Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wild Wildlife: Just Bully!

Over Labor-Day weekend we went with our friends from out of town to explore Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Island, a small island in the middle of the Potomac between DC and Arlington. The island, accessible from the parking area in Virginia by a pedestrian bridge, is a pleasant wooded area full of little trails. One of these leads to the memorial statue in the middle of the island: Teddy Roosevelt stands with one hand raised above his head and the other lowered but extended. We speculated for some time about his pose and what he was about to do; the possibilities we came up with included conducting an orchestra and spanking someone. As baffling as the posture is, it’s irresistible, and we watched several people photograph their friends and family posing in front of the statue, including an adorable little boy in a tie-dyed t-shirt. It was pretty great.

We also took the trail around the circumference of the island, which leads one along the water and through marshy areas. In one of these areas was a great blue heron that was relatively unconcerned about its human audience as it stalked its prey.

It plunged its head into the water a couple of times before it got a real prize, a decent-sized fish that gleamed silver in the afternoon light.

Once it had swallowed the fish, it had to clean itself off from its plunge:

I alternated between taking photographs of the heron and photos of the grasshopper my friend had pointed out to me, which sat on a post along the little boardwalk/walkway. At first it was quite interested in my camera, but after a while the whole modeling business became tiresome, and it turned its attention to other, insecty things. They’re fickle, those orthopterans…

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}


Anca said...

Lovely contrast--the small and the large. And that double heron, in and on the water, that's a great shot.

Goldie said...

I don't think it is a grasshopper - it looks like a katydid. Living in a wooded area with large windows I find a number of unexpected creatures peering through the glass at night and after some searching I discovered that the common grasshopper have short horned antennae.

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