Not birding but birded
November 28, 2012

First seen across the river

A pearly streak between the reeds.

Head hunkered down, body bunched.

A sinuous cipher in a strange place.

Overwintering, maybe for the first time.


Then, from a train.

A gleaming snowy-feathered capsule

Lurching forward, stilting step by step,

Acid yellow spike of bill against the green

Delving in the slime and weeds,


Delicately-boned and feathered,

Curving neck and breast and legs,

A plumed pod

With bill that juts and probes

Into the cold and grub-filled Barrow’s water.


Now, suddenly met close, upriver,

You turn and scan me with

A look of gentle shock

The river running in your small bird ears,

Head tilted, perched on the high bank edge.


Great white egret from the rain forest

Look at me,  through your round eye

Before the startling of your huge white wings

Six-foot-spanned with trailing tips

Conveys you, floating on a river thermal,

Off down away.


Enheduanna     28/11/2012

Photograph: Dick Coombes

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