Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Night Stalkers

They creep along the docks of the Charleston City Marina during the darkest hours, going about their business unnoticed by all.

Night is their cover and while they share the docks with an assortment of wildlife, Green Heron are often overlooked. They work the docks while performing a tightrope walk along dock lines looking for the smallest of tasty (at least to a Heron) morsels. They have found that the docks offer dinner at all hours without getting their wet feet. Extending their necks to reach down and pluck a hapless snack drifting by on the outgoing tide, all the while remaining high and dry

Dare venture out late in the evening, when the smell of pluff mud fills the cool Charleston night air and you might find that the moon gives just enough light to see a small shadow stalking a tiny crab on the underside of a boat fender. To a Green Heron food is where you find it.

While the stoic Great Blue Heron and flashy Snowy Egret get all the press, (SEWE posters have featured both), I doubt the much smaller and less attractive Green Heron is on any wildlife paparazzi hit list. Green Heron are plentiful as they range coastal wet lands in all temperate climates throughout world.

If you have ever been startled walking down a dock late at night by the sudden rush of grey feathers, as the unhappy “gawk - gawk” of a Great Heron punctuates the darkness, you might be surprised to learn that his lesser known relative was undisturbed by your footsteps and simply watched you pass by, even a mere foot or so away.

All night long the Green Heron works, and in the early light of the coming dawn you can glimpse his small shape quick stepping across the river mud and swiftly disappearing into the nearby marsh grass.

I think it would be nice if some artist would pay homage to the little guy and perhaps even a SEWE poster.

You can find out more about our Green Heron at: Wikipedia Green Heron

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