Several of us were sitting on our patio having lunch when a blue heron sailed over the vineyard before coming to rest in the Tablas Creek wetlands that border Adelaida road, just downhill from our entrance. I got one decent shot (right) before I scared it off by getting too close.
The growth we've seen in the wetlands this year has been extraordinary. We installed them three years ago in response to a California mandate that wineries treat the water they use before releasing it into a septic system. For the first two years we struggled to get the appropriate flow of water (which varies enormously based on the time of year and peaks during harvest) through the system. But, we've made ongoing adjustments and in the last year the growth of the willow trees, irises, reeds, cattails and other water-loving plants in and around the wetlands make them look entirely different than they did in 2006.
And the arrival of a water-loving bird like the great blue heron is just one more indication that this solution to winery waste-water treatment, which we chose because it was friendly to the environment, has been a success.