Monday, May 19, 2008


If it is possible to be ugly and beautiful simultaneously, the Great Blue Heron wins first place in such a contest. These amazing creatures are perfectly adapted for fishing or for frogging ('cause they like frogs too). Excuse me while I go sit in a corner and try and get the sensation of what it must be like to swallow a frog out of my system. How does one do that, by the way?

I love living on the water, but one thing I could live without is the sound of a Great Blue Heron's screech at 2:00 a.m. It happens almost routinely, and I know what is going on. Whenever One Heron lands in the vicinity of Another Heron, one of them squawks. And it isn't just a squawk. It is a blood-curdling screech straight from The Exorcist. (Were there screeches in the Exorcist? If not, substitute the horror movie of your choice in its place. Thank you.) If one of their heads isn't spinning around, rest assured mine is. Complete with hair standing on end. And this lovely sound is just what one wants to hear at 2:00 a.m.

I wrote something a while back about a heron here who came to the back door looking for handouts. Thankfully, now that the pickin's aren't so slim, the heron is able to fend for himself.

I just wish he'd keep his nighttime activity down to a dull roar. I really need to get some sleep.


foolery said...

He's beautiful! I don't see one scrap of ugly on that guy.

We get a GBH on the ranch every winter. He haunts the fields, sometimes flies low over my parents' house, and I don't have any idea where he sleeps. Only one, though, so there's never been any territorial squawking that I've heard.

I don't know where he lives the rest of the year, but it's probably the creek, which is less than a mile away as the heron flies.

Roz said...

I love how some birds look as if they need a haircut. Hippies!

I am wondering if the Great Blue's screech is anything like what a peacock makes--sounds almost like a horrible amped-up cat yowl. Painful to hear!

Bear Naked said...

Came here from David's blog--Life in a Cone of Silence.
After reading your profile
"Interests: Just about anything except housework. The End." I decided you are my kind of blogger.
Looking forward to reading your blog.

kaffy said...

"Heron" Northern VA we have herons too. Right in my back yard. But they look out of place in the suburbs. I think they are better suited for the tall grass of Mathews. We hear the dissonant squawking of geese here, but no heron music. Nice picture, CBW!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Hey, y'all.

foolery - aren't they amazing in flight? The ugly part I suppose comes in their scrawniness. Is that a word? No matter, their features are so stark and rather harsh..they're gangly sorts of creatures. But beautiful nonetheless.

Roz - I'd never thought of the hippie hairdo! Good call. And I do know firsthand what a peacock sounds like. I used to work at Busch Gardens and worked right near where a peacock was on exhibit. I think the peacock's voice is sweeter than the heron's, which sounds like someone who's smoked for a year too many.

bearnaked - I will do anything and I do mean anything to avoid housework. Anything.

Kaffy! - I've missed talking to ya. We need to get together soon. And start that other blog...

cats said...

He is a beautiful creature. They are very unique birds. I want to know if anyone has heard a fox screaming in the middle of the night. It sounds like the cross between a dog barking and a blood curdling scream at the same time. I hear them in the woods behind my house.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

cats - I can't say that I've heard a fox screaming, although we certainly have plenty of foxes out in the field on our lane.

My mother's mother had a pet fox. Seriously. She found it as a pup, I guess, and raised it. She was infamous in Gloucester as the lady with a pet fox who ran the country store.

Most of the animal sounds in the middle of the night around here are blood-curdling. My blood is thoroughly curdled every single night.

I need to go away for a week and get some sleep. Downtown New York City would probably be quieter.