Within five minutes I realized my late start was actually a boon. I’ve been happy to see many folks frolicking in the river and hanging out along the banks this spring. My hope is the more people are in the water, the more they’ll come to appreciate, understand, and respect this great resource. Tonight the only sounds were bird calls and currents rippling against rocks. Fewer humans usually allows for connecting with more critters. The swallows were out in abundance, gracefully weaving swoops along the glass-like surface of the river as they vacuumed up invisible flies. Some genuine twittering directed my attention to the treetops, where I spotted a little pair of winged friends with yellowish coloration — perhaps vireos? Grackles were poking in the crevices and sand around every bend. Their stunning yellow iris vivid against their deep black purple plumage.
I’m always captivated by the ever-changing array of colors before me on the water. Several factors affect the show: the rays of the sun, the clouds, the foliage of the season, the wind (who knew!?), the time of day. This was my latest start so far this spring, and the evening’s golden light enhanced everything in spectacular fashion.
I was delighted to come upon a familiar friend, a black-crowned night heron, our first encounter this year. Dramatic black and white head markings, lovely slate grays, showy tassles, umbers and striking red rimmed eyes made its elegant form a gorgeous contrast to the glowing foliage and reflections. It eyed me warily, obviously cautious about this strange human-frosted donut flowing past. Maybe it didn’t remember me, or maybe it was not one of the ones I’ve seen that nest in this stretch the last few years. (Or maybe it DID remember me and that’s why it was wary—!) Either way, I kept a space to respect its privacy. It watched and held its post. I clucked at it only after moving a comfortable distance downstream. It responded by ignoring me, and set back to work feasting on minnows. The views around several other bends offered feasts for my eyes.