Did this happen?

Towering Eucalyptus Trees on the Golf Course

For over 40 years, we’ve enjoyed the scenery just outside our backyard; a city golf course. Now, we’re not golfers, but this picturesque course gives us plenty of enjoyment as we watch the comings and goings of the wildlife there. 

Tall Eucalyptus trees and Aleppo pine trees march down the center of the course. The trees, from time to time, provide a perch for red tail hawks, a hoot owl, many doves, and other smaller birds. Canada geese waddle down the course squawking all the way before they whoosh off into the air. After heavy rain, ducks sometimes swim about in the runoff in the puddles forming just beyond the fence. On the other side of the course, barely visible from my balcony, is a small lake, and about four miles southeast of here is a riparian bird reserve/water treatment plant. It is not uncommon to see water birds moving high overhead flying in the direction of the bird reserve. None of these have ever ventured into my garden.  

I have a very wildlife-friendly garden; I have two small fountains, seed pods, trees, and brush for the finches, mockingbirds, doves, grackles, starlings, cactus wrens, and lots of hummingbirds. So when a great blue heron landed on the top of the block fence between my neighbors’ yard and ours, it was indeed a shock! Nothing like this has ever happened before! Great Blue Herons can stand five feet tall, with a wingspan of six feet. The bird is mainly legs and neck and on land stretch out into a slender regal pose.

Great Blue Heron

We were sitting at our kitchen table and this giant bird flaps onto the fence! In just seconds he or she flew off. It was hard to believe our eyes. We didn’t expect it to hang around, and yet it did.

Steel Bird Sculpture

Two weeks ago, Rich had completed a new steel sculpture; it looks like a great heron or white egret, (he painted it white), and positioned it as though walking among the white flower bed heading directly toward the fountain. He made it out of an old steel scythe blade.

Nighttime view of our Bird Sculpture

We are enjoying it. It stands three feet tall and is a reasonable likeness to the heron.

The live Heron returned, hopping again on the fence to look toward the fountain. Our neighbors snapped a photo of it.

Red arrow shows heron walking toward fountain

Then the giant bird hopped down into our garden and onto the grass. It walked toward the steel bird and the fountain.  

Still interested?

Our shadow against the window startled it, and it flew up onto our vine-covered arbor in the side yard. Standing there and looking longingly back toward the steel bird, it gave a full body shake and lifted off to fly on down the golf course.

Is it possible, could it be the steel bird attracted the Great Blue Heron to land in our garden? Could it see this replica from the sky? Hunters use duck decoys to attract a flock from overhead. Was romance in the air?  Would a battle of wings and feet soon commence? What possible reason would a high-flying heron stop to visit in our garden? And oh, will we ever see it again?

Gardens, a place of fleeting beauty

17 thoughts on “Did this happen?”

  1. Thank you…SO fabulous! I’m hoping our DC Ranch golf leadership will allow this to be shared with the members. I hope that would be OK with you?

    Rich is a sculptor? For personal only?…or does he have a website?

  2. It is a great joy to live in such a beautiful setting – more so now, perhaps, since we are all hunkered down at home.

    Thank you for the lovely photographs!

  3. Love this!!! Thanks for sharing!! There were egrets across the course by the condos but not often any more. The moat has been eliminated!

    This has been a gorgeous Spring! Nature is smiling at us & keeping our spirits & hope up!

  4. So awesome!! This time of “nesting” has allowed all of us to slow down and really take a look at our backyard visitors 🙂 Your yard is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing it!

  5. I loved the story and can hear your voice as I read it. Your beautiful garden certainly reflects your love of gardening and design! We are missing April in the valley, but looking forward to the emergence of spring in the Rockies!

  6. How beautiful
    Thanks for sharing ❤️
    I enjoy your insights on nature and how you and Rich work together and share these gifts with us!

  7. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures. Have you considered contacting the Dobson Ranch round-up magazine to do a feature? Love the photos of the great blue And her or his Paramour!

  8. Hi Linda and Rich,
    The sharing of your garden (both its beauty and your adventures in all that happens there!) brings joy to lots of people especially in these days. Take care and spend lots of good time in your beautiful place on this earth and stay safe.
    Your fan (and friends xoxo) Marcia & Steve
    P.S. We’ll all look forward to photos and descriptions again one day when we can all go roaming again. ‘Til then ….

  9. So cool! And so wonderful you were able to get pictures of that majestic bird to share. Desert Rivers Audubon Society might be able to answer some of your questions. I bet it was intrigued by that statue!

  10. We left Dobson Ranch for Las Sendas before I could become active in your group, but I really do enjoy your postings. You are very knowledgeable and caring about our local environment and the beauty of our desert plants. Plus i enjoy your travels to other gardens.
    This is the first time that I have written in—I am just astounded that Great Blues live here!! And that this one seems to be at full size—not suffering for being in a dry climate. Herons like wetlands. What do they do when the DR lakes are drained? They would then need water that is relatively slow-moving w a natural bank, not manmade. I am now excited to search for them elsewhere, perhaps along the Salt River. Thank you so much for this!! The pix are wonderful…

  11. I had a heron sitting on the edge of my pond a couple of days ago. Unfortunately he ate all 10 of my fish. Your yard is looking beautiful. Our plants are just starting to come alive. There should be exploding with color soon.

  12. Beautiful photos of your yard and the birds. The heron must really like you and your garden. That is fabulous. We still have snow pack in the mountains but vegetation is starting to pop up.
    LeeAnn

  13. A 50% bet might be that the heron may have thought there could be fish for a meal in the fountain? One of our Tempe GC members had a little pond with Koi. It was quite a battle to defend her fish and so did my Calif. daughter with her koi pond. We are in Chandler to your southwest with little Lakes & have herons on a regular basis. Very cool.

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