The delight of this past week was the arrival in my backyard of great blue herons. While I knew that they visited a spring-fed natural pond below the mesa where I live, in the 18 years I have lhad my koi and lily pond, I had never seen them here. This photo does not do the bird justice. They are huge, silent and graceful. The first one to arrive was a male with his crest of blue feathers trailing over his shoulders. The next day a female similar to this one came.
My mind's eye replays the arrival of the male as he swooped over the yard and garden to pause next to a boulder and consider the pond. I saw the sweeping shadow without knowing what I saw until he lighted. He stood with his neck fully extended and head held high so I could see easily the crest feathers. Before I could get to my camera, he rose into the air opening his wings fully and flew off. The arrival and departure of the female was more subdued as she flew over the house. She kept her back to the windows and eyed the pond. Since it is a rocky river bottom with a huge boulder in the center, I think it would have been awkward for them to feed on the tempting koi and goldfish.
What a wonderful gift! The sight and the experience were breathtaking. I was fortunate to be in the living room to see each of them arrive and depart. A variety of birds come to the pond and I enjoy their chatter and antics. This experience was simply a gift of grace.