One thing I miss so much about being on Whidbey Island is the bird population. Here in Santa Cruz, being a comparatively urban environment, we have an abundance of sea gulls, pigeons, crows, sparrows, hummingbirds, and a spattering of others. However I was surprised and delighted to look out my upstairs window one day and see a different kind of backyard visitor - this magnificent great blue heron!
I first noticed this visitor standing on the roof of the cottage in our back yard.
It flew across the yard and landed in our plum tree.
It seemed particularly interested in something on the other side of our fence - I think the neighbor's fish pond! It craned its' neck to see.
This beautiful creature spent about 10 minutes, stepping gracefully across the branches.
Finally it spread its wings ......
took a springing step.....
and took off! Those little fish were safe for another day. (Unfortunately something made a shadow across my lens just as I shot this last photo!)