LETTER: A strange sighting in downtown HartsellePublished 11:55am Tuesday, December 31, 2013
You’ll never believe what I saw in downtown Hartselle just a few days before Christmas. A great blue heron! I was walking in E.A.R.T.H. Park when I spotted this big bird wading in the little branch that runs beside the park. It was obviously looking for a meal of minnows or crawfish. Seeing it here makes me wonder if it does not also forage for frogs in the park’s small wetland ponds. When it saw me, it took off with a loud squawk and flew away toward the railroad tracks.
Blue herons are majestic birds that – in spite of their name – look more gray than blue. Their “S” shaped necks and long, skinny legs equip them for fishing in shallow water. In flight, their wings are more than sixty inches from tip to tip. They live mostly along lakes, rivers and creeks. I have seen many of them on canoeing trips in the scenic rivers of Alabama and Tennessee. But a blue heron within a stone’s throw of the bustling traffic of downtown Hartselle? It’s a little hard to believe.
My wife has her own explanation for this strange sighting. Either old age is beginning to take its toll on me, or I’ve been drinking something stronger than eggnog during the holidays. From now on, I will not tell her about the interesting things I see in Hartselle, even if a big yellow elephant should cross my path on Railroad Street near the city cemetery!