Saturday, March 6, 2010

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

I have made my return journey to my island retreat in Cape Breton, a little early this year, and the weather has been uninspiring.  It's too cold and windy to venture out of doors, camera in hand, just yet.  So, today I am posting one of the photos I took from my front deck during last summer.

There is a small fisherman's wharf, as you can see, which has since been reconstructed and no longer has open sides!  This handsome devil found refuge while hunting a tasty treat in the shallows!

Here he is a little closer up.

Across this small harbor sits a small island, 2 km long by 500 m wide, 
which is thickly forested in spruce and fir.  
The far end of the island hosts a heron rookery, and they are daily visitors to the shores nearby.
I imagine there is more than one rookery around.  
It's nothing to see 20 or 30 heron at one time
 hunting in the shallows and mudflats during low tide.

I think the funniest moment was while gazing out across the harbor, reveling in my good fortune at being here, a small flock of herons flew in and landed in the trees.  I thought, no way can those tree branches support such a large bird as that!  They range from 42" - 52" tall!

It amazes me, too, that at night when I am sitting on my front porch admiring the stars and enjoying the calm, I'll hear a deep, harsh croak and realize there is a heron hunting in the dark right in front of me!  They  hunt day or night!  I wonder if they take turns?

I'm glad to know that the numbers of Great Blue Herons are stable
and they'll be around for us to observe and enjoy for a long time.  

I look forward to the warmer summer months when my neighbors return!

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Brooke said...

Great shots! Lovely scenery and handsome bird.

Susan said...

Thanks for referring me to your other blog Karen, you're right, I love it! What a beautiful shot, this Heron is magnificent and I'm so glad the numbers are stable too.

ksdoolittle said...

Hi, Brooke and Susan, Thanks for stopping by! Great Blue Herons are one of my favorite shorebirds! ~ks

eileeninmd said...

Great shot, I love the Gb Herons. the rookeries are a treat to watch their progress. I have seen the Herons building their nest and kind of cool to see them carrying the sticks around.

Oskar said...

That is one very big bird.

Quilt Works said...

The pier makes a perfect frame1 What a nice photo! Great composition!

Thank you for the visit and kind words :-)

lisaschaos said...

I always get a laugh when I see one in a tree too. Who knew they wouldn't fall right out, lol. Very pretty view you have there!

magiceye said...

this is so beautiful!

ksdoolittle said...

Inverness Daily Photo said...

I've awarded you a Sunshine Award. Check the details on my blog and feel free to pass it on.

ksdoolittle said...

Oh, IDP, thank you so much. A Sunshine Award on a sunshiny morning. How perfect is that! I am doubly blessed. ~ks

Kay said...

I love your photo of the GBHeron--and ESPECIALLY the one of the reflected boat. How serene.
And i agree that there is something very cool about the sound of a Great Blue Heron in the night. I leave our fishing light on all night just so I can wake up in the night, go upstairs and watch the herons and egrets fish along the river.
Thank you for the Sunshine Award--now I'll have to figure out where to pass it on!