City Birds

Last night I rode up to the Cascades waterworks between North Walnut and College. I walked out to the waterfall to see what I could see. I first noticed the crop of water lotus that was growing close to shore, and the flowers were just beginning to bud out. The yellow balls were about 2 inches wide, and should bloom fully when we get some warm weather. I went down to the water’s edge, with rush hour commuters on either side.

I looked across the water to the College side of the pond, and there was a young great blue heron standing on the wall and eyeing the fish in the water below.

Great blue heron Cascades Pond
Great blue heron Cascades Pond

But my attention soon changed focus as I heard and saw a pair of medium sized birds hovering over my head. From their calls, and eventually when I saw the male, I knew they were a couple of red-winged blackbirds, and really did not want me to come near the water lotus. The mom hopped about on the leaves sticking up out of the water, and called to me repeatedly while the dad would fly over my head.

I kept my attention on the water lotus as I thought I had seen a mammal swimming between the plants, but then realized that might be what was disturbing the blackbirds. I looked up and realized the heron had flown off in the meantime, and I started to leave also.

But as I walked along the water’s edge, I realized that the nest was not among the water lotus leaves (now I see that did not make sense), but rather in the uncut grass which defined the verge. I stepped into the grass, and was buzzed by the birds, so I am pretty certain I am right. Let’s hope the grounds keepers know enough not to mow that last foot of grass, it is a family home!

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