I spent some time today at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, one of Philadelphia's surprising treasures. (If you've ever taken the train from the Philadelphia airport to the center of town, you've seen some of the refuge's marshes from the train window.)
changes over the years, and changes with the seasons, and changes with
the weather, but there's always something to see.
Today we saw a deer, a rabbit, several frogs, a cormorant, and swallows. The egrets and herons were out fishing (slinking along on their stilt legs with necks craned; resembling pterodactyls when they fly). The violet pickerelweed was blooming, as was the swamp rose mallow. August to me is always the mallow blooming in its shades of white, deep pink, and pale pink.
We also saw a bittern.
I remember seeing this bird in a picture in a book when I was little,
thinking that it was interesting, and wanting to see one in the wild.
Apparently bitterns like to spend most of their time lurking in marsh
foliage, camouflaged, and can be difficult to find. So it was a special
gift to see one today.