Just over the hill from the beaver pond, a Great Blue Heron is hunting in the shallows of Big Pool lake.
As I watch, the heron catches a nice fish. But, in trying to catch a second fish, it comes up with a bill full of wet leaves.
Soon afterward, three Mallard ducks swim into the cove. They splash around as they search for submerged plants, creating a disturbance certain to scare off any fish in the area. The heron stands stops fishing and stares at the ducks, as if stunned by the duck’s bad manners. While some animals will fight over a source of food, the heron is a peaceful and practical bird. After waiting in vain for the ducks to leave, he flies off to another part of the lake. It’s a big lake, with room and food for all.
As the drama unfolded in the cove, a pair of crows observed it all from a fallen tree on the shore.
I make my way back to the beaver pond and pass a Red-bellied Woodpecker in a tree. It’s only when the woodpecker takes flight that I see the reason for its name—a streak of red on the bird’s underside.
Every time I come to the park, I see something I never saw before. Whether it’s a heron catching a fish or a new detail about a familiar bird, it’s always an educational adventure.