Summer in North Carolina, though hot and sticky, presents a rich wildlife experience. My mother took us on adventures that year, but the marshes and swamps presented the best photo ops.
There’s something amazing about seeing specific animals in the wild, ones you only read about before, that’s downright exciting. While most of my family went canoeing through the swamp, I stayed behind with my sister and the kids, who all freaked upon getting in the canoes.
I admit to being amped with anxiety when we first pushed off, but I didn’t want to miss the adventure over a little fear. Well, when my sister freaked and the kids all freaked, we ended up with an odd number of people for rowing. I bowed out, mostly interested in photographing wildlife.
My sister and the kids all trekked up to the ranger station. I stayed behind and met this cool guy:
I fully admit, he might be a she. I felt sure he was a Great Blue Heron, What Bird indicates he is. When he landed in the middle of the swampy clearing, my heart fluttered with his great wings. Maybe I’m alone in the giddy amazement of such sightings (but I doubt it). I grew up in an area where most creatures are common to all the states. Herons never graced our plains and woods. I got downright excited, snapped a picture as quickly as possible, and crept to the dock for a closer look.
Beautiful! I felt fortunate for the visit and just watched him (her?) for several minutes. Heron stood sentinel atop the swampy waters, slowly surveying the area.
I saw him land, wings spread out so much farther than imagination permitted a passing mention in books. Majestic. I marveled and waited for his take off. I wanted so badly to catch him in flight. Alas, my camera proved itself a failure. He coiled back and I held my breath, snapped a picture, but cannot show you the smooth, artful take off before he soared over trees and out of sight. Stupid slow camera. I caught the coil start, at least. So much power in that take off and yet he never sunk into the swampy water.
I’d love to hear about the wild animal sightings that caught your breath? Which do you treasure most in memory? Any close encounters of a more dangerous nature? I hear birds can get pretty temperamental, so take care on your adventures.