As I sit on the dock and gaze at the setting sun in the western sky I see bright billowy white cumulus clouds in shapes that the imagination turns into various animals and objects. Tonight I see a morphing “Florida Gator”. Last night the Editor said she saw a bird on wing flying into the sunset. Reminds me of the Joni Mitchel song Both Sides Now…”I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now”...the lyrics go, and ends with…”Its life’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know life at all”…isn’t that the truth. Suddenly I am startled back to reality by a familiar squawk. It is my Tricolored Heron friend coming in for an evening hunt in the outgoing tide.
The Tricolored Heron is a medium sized Heron. It was formerly known as the Louisiana Heron. Similar species are the smaller Little Blue Heron and the larger Great Blue Heron, both of which lack the white belly of the Tricolored. Of all the Heron chicks I have seen, the Tricolored have the funniest look. Their head feathers look like they stuck their foot in an electric socket. It is a look very much in style now though it appears. During breeding season the beak gets an iridescent blue color and a white plume is very prominent on the head. Found throughout the southeast and Gulf State coasts and as far north as Maine and Nova Scotia, it is a year round resident on the Broward. Its main diet is small fish and minnows and occasional crustaceans. Of the three Blue Heron species this one seems the most tolerant of my presence. When it is busy hunting in the shallows it will often walk within a foot or two and not get spooked. Unlike the other two Blue Herons I have also noticed that on the Kayak the Tricolored will often let me approach close by. When all other birds are gone on the Broward I can always find my Tricolored friend to be somewhere near by.
When I think of life’s illusions I remember the clouds and Tricolored Heron. Like true friends they seem to be there no mater what. Some friends, like clouds, drift through our life with the wind bringing shade, beautiful sights, and sometimes storms. Clouds do bring the rain though. We all need rain to quench our thirst like we all need friends. Although I was an ole weatherman, I am not going to rain on your parade today. Instead I am sending you my Tricolored Friend. My hope is it will remind you that when the storm clouds of like roll in on you that You too have a friend that is closer than a brother..and me too…Be Blessed. Harry