A juvenile bird
On September 5th, once again on a seasonal quest for snow-on-the-mountain plants that might already be flowering, I ended up at the same pond in the suburban town of Cedar Park where I photographed a white egret last September. At one point, as I walked through vegetation near an edge of the pond, a young bird jumped out of the brush where it had been hiding and, alarmed by my approach, jumped into shallow water, where it hopped and flapped its wings but apparently couldn’t yet fly. It didn’t seem to want to head out into deeper water but stayed in the shallows and moved parallel to the shore to get away from me. It didn’t move very fast, though, and I easily kept up and even got ahead of it. Several times we came to a standoff, literally, with me standing near the shore and the bird standing in shallow water. After a while I walked away because I figured the little bird had dealt with enough for one day; too bad I couldn’t convey the message that I wasn’t a predator and it wasn’t in any danger. By the way, although the telephoto lens might make you think I could have reached out and touched the bird, I was probably never closer to it than a couple of yards (meters).
After I got home, I looked through a few references but wasn’t able to identify the bird, so I turned to Nan Hampton. She consulted with Chris Haran (thanks, both of you) and they thought the juvenile was probably a green heron, though they left open the possibility of an American bittern. (And speaking of green herons, Steve Gingold posted an excellent picture showing one, along with its reflection, in his nature photography blog in July; just click the picture to make it much larger.)
And so ends this description of my close encounter of the avian kind.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman