Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great Blue Scott

On our first day in Panama City Beach I went for a two-mile hike on the beach inside Saint Andrews State Park. As I was walking along the surf I saw this guy sitting in a chair fishing. Standing about five feet from him was a really big great blue heron. The bird was just standing there, unmoving.

As I drew closer to the bird it just stood its ground. It wouldn't move. I started taking photos of it. Finally, even though I could see that it was made of feathers that were blowing in the wind, I decided that it was a mounted bird that was cleverly rigged to stand in place--just a fake or the art of a very skilled taxidermist. Then another guy walked up to it and it turned to look at him, so I saw that it was as alive as it appeared to be.

I should have talked to the guy fishing, but I didn't. What I think was going on was that he must have been tossing the odd fish or two to the heron and it was waiting patiently for a handout. At any rate, I've never been able to get so close to one of these birds. It was pretty amazing.

Click to enlarge the photo. I've never been able to get so close to a great blue heron. I think I could have stood next to it and it wouldn't have flown away. Unless I ever encounter either a cassowary bird or a secretary bird, I guess this is as close to seeing something like a Titanis walleri as I'll ever get.


Jack said...

Nice! I can't believe you were able to get that close!

HemlockMan said...

If I had to guess, it seems as if the guy who was fishing has this bird trained to wait for handouts. Small fish that the man doesn't want. The heron was standing about five feet behind the guy fishing. Just waiting. I wish I'd taken a photo of the bird and the fisherman together, but for some reason I just kept walking and didn't do that.