Focused Hunters

Rain starting pounding on the house as I got ready for this morning’s hike. Even though she couldn’t see the rain while still inside the house, Aki, the dog, looked discouraged, like a dog who would be happiest staying warm and dry at home. But she still waited at the door was I pulled on boots. Happily, the rain had just stopped so we didn’t get soaked while walking the car. It started back up as we backed out of the driveway.

            The tide was completely out when we reached the Fish Creek Delta. It was a minus three foot tide, one of the lowest of the year. A dozen bald eagles had assembled close together in a shallow water section of the Mendenhall River. Every once in a while they would burst into the air and then drop back to the river shallows.

            Rather than search for food exposed on the wetlands by the retreating tide, three adult heron were feeding up river, very near our trail. They must be hunting productive water because they didn’t notice us until were thirty feet away. Then, one panicked into flight and landed at the edge of a small stream fifty feet away. The other herons soon joined her. They spread out until each was a dozen feet from the other two. Then, they returned their attention to the hunt.

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