Out Walkin’ After Midnight

I’ll hold off or leave it for someone else to post about the success of tonight’s IAAL‚Ä¢MAF bike ride, because right now it’s almost 1 a.m., I’m bushed and just want to share with you this micro slice of night wildlife that happened after flatting on the way back from downtown beside Echo Park Lake about halfway between Bellevue and the lotus patch.

It turns out from where I stopped about 20 feet to my left on the grass stood stock-still an only recently fledged great blue heron chick a fully mature black-crowned night heron that either thought I was blind or that it was invisible because it didn’t fluff so much as a feather despite my immediate proximity.

As if that weren’t enough at the next moment a foot-long rat (not including tail) bolted previously unseen from the lake’s edge making straight across the pathway directly for the frozen heron until they got literally beak-to-nose of each other and neither budged until the heron finally did a little jig and the rat did the body language equivalent of “oh shit!” and broke for the safety of the foliage. All the while I’m fumbling with the camera trying to get it out of the case and then turning it on and hoping it’ll fire and grab something resembling a photo of the surreal scene. Of course it was the moment after the rodent bailed tha the flash lit up the night and the moment after that the startled bird flew the coop and all I was left with was a flat rear tire and these unworthy pixels:

heron.jpg

Opting not to change the deflated innertube I instead walked the bike up to Sunset and the last mile home. But that’s another story. Good night.

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6 Replies to “Out Walkin’ After Midnight”

  1. That’s actually a fully mature Black Crowned Night Heron. There’s a small population of them year-round at the lake and we saw some juveniles earlier this year. As the name implies, they’re mostly out at night.

    Great ride last night . . . sorry to hear about the flat.

  2. Don… I’m WAY sure it wasn’t an opossum. I know opossums. Opossums have been friends of mine. And this rat was no opossum.

    Jon, two words for ya: twat ever.

    And Steve (Mr. Rollers), thanks for the species correction! I was led awry because it looked so much like a hunched up version of a great blue. Glad at least I got the heron part right.

  3. At least you had your camera ready. Last week, in front of my place, I ran across 8 baby racoons and their mother making their way across my lawn. She stopped and looked me straight in the eyes, as if saying, “stay back mo-fo or I will bite and scratch your eyeballs out.”

    I got back in my car slowly, grabbed my camera, and followed them to a tree, which they all proceded to climb. They all stood on various branches of this avacado tree, looking down at me, when I proceded to turn my camera on. Click, beep, low battery, shut off! Damn, it would have been a great picture. 16 glowing eyes staring at me from the tree.

  4. Perhaps it was a nutria? I haven’t seen them here in Los Angeles before and according to wikipedia, they heva been eradicated from california but they do look very similar to gi-normous rats.

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