Birds. And traffic. Sorry, my blogeth cup runneth dry these days.

You know when you see something out of the corner of your eye and you can’t tell right away if you really noticed something or if it’s just your peripheral vision jacking with your brain?

I was outside during my break yesterday (because sometimes I only see the sun from the 8-5 confines of my office – so this is a treat!) and noticed this gigantor bird.  Gigantor!!!  Yes, he was big.

Do you see it? The big, black blob on the tree branch?  He’s obviously trying to get someone’s attention.  Sadly, I think I was the only one paying him any mind.

Here’s a little bit of a more close-up look at him.  If he was trying to find himself a lady friend, all his wing flapping and neck rolling didn’t make him all that appealing.  I saw no other birds. Then again, if he was trying to catch himself a fish, I would imagine you should be much more stealth and unobvious about your whereabouts.  I’m stumped and not sure what this bird was up to.

I actually had to Google him. The bird.  I’d never seen one quite like this before.  My first thought?  It’s a black heron!  Because any bird that relatively looks like an egret/heron must be an egret/heron and will therefore carry its color in its name.  See, white egret or great blue heron?  These herons – they make it easy for the little people such as myself. People who have no idea about what they’re looking at and just name birds after what it looks like.  Or just make stuff up.  It makes me sound smart.

But in this case, I’m dead wrong!  Seems that there actually is a black heron…in Africa.  But not here.  And that’s okay.  I mean, I think Florida has dealt with more than its share of invasive species.  If you don’t believe me, do some research on the boa constrictor/python cross-species that have threatened the alligators in the Everglades or learn more on the forested area south of Ocala that houses a family of exotic monkeys that were clever enough to escape illegal transport and bust out of Miami’s customs check in the airport. 

Seriously, I can’t figure out where my saved text messages are on my new cell phone but monkeys broke through customs and established residency in Marion County? 

So back to the bird.

Since black herons do not reside in Florida, I did some more searching.  This gorgeous bird looks very similar to the one I saw yesterday – the outstretched wings, the egret-like curved neck…it’s a huge bird. 

It’s an ahninga and it’s a protected species.  After reading up on this bird for awhile, I realized that I have seen this bird before.  Just not out of the water.  An ahninga is a water bird and can swim with only its neck exposed and out of the water.  It’s really creepy to witness an ahninga swimming and hunting in the water.  The curved neck is easily confused for the upper body of a snake. 

Ack! Swimming snakes!  I didn’t need to go there…annnnd, that’s all I’ve got on the bird.  Moving on…


While stuck in traffic this morning on the top of a bridge 600 feet in the air, I snapped this shot.

I suggest that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office employ round-the-clock smoke machines and foggers. 

1. Why?  I suspect it will drastically reduce the occurence of speeders on the highway. 

2. How so? Because the presence of fog temporarily riles city drivers into believing that the road that was just there yesterday no longer exists.  As a result, brakelights twinkle like Christmas lights and the constant flash of bright red warning signals to the cars behind them…STOP!! STOP ALL TRAFFIC NOW!! BRAKELIGHTS BRAKELIGHTS BRAKELIGHTS!!! Oh, wait…there’s the road…AHMAHGAHD THE ROAD DISAPPEARED AGAIN!!! BRAKELIGHTS BRAKELIGHTS BRAKELIGHTS!!!

While this is especially annoying when there are only three, yes THREE, other vehicles on the bridge at the same time, it works.  See – no moving = no opportunity to speed. 

(These are the same people who think it’s a grand idea to drive down to the beach during a Category 2 hurricane just to “check things out” — you know how these smart ones can be – SAFETY FIRST!)


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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