Nature Photography by Ike Austin

Michigan Birds by Ike Austin


Green Heron

Ike Austin


One Strange SunSet in Jimme' - A Most Particular Kind of Sun 


One late evening I was sitting quietly amidst a deep thicket of shrubbery, I had not moved the slightest for I had just awaken from a dozing off-nap.  When I opened my eyes I started looking directly in front of me and began to focus through the many thin branches crisscrossing in every direction. I saw a group of old men sitting motionless and soundless, yet they appeared to be transfixed and in communication with someone far off on the horizon.


I turned to look in the direction they all were facing and I saw a most beautiful sun set scene as I had ever witnessed. Lucky for me there were not many branches to obscure my few from this angle.

I too became gradually mesmerized by the huge, dimly lit orb of golden light that seemed to elicit a most inspiring awe of all who was privileged to behold.


This particular Sun that appeared in the sky of Jimme' that evening was a thousand times larger than the one where I come from, this Sun occupied half of the sky expanding across the horizon as wide as the eye can observe with a need to pan from right to left to get it into full view.  It had started to set and drift down below the horizon emanating it's final flicker of evening light signaling the coming edge of night.


The SunSet in Jimme' started to elicit a peculiar draw on my spirit. It seemed to inquiry of my efforts that I had conducted for the day. Before I knew it, I found myself immersed in deep reflection of past behavior and recent conduct for the day. "Did you do the best you can?", "are you doing what you do for competition or because you want to?" I also felt the Sun expressed a heavy hurt and sorrow of my hysterical laughter over an incident that took place many years ago when I was about twelve or thirteen.


My personal incident that the Sun was referring; I recall that I found humor in a group of kids who's inadequate efforts to master swimming instead found themselves near drowning, splashing about in panic and I was standing on the shore just laughing myself into hysteria.


However, Even though the Sun brought this shameful episode of my past to my attention, I felt no condemnation standing in it's presents. This particular Sun seemed more interested in my lessons learned than counting it as a fault. This Sun was more interested in coaching the spirit than condemning the soul.


This particular Sun was curious if I pushed myself to the breaking point, if I immersed myself in opportunity to become an undisputed master at something complex in life. Did I through diligent and years of relentless effort finally un-lock one of nature's prized secrets; this Sun wanted to know.


This Sun wanted to get the point across; during anytime this day, did I  provided some value, bring some comfort, removed some fear, raised some child's self esteem today. Or, did I lift an elder's spirit, did I masterfully turn any potential explosive situation into a humorous one.


I knew I was standing in the presents of something great, greater than anything or anyone, in any story that I had ever heard from the place where I'm from. I understood that beneficial fellowship with fellow beings is invisible money. This particular Sun did not ask anything physical of me to give to it, or pay.


My mind was made to understand in perfect non verbal communication; that... this particular Sun "does not require anything of us."


As I regained my full attention, in my wonderment I was thinking how fortunate I was to be here and how can I show my gratitude in some physical way. I ceased those thoughts and then focused on the one thing that did seem important to this particular Sun; in the very next morning I will provide comfort to youngsters, by evening I will make myself available to an elder and throughout the day, set my mind to increase my intellect, to master a secret of life, for in knowing more, I am highly favored by this particular Sun and the more I know, the better help I can provide to the young and old.


I felt an acknowledgement from an unseen presents coming from somewhere over the horizon from the direction of the setting Sun that had already dipped below the horizon. Among a diverse audience of spectators, I experienced true judgment. Judgment is every evening in the most northern reaches in the forest of Jimme'

Just then, The group of men I kept within my sight, started to slowly raise their right hand, I felt like doing the same, I had done this before on my own in solitude amidst the dissertation of distant sermons, but thought I was the only one with this right hand raising ritual.


What amazed me even more, as I peaked open one eye to spy on everyone else, I saw that it was not only men that was captured and in communication with this setting Sun, I witnessed a large green bird perched high in a tall tree sitting on a branch in full attention, facing in the same direction as us all--facing the Sun.

Could this creature, a mere bird be in communication with this particular Sun? I thought.


To one of my most amazing astonishment's in visiting the forest of Jimme' was when I beheld what can only be described the time I witnessed as an expression I thought was reserved only for men. What I saw this bird do can only be described as worship; for just as the men had finished raising their hand, a green bird named "Butorides" was perched very high on branch. The bird likewise started stretching his neck and extended it out as far and as high as I had ever seen any of his kind stretch before. Butorides plumage looked absolutely grand and tuxedo-like that evening for this occasion than I had ever seen. A bird in reflection with men? Is this possible?


Images of Birds Green Heron


After full setting of the Sun, the men dispersed going their separate ways. Butorides, the green bird dressed in his Sunday's best, fell off the branch with such speed the eye's had to make quick adjustments to keep up, accelerating downward swerving right and left in lighting jitters then disappearing into the tall cattails and many leafless trees spread across the wetland.


This Sun was magnificent! I realized I had not inquired of it's name. I would later, in a most mystifying way in my encounter with the man who write's on thin air, I would discover the awesome identity of that, particular, Sun.


With such a stark difference between this particular Sun and the one back home, I began to wonder and worry about something I recall a sinister creature I encountered during my travels, the being named Ardea Alba a malevolent being who had wrapped itself in benevolent white plummage to take full advantage of the less vigilant, had boasted that his next act would be to wrap himself in light.


I began to wonder... about my... silent sun of light...our sun back home, the sun that never speaks.




— ThirdSon and the River's Sky



Nature Photography - Michigan Bird Identification

Photo Taken: Kensington Metro Park, Michigan



Name: Green Heron

Butorides Verescens


About the Green Heron


Appearance: The Green Heron is a elastic bird. At times the Green Heron is hunched in and appears short and stubby, long yellow legs, and long black beak with yellow eyes. Other times the Green Heron can stretch twicce its length. The Green Heron can swivel his head 180 degrees. Wing span can can extend to 3.5 feet.

Adult: Color is Dark forest green with aztec like designs on it's covert and wing bars plumage.

Flight Characteristics: Swift and quick wings in flight and typically flapping their wings as they jump from tree. Green Herons prefer open wooded marshes, wetlands and forests.

Mating Habits: The Great Heron start courtship as early as April, listenf for their mating skreeching calls. The Green Heron will choose one mate for the entire year.

Migration: Traveling mostly during the night, the Green Heron returns from wammer climates in early spring.

Nesting: The Green Heron will construct a nest 10-12 inches in diameter in low growing shrubs or as high as twenty feet up in trees. Incubates 3-5 pale blue eggs for appx 19-21 days. Young are feed by regergitation and independence is gained in as little as 30-35 days.

Off Spring: (Called Chicks)

Feeding: Day hunter. Small amphibians(frogs), earth worms, dragon flies and fish.

Call: Very loud and skretchee sound.



Nature Photography that is Therapy for the Soul - by Ike Austin - Michigan Bird Collection