I was about to take a picture of the cormorant who evidently often lingers on the log in the park pond. I was swarmed by grade 4s from the nearby school, out for a nature ramble with their coffee-toting teachers. They stopped and looked at the bird. "Sorry," said one of the teachers. She meant sorry about the kids getting my way.
I said it was okay. I asked her to ask the kids what kind of bird it was. She looked at me as if it were a brilliantly crazy idea. "What kind of bird is that, children?" "A heron," someone said. "That's right, it's a heron." And the ramble recommenced. "It's not a heron!" I yelled. They stopped. "It's not?" "No, it's a cormorant." Same teacher: "Is that a kind of heron?" Me: "No."
A little blond-haired, blue-eyed fella, my nine-year-old doppelganger, piped up. "Herons are bigger and have a bigger beak and way longer legs. The cormorant has legs like a duck." The teacher looked at the boy fondly. "Our resident expert."
Then, as they rambled on, the cormorant did this. I almost yelled, "Herons also don't do that!" but it was too late.
Had it been a heron and I asked them what it was, you know what the answer would have been.
It's a crane!