Tag Archives: Nesting

GBH Stick Run

A few pairs of Great Blue Herons are hard a work building nests at Ravenswood Pond. This male, identified by behavior as the female almost always stays at the nest to receive and organize the sticks, brought material from all around the pond.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

On this trip he headed to the pond edge closest to the nest, which happens to have the walking trail where I was standing.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

He swooped in under a Spanish Moss covered tree.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

December 17, 2019

GBH: Walk the Trunk Stick Selection

This Great Blue Heron landed awkwardly on a fallen tree then proceeded to examine the branches for nesting material.

Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick
Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick

I thought he might jump onto the bank where twigs were plentiful.

Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick
Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick

He thought better and continued out the tree trunk and yanked on a few well connected branches.

Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick
Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick

Maybe the higher ones will work better.

Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick
Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick

He put his long and flexible neck to good use with more yanking, but still no stick for the nest.

Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick
Great Blue Heron Looking for Stick

Great Blue Herons: Nesting Season Has Begun

Great Blue Herons have started working on nests around the pond. The best spots go early, and there were some remnants left of last season’s nest where this GBH had staked a claim.

Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering
Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering

This fellow’s “nestoration” skills are a bit rusty and he spent considerable time trying to pull live branches off the tree. The ground around the pond is littered with twigs of all sizes and shapes that would have been easier to gather.

Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering
Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering

Success!

Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering
Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering

That little twig won’t do much for the nest but he took it to his waiting mate.

Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering
Great Blue Heron Stick Gathering

Bird Rookery

The rookery islands do not rise much above sea level which is one of the reasons the Brown Pelican nests have a low success rate. Over wash from storm driven tides can and has easily wiped out whole colonies on this and other barrier islands.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery

The bird chaos was amazing with numerous species in addition to the Brown Pelicans using the island. Snowy Egrets, Tricolored Herons, and Laughing Gulls were well represented.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery

This view is the sea-ward end of the island, with the shore crowded with Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls. The island down to the low tide mark is a protected preserve.

Bird Rookery
Bird Rookery, Sign: “Island Closed – Do Not Come Ashore”

Shore access is not allowed during nesting season; these images were all taken from a boat at a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second to help compensate for the boat movement.

See my previous post Brown Pelican Chicks for a closer look at five chicks.

Squirrel Gathering Building Material

While waiting for the Prothonotary Warbler on Knee to emerge from its nest cavity I heard an odd scraping noise. This squirrel was peeling bark off a tree.

Squirrel
Squirrel with Tree Bark

He kept pulling and stuffing it in his mouth. The strands seemed very pliable, good material to welcome baby squirrels.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Hey, I’m beeing watched!

Squirrel
Squirrel

Then he balled it all up in his mouth and scooted around the other side of the tree where I lost sight of him.

Squirrel
Squirrel

Prothonotary Warbler on Knee

I returned to Beidler Forrest one morning this week hoping for another opportunity to see a Prothonotary Warbler or two. I did hear a few high in the tree tops but mostly they eluded me. The promised sun did not materialize, keeping the forest dark.

I did capture this one as it was returning to its nest, which the center staff pointed me to. The nest is down inside that Cypress knee. After a moment the adult dropped into the nest and stayed put for at least the next twenty minutes, likely laying on eggs.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

May 7, 2019.

GBH Chick Wingercizing

After checking that the danger had passed from the intruding Great Egret the Great Blue Heron chick fluffed his feathers back down to regular size.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

Then he took the opportunity to wingercize, flapping his wings in preparation for learning to fly.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

He didn’t lift off this time, but did do some single wing stretches to complete his work out.

Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing
Great Blue Heron Chick Wingercizing

Scram, Great Egret, 2

Either by instinct or from learning from a parent, this Great Blue Heron chick was defending himself from a Great Egret Intruder. This is the same nest in the Skinny Tree featured in Scram, Great Egret where the GBH adult was protecting his nest.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself

The chick made himself really big.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself

I suspect they’ve done this before and shortly the Great Egret went back to poking at sticks on the outer branches of the tree.

Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself
Great Blue Heron Chick Defending Himself