With what has turned out to be an old fashioned cold winter, we have had lots of opportunity to watch some of our larger local birds.
Three snow storms and the accompanying periods of extended below average temperatures have kept the herons, pelicans, and even ducks in our sheltered waters.
In one particularly harsh period, I even turned my skiff into an icebreaker so they could have some open water.
It seems like every day I have been able to get closer and closer to our great blue herons which in previous winters were very skittish.
Yesterday, a college roommate who trades photos with me sent some fuzzy glimpses of a great blue heron hiding in the woods.
After I received the email I went for my afternoon walk with the hopes of getting some nice bird shots.
The day had already been very productive with some great pictures of some herons and a pelican fishing in the Gut behind the house.
Little did I know when I started my walk that the best was yet to come.
The walk itself was fairly uneventful. I got a glance of some hooded mergansers as they took off from the pond in our subdivision. It is a good place to look for ducks, but with all the hunting in the area, they are easy to spook.
I headed home and peaked around the corner of our garage towards our dock. About forty five feet down the Gut which runs from our home in Bluewater Cove to the White Oak River, my favorite blue heron was walking down the edge of the Gut towards my dock.
With a north wind carrying my scent away from the great blue, I crouched and moved slowly towards the fish cleaning station at the end of our dock. I pulled the black hood on my jacket over my head and tried to be one with the cleaning station. The great blue turned and started a slow walk towards me. All that was visible was the camera lens.
I would snap a picture, and he would stop and try to figure out where the noise was coming from, but skipping a few frames seem to convince him things were okay. I got some fantastic pictures, and he got within about eight feet of me. He was so close that I had to shift position to keep taking pictures.
In moving, my feet knocked a piece of driftwood off the dock into the water. It was finally enough to spook the great blue and send him back to his fortress at the end of the Gut where a small creek enters.
I got quite a squawking from the great blue. He seemed to be very insulted that I had gotten so close. The pictures were well worth the scolding.
I am looking forward to today, who knows what great shots I might get. It is just part of the fun of living on the Crystal Coast even in what has turned out to be a colder winter than normal.