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Thursday, April 28, 2011

From the Bird & Nature Journal

How lovely your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God. As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God! Happy are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you! Psalm 84

Tucked into the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania, along the edge of the Pocono Mountains and the Slate Belt, our little pond is home and respite to all kinds of birds and mammals. And it's a big source of entertainment and wonder for me and my family. During this time of year, our yard sounds like an aviary, and we are awakened every morning by a symphony of bird calls. At night, we are lulled to sleep by the peep of the tree frogs and bass-like hum of the bull frogs in the pond.

Every year, something a little exotic makes its home here. Here are two birds I am delighted see and enjoy watching, the Green Heron and the Great Egret.

Join me at the Bird & Nature Journal for more details. 

April 27, 2011

Green Heron 
photo source:
I just spotted this cutie yesterday morning. As I was drinking my cup of coffee, I saw a strange bird that dive-bombed from the oak tree by the pond. "What was that?" He stood upright with his long neck sticking straight up; his body is about a little bigger than a robin's. I grabbed the binoculars and watched him observe his surroundings--mostly the male mallards eating breakfast on the pond. Then he finally started walking about, but with his neck still extended, and I could see his heron-like feet. That gave me a clue, and so I looked it up on my bird journal, and --voila!--I found the green heron. Yes, I remembered then that I saw him last year, but at that time I didn't see him with his neck extended, and he looks quite different when it's not. I'm so glad he's back! He has a very unusual call of "Kowp!" And he's loud, although not often heard. I'm so looking forward to watching his antics again this year.
Great Egret
photo by Max Blease
Isn't this bird beautiful? He spent all of last summer with us, visiting every day. It was a pleasure to watch him fish and hunt for small frogs.

He is not a snowy egret, which has black legs and yellow feet, crest feathers, and stands at only two feet tall. This Great Egret has black legs and feet, no crest feathers, and is 3'3" tall. He still-hunts. It's fun to watch him spy a meal, stand as still as a statue with his neck extended all the way, then (swoop!) go in for the goodies! He is peaceful looking and moves smoothly and gracefully.

I just now found the picture to post it! I hope he returns this summer.

P.S. Can you tell I love living here? After 22 years in the city, I think I'm finally home!

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