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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A heron congregation, it must be ugly on the river

This Saturday,  December 18, has been a wet one here on the Crystal Coast.

We have hardly stirred from the warmth of our house.  I did make two trips to the mail box which is a nice walk at our house.  I just wish the grass was as green now as it is in the linked summer picture.

During our recent cold snap, our roses froze, and the only thing left green in the yard are the wild onions that I have been unable to kill.  I think most of us humans have recovered from the unseasonably cold weather.  I remain uncertain about both our birds and our fish.

There have been enough reports of dead fish from the really cold days that I assume we did have some scattered fish kills.

We have also had reports of someone killing pelicans recently. I hope they catch the low-life responsible, and put him away for life. Pelicans harm no one and add tremendously to the beauty of the area.

Beyond that the herons and gulls have been especially active in the gut behind our home near the White Oak River.

This morning a small corner of the water behind us seemed to be especially popular.  I counted anywhere up to five white herons  and two great blue herons in a fairly confined space at one time.  A couple of sea gulls also kept circling but I never saw them land.  Not far from the herons, there were some returning merganser ducks which I managed to capture in pictures on Friday.

The herons were there when I got up for breakfast, and they stayed all day.  I did observe them successfully fishing so they were feeding.  There were a few squabbles over territory, but we see that all the time.  However, it is rare for our feathered friends to spend all day behind our house.

They usually will make a visit or two, and then sometime later in the day come back and spend the night in some of the sheltered trees around our marshes.

I don't know if the unusually cold water temperatures in the river have made the water behind our house a better feeding ground, or if it this is just a coincidence.

It was nice to have some feathered company on such a dreary day.  We did enjoy our visitors.

The day was made even a little worse by the news that Emerald Isle is considering charging for beach parking.  The plan is that parking at the Eastern or Western Regional lots will cost $5 or $10 per day, May through September and 8 AM to 5 PM.

That will certainly make beach walks a little less spontaneous. 

Hopefully the economy will turn around soon and before the fees are implemented. We can always hope for some increased tax revenues flowing in from island businesses if the recently reported trend for people to travel more continues.

I suspect the island businesses will be the big losers if the city does start charging for parking.

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