As I walked past the north side of the wetlands, I noticed an odd figure in the water some 25 yards distance. When you spend as much time in the wetlands as I do, you know when something’s out of place. Something was out of place.
My first thought, there’s a loon in the Wetlands. Summer is the wrong time of year for a loon to be in North Carolina. Even if it were April, or perhaps October, when common loons would be passing through our area, our wetland is not a place they might stop (of course, anything can happen, but it’s unlikely). Loon was out. It had to be something else.
I took out my camera, looked through the viewfinder and zoomed in. It was a great blue heron. The heron was belly deep, seemingly floating duck-like, or loon-like, in the muddy water (loons ride low in the water). One doesn’t often see herons behaving in such a way.
After a long minute or so the heron raised itself partially out of the water (it had been squatting down in the water). It glanced down into the water and shook itself mightily. After which it stood motionless, then squatted back down again.
It dipped its bill into the water, then dunked its head under the water and shook itself again.
Finally, the heron walked off through the willows, apparently satisfied it had gotten rid of whatever dirt, mites, or other annoying critters that had prompted the bath in the first place. Or perhaps it was simply cooling off. Whatever was going on, the heron was now ready to move along.