Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wild Wednesday, Blue Heron Nests

Last year (March 16th to be exact) I was on my way to our gym when I saw these large black masses in a tree a ways away. I thought maybe a group of turkey vultures had landed and were waiting to swoop down on something dead, but I was too far away to be sure. So I detoured from the gym (it isn't hard to do...ahem...) and followed the backroads catching a glance through the trees now and again to make sure they were still there. As I drove and drove it became more and more strange that the "Turkey Vultures" weren't moving. When I finally came upon what I had seen it was a breath taking site.
The road opened to a swamp where long since drowned trees stood naked and bare. In the trees were clutches of giant nests.
Intrigued... I skipped the gym (...ahem) and went straight home to look up what these nests belong to. I had seen Eagles nests up north but they were bult of large sticks/small logs and were more flat and solitary, and Eagles aren't exactly common this far south. I'd seen hawks nests as well, and they were always solitary also. The weird thing about these nests, were that there were so many of them together.
Turkey Vultures were my next guess because they always seem to be flying in groups, so maybe they nested in groups, but afer some research I found that Vultures nest in caves, burrowed trees that have fallen or, if you read the May 12th, 2010 post, in the attic of old barns. I also considered Sandhill cranes because it was a swampy area, but they also nest on the ground. Finally I found that this was a clutch of Great Blue Heron nests. I went back the next day and in coincidence, the Great Blue Herons had arrived from their migration trip. It was amazing! I lost count at 22 birds, swooping and casting magnificent shadows across the ground. I read on the internet that the nests are around 3 feet wide and that both parents help in raising young.
The photos of the Great Blue Heron standing in the pond with Lilly Pads and the one Flying were taken on a kayaking trip with my faminly on the Huron River. All pictures that appear on Iron Oak Farm's blog are taken by Jennifer or Zach Sartell (unless otherwise noted) and are for sale.
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