Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wild Turkeys vs.Great Blue Heron

Harper's Run, Summer

Last evening, I went for a bicycle ride in the large city park downstream of "my" natural area. My wife had to work late, and I'd had a large lunch and didn't need another meal, so I took advantage of this alignment of the stars to get some exercise. The only downside was that yesterday was among the hottest days of the year, with the temperature when I began at 5:30 p.m. still at 91 degrees!

Before setting off, I photographed Harper's Run, the third in my seasonal series of images of this stream taken from a footbridge over the creek. The lack of recent rains is reflected in the stream, which has dwindled to a trickle. However, if Hurricane Earl approaches the East Coast tomorrow, Harper's Run could become a raging torrent in a matter of minutes.

The bike trail through the city park is 10 miles long; I rode 7.5 miles of it for a total of 15 miles. The trail is paved and parallels the creek, so it's shaded. Most of the ride last night was relatively cool, but every once in a while--because of the topography, the wind, the orientation of the trail, or some other unknown reason--I'd puncture a mass of stifling hot air. Then, a few hundred yards later, I'd re-enter the cooler air. Ahh, relief!

On my return trip up the path, I came around a corner and had a view out over the creek where I captured this image. A group of three Wild Turkeys is on the sandbar on the left, and a Great Blue Heron is fishing the shallows on the right side of the creek. It suggested to me that the gang of turkey bullies had cornered the heron and driven it into the water. Of course, I know that's not the case, but I liked the juxtaposition. I made three images of the scene, and by the time I took the third shot the heron had flown away; the herons are skittish in this park, and I don't blame them because the park is very heavily used.


James Wilson said...

Nice, but the heron seems like a baby. In the DC area we sometimes see herons (e.g. at Little Falls just above Chain Bridge) that are four or five feet tall. Magnificent birds!

Scott said...


It might be an immature Great Blue Heron, but I was so far away when I took the picture that it's a bit hard to get a real perspective on the bird. We've got plenty of adults around, too.