The Great Blue Heron is among the most regular of the birds I see along the Monocacy. Regular, but not common. The birds are tall, elegant and brilliantly marked and feathered. Their size still takes me by surprise, especially when I’ve startled them into flight and they appear suddenly beside me, strikingly prehistoric looking. In them, I can see the relationship between birds and dinosaurs. Just look at these heron footprints I found a few days ago, and for comparison’s sake, imagine your handprints in the mud alongside them. Those footprints are bigger.
Unfortunately, I’ve encountered one of these fabulous birds caught in fishing line that had gotten tangled in a tree. It was, understandably, upset and not a little intimidating. But, fortunately for the bird (and, for me, who would’ve been plagued by guilt), a daring man decided to stop, hazard his own skin, and cut it free. Fishing line (as seen in the photo above, attached to the interior of a beer can) is another thing that I find quite regularly along the Monocacy. During the summer, the river is a popular destination for fishermen (and women, not that I’ve had any luck, which is another story) to dip their rods in the murky water. Often they leave behind the styrofoam cups that held their bait and the cans, bottles and wrappers from their picnic lunches. Those bits of trash are annoying, but the fishing line is dangerous.
The good news is that it’s a piece of trash I don’t have to pick up and take home with me. The city of Frederick has set up little stations to recycle the line at most locations where fishing is a usual pastime. That includes parks along the Monocacy, including Riverside Park under the Monocacy Avenue Bridge, which is the most accessible in the city.