wall (which came tumbling down a year later, as the whole world watched and wept tears of joy; oh yes, I remember that day!): "I bring you rock and roll with the hope that one day it will open the doors of freedom."
Amen, and amen, and amen!

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