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Old 09-14-2010, 07:06 PM
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Default The Great Blue is Back!

I usually like to spend an hour or so fishing my local subdivision pond with my Tenkara rod in the evenings. Very relaxing a peaceful, usually catch a mix of bluegill with the occasional bass.

Last year about this time, I acquired a fishing pal, a Great Blue Heron. For a period of about 6 or 7 weeks, I had a Great Blue Heron follow me around the pond like a puppy dog. The first time I saw this heron, he landed on the other side of the pond, about 60' across. He (not sure if it's a he or she) followed me along our respective sides of the pond, all the time intently watching the Tenkara fishing process. I caught a small bluegill, and decided to see if I could toss it underhand across the pond. I fell short and the fish hit the water and swam off. The heron was taking this all in, and then decided to fly over to my side of the pond. He landed about 25' away.

The next small bluegill I caught, I tossed his way. He pounced on it, downed it, and then headed for the pond to wash it down. After finishing his snack, he came a little closer, maybe 20' off. I ended up feeding him one more small bluegill. I had no idea what a heron's stomach capacity is, so I decided to call it quits for the evening.

The next evening, no sooner did I approach the water, in swoops the heron, and establishes a station about 15' away. Again he followed me along the shore, watching my fly on the water like a hawk. Again fed him a couple of fish that evening. This went on for the next 6 or 7 weeks, the heron ended up following me about 7' away. You could see him react every time a fish stuck my fly, and he'd get excited as the fish was brought to hand. I never fed him more than a couple small bluegill, not knowing how many fish, and what size he could handle.

As the colder weather moved in, I stopped fishing and left Mr. Blue to fend for himself.

I only saw him one day early this spring, that was the last I saw of him. Until tonight, in he swoops, just like two old pals getting together over a plate of nachos and a cold beer.

I'm not sure what surprises me the most, the behavior, or the memory the bird exhibited. Not every day does the bird see a dummy waving around a big black stick.
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

your story brought a smile to my face. thank you sir!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

That is just so cool... It's great to connect with other creatures and nature in that way!
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

Thats pretty awesome! If you cross each others paths again you should try to get some pics. That would be cool to see.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

Will do. I was all set with my camera this spring, after I saw him the first and only time. Hopefully he hangs around this fall.

Although if the truth be told, he does make me feel guilty every time I throw a fish back, he gives me a look. I don't want to feed him too many or too big a fish, but it's hard to explain that to him.
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:31 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

Just my thought, but hes got more natural skill and perception than probably all of us combined. And Id say his success rate would blow ours out of the water. He knows how much is too much and whats too big. He didnt live this long by being incompetent. Plus he showed enough intelligence to realize youre there to help him out. I wouldnt worry about it too much.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

pszy22: Great story, thanks for sharing! How about taking a couple photos?

Larry
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

In the length of less than half my lifetime, I have seen Canadian geese turned from migratory birds into pests that taxpayers pay to have professional hunters to erradicate because they no longer know to migrate south.

I have seen formerly wild turkeys at the Dunkin Donuts every morning directly across the street from the former Allied Signal Complex in Stratford that employed 10,000 people begging for donuts at the drive through.

I see flocks of pelicans around anyone at the fish fileting shack down at the dock begging for scraps or just waiting for someone to show up - many of them juvenile birds. In the 1950's I saw exactly one. And even he would not let a stranger near him. A one-winged pelican rescued by Jerry Smith who owned Bonefish Harbor in Grassy Key.

In 4 years in SE Asia I saw not one wild duck, but thousands being herded around by kids hired for that purpose.

In CT, I used to throw rocks at deer eating my tomatoes in an area that had been developed for 300 years. I've been treated 3 tlmes for lyme disease. Professional bow hunters are practically full time public employees there now, trying to keep their numbers and sickly overall condition in check.

All this - from people feeding them.

This is good?
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

I guess I see your point....
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Old 09-15-2010, 01:57 PM
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Default Re: The Great Blue is Back!

That is a point, I guess same point could be raised about feeding song birds at a bird feeder. I was actually a bit concerned about having him becoming dependent, but he's managed just fine for the last 11 months without me.

Tell you what, if he brings a friend, I'm out. Don't want to be overrun with domesticated Great Blue Herons.
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