We have welcomed this winged guest since the winter was bidding us adieu. Like many other birds around here, the big feathery fellow enjoys the abundance of trees, water, and of course food provided by nature. The name humans give him is Openbill, which is anatomically apt. Here, we call him Snail-Snatcher. At noon, this creature soars above the fields and scans for a pond filled with fat snails. Somehow this one, in particular, has been his favorite.
He bothers no one and no one bothers him. With legs as thin as a needle, he treads the green edge of the pond, leering at the next meal under the emerald water. One after the other, he pulls out a snail with his long bill that never seems to be completely shut. Soon enough, the empty mollusk shells pile up along the bank, scattered across the garden. The dogs, perhaps, fearful of his size, or pleased by his graceful stride, decides to leave Snail-Snatcher alone.
At dawn, his wings finally flutter, taking off towards one of the flames of the forest that line the hotel. Sitting on a branch, his silhouette is visible from across the field.