For four years now, I've begun each summer in much the same way: finding the new heron that has set up residency at Riley Lake in Cobbs Hill Park. The park is in my neighborhood, and has been a part of my life for going on thirty years now (it is where my high school cross-country team trained and ran meets). This summer has begun no differently. While turning onto the expressway on ramp which runs by that section of the park yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the smallish bird yesterday afternoon. This morning before work, on a lark, I stopped by as I passed through. And there he was.
It took me more than a few minutes to pickup the rough outline of his figure to the far left of the "lake." It was just before 6 a.m., and cloudy to boot, so it took a few moments for my eyes to adjust. A very light drizzle had just begun as I exited the car in an attempt to snap a few pictures. I didn't want to use the auto-flash on my camera, for fear I'd startle him, and as result the photos were grainier than I would have liked.
Shortly after moving in for some closer shots, the heron took flight. Rather than making his way deeper into the park, the heron headed over the expressway and north-east further into the city. I waited briefly to see if it would emerged from the darkening clouds, perhaps in an arcing loop back into Cobbs Hill, but he did not. Fortunately, I've got a few months now during which to check on his progress (and growth). In year's past, a heron (I like to think it is the same one that only grows larger and "fluffier" as the summer progresses) has stayed in the area around Lake Riley through September.