Heron Awakes

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The bird stood on the rocks on the east side of the seasonal Burrowing Owl sanctuary like a statue. The eye that I could see was open but not moving; the bird was probably asleep. A turn of the head by just a few degrees was noteworthy action. Then, after many minutes, when on busier days I would have moved on, the heron began to stir. First it stretched its neck downward, a move that caught me unprepared to film it. Then it turned around and slowly stretched its left leg outward as far as it would go, taking the wing with it, without losing its balance. The bird did not follow up with the same move on the right side. Instead, it gave a vertical neck stretch with its bill wide open and its tongue extended. Thereafter it settled down again, and as if fatigued by its exertions, returned to immobility. The day might hold many adventures, but the bird was in no hurry to begin them. The photographer, on the other hand, moved on.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in neck and bill stretch
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in leg stretch

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