Lots of heron drama this morning.
I would have missed it all, but for my cat, Sky, who at 5:45 sits next to me on the bed with her back to me — and flips her tail in my face. Flip. Flip. Flip. Until I have to laugh and get up.
Come downstairs to a gorgeous pink and blue and yellow morning. I let Sky outside. It’s a peaceful scene in the inlet in front of the house, with a few ducks and geese, and one heron fishing for his breakfast. Such a lovely picture he makes with his upright stance reflected in the water.
And then another heron lands a few yards away.
Mating dance or territory war? They go back and forth a bit, with their necks stretched straight up and their beaks in the air. It doesn’t seem possible they can see each other, let alone be a threat to one another.
But clearly, I am missing something in the nuances of heron socialization, because one suddenly makes a few stabbing motions and the other retaliates. As near as I can tell, they never make contact, it’s all just macho show. After a couple of minutes of this, one seems to concede and flies away. It reminds me a lot of sophomore boys.
I get my coffee and let Sky back in.
Next time I look out, there are three of them. Two take off in that awkward-looking heron way, big wings spreading wide as they pull long necks and legs in — it hardly seems possible they can get airborne, but they do. Again, they remind me of sophomore boys — all feet and arms and seemingly loose connections between everything.
They chase each other around and out of sight, and the third is left in control of what is apparently the prime patch of seaweed in front of our house.
The sun is rising, beginning to spill golden light across the water. Now, suddenly, there are four herons — now five — chasing each other around the inlet, a silent (to me) aerial battle that is beautiful to watch. The water is completely calm, and every time they fly low enough, their reflections echo their movements in a yellow looking-glass. There’s a ferry in the background, misty in the distance. I wish I had a video camera. I don’t even have a smartphone. The battle rises higher and they all swoop up and up into the trees behind our house.
Now they’re all gone. I get my cereal and sit down to check Facebook.
Now there is one again, stalking slowly along, fishing, as the sun rises.
Sky is sleeping on the chair next to me. She snores.