They say the early bird gets the worm. My dachshund Barny lives by this philosophy. I often compose my reflections in the wee hours of the morning. While the other two lazy hounds (and Editor) are snoring, Barny creeps down the hall to greet me. It is not that he wants to see me; he knows that a morning Beggin Strip treat will be his and his alone if he gets there first. The early birds of the Broward have the same philosophy.
The predawn light reveals the familiar shape of my Tricolored heron friend waiting patiently on the bank near the water for the sun to rise. It is low tide and the river (what is left of it) is teeming with bait minnows and shrimp. It is just too dark to see em! Just like Barny, this bird is often the first one I see in the mornings just waiting to get some breakfast treat too. Unlike most of the marsh birds, this particular Tricolored Heron does not fly off at my slow approach to the dock. He gives me a morning glance as if to say “Please don’t scare the fish”. He slowly hops down into the cold water and begins to peer into the murky darkness for tell tale signs of movement. His keen eyes were made just for this type of feeding.
Later that day I see this familiar bird again at low tide. The sun is high and the visibility is just perfect for minnow hunting. This small heron does not even give me a hint of notice as I lie prone on the floating dock and watch him hunt. Peering left and right, then arching his neck like a drawn bow, his strike is just as swift and accurate as an arrow. A fat juicy shrimp is his reward, soon followed by a wriggling minnow. A Juvenile Yellow Crowned Heron (George Jr) prefers fiddler crabs benedict. It's Beggin Strips A-La-Broward you might say.
I am an early bird too. Breakfast is my favorite meal. But first I feed my spirit with some quiet time and reflection. “Seek me early while I may be found” is not just a philosophy for the birds you know. And every now and then I get a Beggin Strip too! Be blessed.