|stacey m. hollis||
What'cha up to crow? That's the phrase I always think or say aloud when I see one of my favorite birds flying around town. They are just great to watch because they're truly always up to something. I did a little cartoon representation of what they like to do in the VRC mall parking lot (or on any hard surface really; they also quite like Monroe Street). So watching these buggers do their thing in the fall (fall like those nuts fall, cracking open meaty goodness) is something that makes for some of my favorite birdwatching. And aloft, these guys are lovely to watch as they toss themselves around, among each other, riding the breeze backwards, bouncing along the windstream, doing acrobatics and playing tag about the busy streets and sidewalks and people who might should look up a bit more often to see the wonders of nature that have so comfortably settled into city life making a living while I watch in envy. To view life below from such lofty perches (sometimes so small they have to wing and wiggle to balance) is something that I would love to do. For now, I enjoy watching them do it themselves because seems to me like they've got city life more figured out than a lot of us!
This great blue heron was minding her own business as I zoomed around the delta pond curve, headed west along the Willamette River. As daylight faded I could hear the familiar piercing cry of the all too fiesty red-winged blackbird that has claimed the powerline wire that hangs above the greenish brown water. Water that harbors a buffet of nutrients for all levels of the food chain. Vulnerable young fry (fish babies), including species of concern (i.e. salmon, if I recall correctly...) that are, actually, fish food. This widening, spreading, slowing of a section of the Willamette actually is manREmade. Humans trying to reestablish the kind of habitat that naturally occurred there until rampant human development stepped in. Anyways, instead of going off on a rant, let's bring it back to this fascinating bird battle that played out as I watched from the bank above, frantically trying to set my camera for waning daylight (that's my apology for the blurriness).
She moved slowly, stepping through the water as the blackbird flew in with divebombing fury. Hackles were raised, feathers in this case. The heron rumpled her feathers in surprise or anger.
Rather than reply with equal force, the heron only kept slowly walking on, step by step, through the water. So what could a tiny red wing blackbird do but to land rumpside (looking at our great blue's beak, do you blame him?) and peck like there's no tomorrow.
Needless to say, the heron didn't seem bothered in the least about the whole situation. So finally, in a huff, the RWBL gave up. The day ended in fledging baby scrub jays, peaceful and serene.
The shadow-bellied clouds against a vivid blue sky made for some compelling photography at both ends of the mall.