Creatures of the Night

Golden Crested Night Heron with Watermark

I love to walk, especially by the water on the North Shore of Long Island, where I am surrounded by nature!  The Yellow Canaries are back, the baby Diamond Back Tutles are about to hatch and small fish can be seen in the estuaries.  While I was walking on the road, in between the sound and the estuary, I noticed a bird, large in stature, but elegant in it’s gate.  The sun had already set and the night was very quickly approaching and yet this night creature had just arrived.  I wondered about this bird.  Where did it come from?  It looked like the Great Blue Heron, and yet it was different…mmm.  What was it’s name?  Someone on the road joined me and together we stared at this beautiful creature.   This woman’s  name I know not, but the magic of the moment seemed to have brought us together.  She was an obvious bird-watcher and as she peered through her binoculars I asked her if she knew the name of this magnificent creature that was before us.  She quietly told me “That is the Golden Crested Night Heron.”  I asked her if she knew where they nested, but she shook her head no and then replied, “No one knows where they make their nest.”  I had no camera at the moment, but the image of that bird was ingrained in my mind.  I was walking on the campus at my school this week hoping to see a squirrel nest when I came upon this nest, not one of our flighty little friends that jumps from tree to tree, but a nest of elegance and beauty.  I strained my eyes to see who had built such an masterpiece and low and behold sitting there was not just one, but two of the magnificent birds I had seen months earlier.  I grabbed my camera and took the picture, this time so that my mind could forever recall this beautiful creature.  You see, the nest had always been in my midst for it was built high in the tree three years ago.  Others knew,  but I was now made aware that the Golden Crested Night Heron lives on the campus of the school in which I teach!  I am forever changed and humbled that this gentle creature of the night makes her abode in my midst.

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