Click to make me bigger!!!
I love when the wading and shore birds return. Some stay in our area after they get here and others move on to other places further north. We are lucky to be so near many places migrating birds pass through or that make their homes. Both Great Lakes are very close, and the Finger Lakes are an hour and a half to two and a half to our East. Below is icy Lake Ontario (3-26-14) and in upcoming posts you will see more of both birds and nature areas from around our region. The birders have all the prime spots scoped out, now if they could only do something about all this ice and cold weather!
Still an icy coast edge to the Lakes and Niagara River, but temperatures are headed up – I hope soon. Our birding group with the Buffalo Ornithological Society met on Saturday for a bird watching tour. During that tour, we saw a number of Great Blue Herons fly overhead. None in this post were shot on that trip, but a few days before on Thursday. I did have a thrill of seeing a Snowy Owl and a few birds I have not seen yet this year. You will see them up next.
The heron above, is one of a pair feeding in a stream running through a wetland. We have a number of wetlands in our area in addition to the rivers and lakes.
Below the heron is one of a pair looking to nest along the river. Funny story on the image below, well the image I HAD that was really nice. When I take photos, I often check them in camera after I get back to my Jeep. I sometimes, but not always, delete those that are blurry or not a nice enough image. I was so darn excited that I got this really nice photo of the heron below without all the detracting branches.
The heron, curious, started walking towards me which never happens. Past all the branches and striking a nice pose, I snapped the photo. When admiring how nice it came out, in my exhilaration, I hit the delete button rather than the advance button to move on to the next image. Bummer, it was gone. So, the one below was the one with which I was left. Oh well, live and learn.
The Great Blue Heron is one of my favorite wading birds along with the Egrets soon to follow. They are big birds at four feet tall and wings stretching to six feet. They are easy to find too, coming early in our area. Did you know as big as they are, they don’t weigh more than six pounds? They have hollow bones to lighten their load.
This is the mate of the river nesting heron that took flight. I guess I scared it off on my approach from the creaky boat dock. The other one stayed put but was in dense fallen tree limbs. This spot was impossible to get closer since it was all rock cliff-like along the shore. Plus it was private property.
The herons nest in trees but also on the ground in stick nests. I thought the two above were making a nest along the shore, but I think they were discouraged by the property owner. This is his dock below, twenty feet away from where the heron pair was located. I was wondering who he was fooling?
I will be looking for nests this year, but will make sure to keep my distance. These birds will defend the nest and that pointy beak can thrust fast and pierce a skull I have read. Like hawks, they are not birds with which to be too intimate. Beaks and claws can be dangerous.
You will see more Blue Herons when I visit some of the marshes in the area. They make such pretty sights, striking and elegant standing so still in the water.
I rarely get close to them and the ones in this post were pretty far away and at inaccessible locations for us bipeds. I would have had to do a lot of hard climbing, flying or swimming. No chance on that either.