The Great Blue Heron is Back


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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.


Lake Ontario in Wilson, NY

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.



About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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62 Responses to The Great Blue Heron is Back

  1. Debra says:

    Magnificent! Love the wading birds and the water colors. I am looking forward to seeing more.I am sure the deleted shot was great but I like the posture of photo 4. It reminds me of Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. =)

  2. 1dreamingirl says:

    Gorgeous! I just saw one in our area yesterday. Beautiful birds and great shots of them!

  3. Wonderful photographs. Getting another horrid snow storm where I am ;(

  4. lenaericsson says:

    Magical pictures!

  5. I love the Great Blue Herons, too! Didn’t know they had hollow bones. Interesting fact. We don’t have a lot of egrets in our area. Great photos.

  6. Oh, I feel so bad that you accidentally deleted your best shot! But you get so many great shots that you know you’ll get another. I can’t believe this weekend’s snow!

  7. pepaulmier says:

    Gorgeous picture.

  8. ginnietom says:

    pure nature…*chapeau*

  9. Pat says:

    That owl sure looks scary!:)
    These are great shots of a fine-looking bird, Donna.

  10. ClareSnow says:

    your shot of the heron taking off is superb with the ever so pale blue reflected. hiding himself from pesky photographers 😛

  11. i often ponder disguising myself as a piece of driftwood and floating across the river to get up close and personal to the egrets, herons,ibis and sea gulls that line the point at low tide!

    you can retrieve deleted images with a recovery program – as long as you take zero photos until you run the program. i once lost some amazing photos w/that same ‘i’m tired’ delete function, though i was viewing them on the computer straight from the chip……. i downloaded a retrieval program and reclaimed most of the lost images!


    • I did a post a while back that had a guy that floated out to photograph swans, dressed as a swan. He got great photos, but looked ridiculous. I know they can be recovered, but I figured heck with it, being such a dumb mistake on my part.

      • that’s so funny – what one will do to get a good photo!

        yes, i can understand how disgusted you must have been. every so often i’ll drop a brush that’s loaded with paint, and i think, ‘silly woman! you’ve been painting too long to have done that!’

  12. Fantastic photos. 😀

  13. Excellent Donna that you are seeing the herons. They are not flying about here yet, but I expect them soon. Spring has come even if it is a bit colder than normal. I did not know about the hollow bones. We do see nests around but I never get too close!

  14. kerlund74 says:

    A wonderful capture of the Heron. Great work!

  15. I love the great blue herons also. The ice here is finally starting to melt, so there are some areas of open water for the aquatic birds. Great pictures.

  16. Great photos as usual. We don’t see the blue herons down here. At least I’ve never seen one. Love the birds!!!! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  17. How lovely! It looks like you had a great time on your birding excursion. Beautiful photos, Donna, and what a joy to see all those migrating birds through your area!

    • This was not the birding trip yet, that is next post with the birders. Saw a Snowy. I have been going out with friends or just myself because migration is only for another month or so. Have to get a lot of travel in a short time. I am going for eagles on Thursday. Hope to see them since there are numerous nesting sites where I am going.

  18. lifelifedeathdeath says:

    Nice! That bird looks like a boss btw! 😀

  19. mariekeates says:

    Lovely photos. Like you I occasionally curse the fact there is no undelete button.

  20. Simply beautiful! You are so fortunate to live in an area that offers so many opportunities to see birds a natural habitat.

    • I have grown so tired of my backyard birds to photograph anymore. I like finding them in their natural habitats instead. It is harder to get close, but the variety is greater. Many of the songbirds don’t come to feeders either.

  21. obxcshell says:

    Beautiful pictures! Blue herons are my favorite bird. I will never forget the exhilaration I felt when one flew right over me, as it came in for a landing at the small creek I was standing next to. I’m always on the look-out for them now 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • That had to be a thrill. They mostly see me and take off. Today, I snuck up on them at the river and got close photos, but they are not as interesting as the ones at the creeks and marshes.

  22. Karen says:

    Having lived in the Florida Keys where there were many Blue Herons, I presumed they were a tropical bird. I’ll never forget how surprised I was to find them frequenting our pond here in New England when we bought our orchard in New Hampshire. Love your photos. 🙂

  23. VERY nice shot,may i ask wich lens did you use! i’d like to get telephoto zoom for my nikon D3000 , i am still looking for a a decent one one on the budget, i m thinking about 55 mm 200 mm nikon!

  24. Phil Lanoue says:

    Outstanding looks at my favorite bird all in beautiful settings! Well done.

  25. bittster says:

    Odd seeing them like that amongst all the ice. I would think they’d wait until the fishing is better! Sorry about the deleted shot. I’ve done more than my share of doh! Moments.

  26. Fabulous shots of the Heron. I just find them quite fascinating to look at.

  27. Beautiful bird. Beautiful photos.

  28. franzisofie says:

    Amazing photos! And the landscape looks good covered in snow.

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