The Great Blue Heron on the nest usually alerts when the mate is returning giving the photographer a moment or two to figure out the direction before touch down occurs.
These two showed off their finery as part of the greeting ritual.
In this case the GBH that had been on the nest wasted little time on the greeting, immediately swooping off to do her thing. It was late afternoon and she wasn’t going to have much time to feed before dark.
This Great Blue Heron was snoozing on the nest when I came along. I was happy to see that the tree is showing some life with some green needles appearing.
At one point the heron got up, stretched and ruffled himself.
When he settled back down he took a long time adjusting from side to side making me think the eggs might have hatched.
The Great Blue was keenly aware of the Great Egret encroaching on his territory. This tree, like past years, has several Great Egret nests and some of the Great Egrets aren’t paired up yet and are searching for nesting spots.
Great Blue Heron chicks have started to hatch around the rookery and Tuesday I spotted one in a high nest sticking his head up.
The first few days the adults will tear food apart and give it to their chicks. As the chicks grow, which happens pretty quickly, the adult dangles food in front of the chicks encouraging them to grab their own meal.
Either this chick couldn’t figure out how to get a bite of frog or wasn’t hungry, but after a minute or so the chick lost his chance.
It took a minute or so of concentrated effort, but the adult ate the frog in one bite.
We are at that time of year when there is a lot of Great Blue Heron activity in the swamp at the end of the day with last minute nest building, one mate returning to the nest after feeding, and new-comers looking for a spot. Unfortunately the sun has dipped below the tree line and there is very little light to capture the action.
So silhouettes are an interesting option. I particularly like this next one with the heron’s foot flexed.
This heron settled down, probably wondering where to spend the night. Not all of the singles are paired with a mate yet with a nest to return to.
The Great Blue Herons are the most affectionate of the wading birds I have observed as they prepare for having a family. They often take time to nuzzle, bird-style, between nest material gathering runs.