Friday, May 10, 2013

smelt fishing in point utopia

There was a great blue heron fishing in the tidepool behind my house this morning.

It was a very low tide, and a little school of smelt was trapped in the pool where the creek discharges into the Sound.

She was standing out there in the fog from 8:30 on. The sun came out and burned the fog off at 10:00, and then, with the sun's rays reflecting off the silvery backs of the little fishes, m'lady really got going, swallowing silver bullets as quickly as she could catch them, at which she's awesome efficient.

Sliding just her long beak under the surface, she'd come up with a wriggling silver victim, usually sideways flashing in the sun. I don't know how she does it, but quickly the horizontal fish is set vertically upright, head downward, as she tilts her head back and swallows.

She ate nonstop like that for an hour. Smelt are small, but they can be upwards of five inches and weigh nearly a pound. I'm surprised she could take off, but she's gone now, probably for a nap.

I consider my heron an omen. The Chinese associate the bird with patience, strength, purity, and long life. Native Americans were impressed by the heron's curiosity and especially, its determination. She's a good omen, because she's an expert fisher, as I witnessed this morning, waiting patiently until conditions are perfect, then moving with lethal efficiency. For a person preparing for a hunt, this is a great sign to see. 

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