Bird, wildlife, and landscape photography by Jon Rista
Perched Atop a Giant
Late in the afternoon, on the same day I was photographing Grebes and a Great Egret at Cherry Creek, a Great Blue Heron took a perch atop one of the resident giants: A Cottonwood Tree. Cherry Creek is full of Cottonwood, very large trees that, during late summer, fill the air with little balls of cotton-esque fuzz that slowly float through the air. Days when cotton lazily floats through the air are always the best days of the year…great temperature, no wind, usually moderately overcast skies…they just feel great! The cottonwood this Great Blue Heron perched atop is an old one, a true giant. It is kind of the icon of the Cottonwood Creek area (possibly even it’s namesake, however Cottonwood Creek itself stretches for miles to the south, so I cannot be sure), largely because it’s been dead for a number of years. Dead or not, this particular tree towers over everything else in the area, dwarfing all contenders. One doesn’t usually see Great Blue Herons perching on trees like that, nor so high up…so I am rather happy I was able to get a shot.
For anyone who has a general idea of how large a GBH is, know that the part of the Cottonwood tree that is visible in this photograph is barely 1/3rd of the whole tree. The crown is another third off to the upper right corner. The trunk of the tree itself is larger around than a couple men! The tree truly is a giant, although it is not all that apparent as it’s trunk is surrounded by other competing and much smaller cottonwood trees and extensive thickets.