528 shopping days until 220.127.116.11.0 4 Ahau 3 K’ank’in.
When I lived in Tulsa, I frequently saw both Greater and Lesser Herons along the Arkansas River and other waterways. They spook pretty easily and it’s very hard to get close enough long enough to get a decent photograph, so I was inordinately pleased to have stalked this one and gotten its portrait. Herons make a rather dismal croak and flap grumpily off when you crowd them. They seem to covet solitude, as I do.
Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn, no longer in deadly black, with hoarse note curse the sons of joy.
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
I see herons along the Ohio River, now that I live in Louisville, but not as many. With their large size and reptilian mien, herons betray their therapod dinosaur ancestry more than most birds. As we enter the Anthropocene with all the ongoing evidences of the sixth great extinction, I like to watch the birds and remember that even a starling or a wren is a little therapod, a living relative of Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. Birds as a clade are survivors. There are about 10,000 living species in Class Aves, roughly twice as many as there are in Class Mammalia. We “featherless bipeds” are the last scions of a recent, small, and dwindling genus, and we’ve just about killed off our remaining close living relatives. Blake also wrote:
How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?
I can’t cut an airy way, but I can make scissors dance:
Thanks for reminding me, Fiona.