Friday, July 30, 2010


There is still one family of ducks that has stayed near the island below the dam. I guess it's reasonable to assume that the small island offers enough protection from predators (Which: turtles? large fish?). The proof is in the pudding: this mother and her brood of nine ducklings continue to explore and dabble in the pools and riffles of the river. A few weeks ago I studied a family with a dozen young but I haven't seen them since they went downstream below the arched bridge.

This group surprised me actually. I had become engrossed in drawing a heron and was alone with my thoughts when the duck family splashed into view. If you just sit still for a while and mind your business, you never know what you might be privileged to see.

The heron was graceful and comical. Without any regard for me, it gingerly stalked from rock to rock, at times carefully feeling the bottom of the riverbed. It positioned itself before a little "chute" of moving water and was soon eying the flow for fishy morsels. In quick succession, two small fish were caught and swallowed whole. These, of course quickly followed by a drink of water to wash it down (I wonder how long the fish live as they slide down that long heron throat… at times like this I'm glad I'm not a fish!). Eventually, he caught a larger fish and I observed the eating process again. I'll spare you the details but it does seem more difficult than actually catching the fish!

Here's a larger view of my heron sketch.

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