Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out of The Mist

Away from the Bay:
In the early morning mist the great egret hunts for food along the lower reaches of Salmon Creek.


This week's post is dedicated to my brother and his dog. They led me Salmon Creek, in Vancouver, Washington, where they immediately encountered angry ground wasps. After some timely medical assistance they are both doing fine. Without my brother's guidance this week's post would not have happened.


A great blue heron approaches the egret.

The egret heads upstream for a quieter hunting spot.

Surprisingly, the heron continues to advance towards the egret's prior location, as if the egret was still there.

From downstream, another heron approaches the same location. 

The posture of both birds has an unusual masculine, defensive look.

They seem to resemble weight-lifters, flexing their muscles with their elbows extending out to their sides. If the evolutionary divergence of humans and birds occurred over three hundred million years ago, it is amazing to think how deeply this masculine, posturing must be embedded in both lifeforms.

The second, downstream, heron continues to approach.

The upstream heron reflects the posture and also wades towards the egret's prior location. As the tension rises it is clear why the egret wanted no part of the coming confrontation.

It is interesting how the heron's can tip their beaks in the air and still keep their eyes focused straight ahead. 

The original heron slows its direct advance into a slow, shrinking, circling.

The downstream heron continues forward.

The heron's close to within five or six feet. If they get any closer, a single strike from their opponent, could create a mortal wound.

The circling and posturing... 

...continues for a couple more moments.

Ultimately, the territorial discussion is resolved without bloodshed. The herons part ways, return to their corners, and resume their more usual hunting postures.

Upstream the egret has already resumed its hunting without being involved in all the hair raising posturing.

Further upstream a robin shares its food with other robins with far less concern. 

Have a great day on Union Bay…where nature lives in the city!



  1. Wow, this is amazing! We learn so much from your wonderful posts. You know, the herons' aggressive postures remind me of a weird encounter we had with a male grouse down in Ashland, Oregon several years ago. It came at us down a trail, looking like a smaller version of those herons. We learned that it was probably defending a nesting mate. It worked, freaked us out as it chased us!

  2. I certainly wish I had been there to take photos. The grouse would have been a very interesting subject, but I think the folks running from the grouse might have been the photographic highlight. :-) Thanks for sharing!

  3. I am glad we had the opportunity to show you the Salmon Creek Nature Trail, I thought you would enjoy it! I just wish Meeka and I could have continued on with you, but those pesky wasp's had other idea's!

    1. Hopefully, we can get another shot in the spring, when the eagle's on the nest. Thank you for the opportunity.