70 Wonderful Great Blue Heron Nests
The man sat cross-legged on the sidewalk that skirted the perimeter along the water’s edge. In his lap, a pen and notebook. Pressed against his glasses, the eyepiece of an antique spyglass. Someone else might have used a modern telescope.
Herons are ancient, their ancestors appearing 40 million years ago, and so it seemed fitting for him to have an old spyglass trained on the nesting island, instead of a newfangled telescope.
He was alternately looking through the eyepiece and jotting down notes in his book when I walked around the bend. We were strangers, but curiosity got the better of me and I interrupted his writing to ask what he was looking at.
“Great blue herons. Mothers and chicks, in nests on the island. There are about 60 pairs of herons nesting on the island.”
I shyly asked if I could take a quick peek, and in the instant my own eye peered through the spyglass, an entirely new world opened up. It was stunning. I was left wordless by the first vision of an adult with a chick – the graceful curve of the adult’s neck, their golden eyes, subtly shaded grey-blue feathers, the adorable cap feathers of the fluffy chick, all of it.
And thus it deepened, my love affair with great blue herons.
For eleven years, I had lived across from the Eastern end of the waters, and from my balcony and on walks along the shoreline, I had watched the comings and goings of a stream of herons at certain times of the day. In the mornings, they headed away from the island as though on their way to work, later to return with fish for their offspring. They flew in wave after wave after wave thoughout the day.
More than 10 years had passed since that accidental sidewalk encounter, and I was curious about the number of herons still nesting on the island. I painstakingly photographed the length of the island from the only accessible vantage point, the South, in May, 2011, and captured 32 nests – remarkable since I had no access to the Northern exposure.
Out of curiosity, today I found a satellite image of the island taken exactly one month before my panorama. The herons and/or their nests stand out starkly in this next image.
By my informal count, there are at least 70 nests and/or herons visible in that satellite view. My heart leaps with joy at their numbers.
Thanks to Cheri Rowlands Lucas and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginnings. (By my count, there are more than 70 great blue heron nests on the island. That’s a whole lot of new beginnings.)
Thanks to Praire Birder Charlotte for the Feathers on Friday challenge.
Thanks to the kind folks at SkyWatch Friday.
Thanks to Ailsa for her Where’s My Backpack: Possibility challenge. (With that many nests, the island reeks with the possibilities fir new life.)
Thanks to Cee for her Fun Foto Challenge: Preoccupied prompt. (Yes, I am definitely preoccupied with this island and her herons.)
Thanks to Sue for her A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Yellow prompt. (Great Blue Herons have such amazing yellow eyes and bills!)
Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.
A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.
Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™
The Tao of Feathers™
(This photo was taken May 1, 2011.)
© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)
Great Blue Heron
Posted on January 10, 2014, in A Word A Week Photo Challenge, ardea herodias, Art, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Feathers on Friday, Great Blue Heron, Nature Photography, Photography, postaday, Skywatch Friday, Weekly Photo Challenge, Weekly Travel Themes, Wild Bird Wednesday, Wildlife Photography and tagged great blue heron, postaday. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.