For much of my adult life I have lived on the edge of territory just wild enough to have a great selection of feathered friends. However, we have never had more flying friends than we have here on the Crystal Coast.
Even the deck of our Roanoke, Virginia home which overlooks a wild ravine cannot compare to what I often find as I walk out on the dock behind our home in Bluewater Cove just off the White Oak River. And the dock is just my starting point.
Depending on the weather, the variety of the birds that I find on my morning and afternoon walks can be astonishing. In just two walks one day, I photographed an osprey, green heron, great egret, Pileated woodpecker, great crested flycatcher, and a redheaded woodpecker. The pictures from that day are posted in this web album.
Sometimes I am amazed that I can stand on our community boardwalk just ten or fifteen yards from my subjects without them seeming to care. That I have been able to stand frozen in a spot and take pictures and movies of birds from pelicans and great blue herons to green herons and great egrets amazes me.
I often see things that I suspect don’t get see that often like this great blue heron dance or a great blue heron skating on the ice. I sometimes get wrapped up in what is happening to my feathered friends. Sometimes they will squabble over the little pond of water that is just outside our dining room window. That is a common occurrence when the herons are iced-in along our gut.
In January of 2o11, I got very concerned that the herons were having a hard time getting food. I took my skiff on an ice breaking mission. It seemed to help them get back into their wading water.
I had a wonderful winter of birding during 2011. So far 2012 looks even better. The really amazing thing is that I also get to see a wonderful selection of shorebirds when I go for my walks on the beach.
Sometimes I feel like I live on the edge of a bird sanctuary. Then again there are times when it appears that I am right in the middle of one. I felt that way the day an osprey dive-bombed the water about twenty-five yards from me and flew away with a huge jumping mullet.