Category Archives: Wading Birds

Great Blue Heron in the Skinny Tree

I call it the “skinny tree” because there isn’t much to it. It is not completely dead, but not far from it. I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of various birds in this tree, which sits in water about 60 feet / 20 meters (as measured using Google Maps) from the edge of the pond.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

As mating and nesting season has gotten under way last year’s nest, which was used by a Great Blue Heron family and the one below it used by Great Egrets, are completely gone.

This week I’ve seen a couple of Great Blues come to this spot and steal a few loose twigs left behind after late summer storms took the rest.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

If there is going to be a nest here this season there is a lot of work to be done. This Heron may be holding the spot while her mate is off finding foundation branches or she may be surveying the pond for a better potential home. We are about to have some cooler weather with the next ten nights going below freezing. This might put a damper on the whole nesting business.

View a GBH in a complete nest on this spot from February, 2017

View a GBH Chick in the nest on this spot from June, 2017

Great Blue Heron Long Approach

They can turn on a dime in flight but Great Blue Herons more often fly in graceful arcs, lining up with their landing target well in advance of the actual touch down.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

I’ve often thought that they might just enjoy the flight as they cruise over the pond. It looks almost effortless.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Banking just a little to avoid a nearby island.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

A perfect landing. Well, there was a face full of branches but the herons just ignore those.

Great Blue Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.

Great Blue Heron Showing Off

This Great Blue Herons was putting her all into vocalizing and showing off her plumes as nesting season has begun. She has claimed one of the most prized nesting trees so I doubt she’ll be alone for long.

Great Blue Heron Posturing
Great Blue Heron Posturing – click for larger view

Last season’s nest on this spot was completely removed by various storms so she and her mate will have a lot of work to do.

Heron Nest Building Begins

Part of the ritual of selecting a mate and getting the nest ready for Great Blue Herons includes the male bringing sticks. This one found a mighty stick but had trouble figuring out how to get it into the nest.

Great Blue Heron with Stick
Great Blue Heron with Stick

He sat a few moments balancing with the stick on dead limb and then took off for another loop around the island.

Great Blue Heron with Stick
Great Blue Heron with Stick

He came in from much higher and a steeper angle.

Great Blue Heron with Stick
Great Blue Heron with Stick

Dropping in from above with much more grace than you might think possible he made a successfully delivery.

Great Blue Heron with Stick
Great Blue Heron bringing stick to nest

Great Blue Herons Are Back

A small number of Great Blue Herons have returned to our area and started working on finding a mate and a nest, not necessarily in that order. The view-able nests from last year are reduced to just a few twigs and are going to require a lot of nestoration to make them able to hold eggs.

Nesting Tree
Nesting Tree and Island, with at least eight Great Blue Herons

Below is the long side of the pond to the left of the scene above. This afternoon the light was ideal and the water was still for a reflection shot. We’ll be returning here often to photograph the Great Blues work on their homes and families.

Trees Reflecting in the Pond
Trees Reflecting in the Pond

This is about three weeks before we saw this same activity last winter. It seems early and hopefully the coming January cold will not push the herons to abandon their nests.

Little Blue Heron Studying

This Little Blue Heron was very intent on looking in the water for food along the edge of the canal. He had a small white patch on his chest that stands out like a badge, likely the final remnant of his juvenile coloration.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Waiting and watching, the Little Blues are a study in patience.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

He probed the water a couple of times but I didn’t see him catch anything.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

After awhile he moved a little deeper into the water. He eventually turned his back on me and I moved on.

Little Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron

Tricolored Heron Looking Around

Making a noisy production of it, this Tricolored Heron flew past me  up the canal.  I saw where he landed but the pathway along this part of the old rice field is lined with a lot of trees so I didn’t expect to see him close up. I got a peeking view of him through some branches, expecting him to fly off any moment as they tend to be skittish.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron

He stayed put even when I passed by to another vantage point that included his gorgeous reflection and more of the fallen tree that he perched on.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron with Reflection

He continued to stay put as I moved on and rounded the corner for yet another view that included some fall color.

Tricolored Heron
Tricolored Heron in fall landscape

Click any photo for larger view.

Late Season Spoonbills

We hadn’t seen any Roseate Spoonbills in weeks and suspected they had migrated south. What a delightful surprise to see a flock of about thirty when we visited the the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center on November 30th. This spot is slightly north of where we usually see the Spoonbills.

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight
Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

Our viewing spot wasn’t that great and this property limits the number of visitors so the birds have little or no acclimation to humans.

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight
Roseate Spoonbill in Flight

Still, it was Spoonbills. There were some Woodstorks in the same group but they flew off in the other direction.

Roseate Spoonbills in FlightRoseate Spoonbills in Flight

The Spoonbills did give a short show looping around while they decided on their destination.

Roseate Spoonbills in Flight
Roseate Spoonbills in Flight

Click on any photo for larger view.