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Already, down by the creek, Japanese knotweed obscures a view
of the green heron’s usual work.

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That’s why it’s a special treat to spy one up in the trees
casting a gaze across its fishing bill.

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It is easy to overlook what we are not prepared to see.

But a patient gaze will often reward long familiarity with a place.

Then the mutest shape might suddenly pronounce its presence,

like a Green Heron on the fallen ash beside Little Crum Creek.

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. . .

Pennsylvania, like the entire eastern half of the United States, is part of the Green Heron’s summer breeding range.

I have spotted one here on Little Crum Creek as early as April and as late as August.

But I had never noticed one before squatting one day among the long-appreciated turtles of nearby Crum Creek.

There, with the slightest step, a yet unseen heron suddenly stirred the shade of a late summer day,

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fully startled me with the raising of its head,

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and assuredly prepared all our later engagements.

Distant ripples on Little Crum Creek signal the visit of a young Green Heron.

Dark cap, striped breast, and brown plumage all blend with the sandy creek bank’s morning shade.

But the heron’s bending golden legs step visibly into stillness.

Achieving a vantage to stand and fish, it is not easily perturbed.

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