Dawn patrol

It must be nesting season because the big birds in the local Great Blue Heron heronry – numerous saucer-shaped stick nests in an ancient Eucalyptus about 1,000 yards away as the heron flies – seem to be flying more sorties than normal. This one zoomed just overhead at dawn while I was still half-asleep and scared the daylights out of me with a loud squawk before landing in the tree. After we eyed each other for about three minutes, it took off again with another squawk and glided silently toward the river, neck folded in a great gray “S” before landing softly and setting up shop at the water’s edge, waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim close enough to make for a tasty breakfast.