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Each year, it seems, we see fewer Great Blue Herons here. It’s not that they’ve become endangered or rare; it’s just that they were once common sights and now they seem to be occasional glimpses.

In the 1990s, there was a small rookery of them in the spruce and balsam fir overlooking Great Cove. But, we haven’t seen a Great Blue nest there for decades.

Great Blues are our largest and most regal Herons, hence the title “Great.” They’re at their most graceful in slow flight when their supple wings seem to furl and unfurl in waltz-like rhythms: one-two-three-glide..

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They can achieve a respectable air speed of about 30 miles per hour once they get cranked up. When it comes to speed, however. It’s their fishing spearing technique that is most impressive — it’s an extremely fast blur.

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Great Blue Herons have a decidedy mysterious quality that perhaps is best experienced in a heavy, silent fog, when they sail over us like dark spirits on broad wings that whisper “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” — pause for gliding — “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.”

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(Brooklin, Maine)