Herons

March 23, 2007 at 3:37 pm 1 comment

When I got home from work yesterday, before I unpinned my blocked granny squares, I grabbed my Nikon Coolpix 5400 and headed out to the backyard to shoot photos of the herons. Let me tell you about our herons.

Our yard is not very deep but is quite wide. Behind our yard are nothing but trees and two creeks. Its very thick and overgrown and is our own slice of “wilderness”.

my house

One day last summer I was hanging out on our deck with the dogs when I heard what sounded like a dog bark coming from across the creek. The dogs and I walked down there to see what was going on. Just at the moment we reached the chain link fence that marks photo by Mike Baird the edge of our property, a huge winged creature flew up to the treetops.

photo by Greg7We (the dogs and I) looked in the direction that the big bird flew and saw two more big birds and a nest. Well, birdwatching, specifically great blue heron watching, became another activity that got added to my already overcrowded schedule. If only I were independently wealthy and didn’t have to devote so much time to making money and securing health insurance…

Everyday I came home from work and grabbed the binoculars to check on the birds. Thanks to the Internet and Smithsonian magazine, I was able to identify the big birds and learned quite a bit about the mating, birthing, nesting and eating habits of great blue herons. I suspected that there were eggs in the nest and I was rewarded with the eventual sighting of three chicks. I watched them grow up. Somehow, one disappeared. Survival of the fittest. The other two grew quite quickly. Parental visits I viewed around dusk daily. The kids slowly found their wings and started walking out of the nest onto the surrounding branches. It was fascinating. I saw them one weekend afternoon doing a little bird wrestling. Just as human siblings will, they were picking at each other. One opened its beak and grabbed the other’s beak, holding it shut with his own beak. It was pretty amusing.

The bigger those two got, the more they were actually flying away from the nest for longer periods. Their parents eventually quit coming to feed them and they were on their own. They’d be gone all day but would return at dusk each day. A few times one of them buzzed me, flying quite low and perching on our garage. Very cool. I was sad to see them leave for the winter.

According to what I’ve read, great blue herons always return to the same nest and begging elaborate mating rituals in mid to late March. Which brings us to today’s post. I began looking for them on Tuesday, March 20 and saw what I thought were young great blue herons on Wednesday, March 21. For two evenings, using binoculars, I studied the four birds I spotted in and near the nest. They all have bright yellow feathers across their foreheads. Googled for heron pics, to me they still appeared to be of the heron family, and I discovered that they are photo by oboobieyellow crowned night herons. Whether the great blues will return or not I’m still watching and waiting.

These pics I’ve posted here are from some great photographers who’ve posted on Flickr. My little Nikon doesn’t do that great of a job with zooming. I’ll share a couple of images I shot last night of two of the herons in the nest. It looked like some mating action was occurring, I’ll have to do further research. Please forgive the lousy quality of the pics, I’m trying to find a used telephoto lens that will work with my camera to improve the yellow crown night heron 06sharpness and detail of my shots. In the meantime, I plan on keeping my binoculars pointed towards the nest every evening.

By the way, the blocking of my granny squares turned out fabulous. I’ll snap some pics of the after and we’ll compare. Till then, keep looking up, you never know what you’ll see flying by. yellow crown night heron 07

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Entry filed under: critters.

Grannies Frank’s Video

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me

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http://pattihaskins.com

I crochet, sew, draw, paint, paper mache, embroider, shoot photos, play piano, sing and have a graphic artist full time job. But not all at the same time.
Headquartered in Dallas, TX.

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