|"Great Blue Heron" Colored Pencil|
Near the edge of a small pond, a Great Blue Heron remains motionless. It waits patiently for a chance to strike at its unsuspecting prey. I was excited to discover this large bird spear-fishing at Buchanan Ponds. It was like meeting up with an old, familiar friend. As a kid living in Western Nebraska the Great Blue was a common sight during our excursions on the North Platte River. If we interrupted its hunting foray, the irritated bird would let out a loud croak and then fly away to a more secluded area.
This large heron’s plummage is an elegant blue-gray. Indigo and ultramarine accents on the back and wings glisten in the summer sun. The long, sinuous neck is slightly reddish and a beautiful white stripe is flecked with a black pattern. A white head is capped with deep blue and the bright yellow eyes have a dark outline. The sharp, yellow bill is a lethal weapon.
Although the Great Blue Heron is common in North America, I didn’t realize their range extended so high into the mountains. I guess it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise because the local wetlands are a perfect natural habitat. I’ve noticed this bird hunting in small ponds and wading around Evergreen Lake. I’ve also seen them flying gracefully above Bear Creek.