Friday, 5 August 2011

2nd Marsh - Great Blue Herons - August 4th, 2011

What with the hot weather and other things to do I hadn't made it to the marsh for a while so I was due for a visit.

Mid-summer is a quiet time for flowers... and much of nature I think. There wasn't much change since my last visit. I only spotted one new flower and many plants have lost their luster and others are shriveling or dying.

Though there wasn't much new in the plant world at the marsh, the bird life more than made up for that today. I saw about 25 Great Blue Herons, a Goldfinch that was close enough for a shot and a Kingfisher.

Mother Nature gives up her land very reluctantly and where she can, she reclaims it. This is the boardwalk at the Beaver Pond.

Fungus on a board that was once part of the boardwalk but is now on the forest floor.

This is the new kid on the block. An unusual blossom and sawtooth-edged leaves.
From John Foster:
It's Himalayan Balsam. It's the invasive cousin from Asia
of the Jewelweed. Himalayan Balsam and Jewelweed are both Impatiens. When the seed pods of these plants are ripe, a single touch causes the seed pod to explode, thus dispersing the seed and hence the name "Touch-Me-Not". Thanks John.

I like nature's scraggly flowers too. This is a blossom on a Red-Seeded Dandelion.

There are 1000s of Queen Anne's Lace in bloom at the marsh now. Many of them are forming the "bird's nests" that they're known for.

I seldom get close enough to song birds for a good shot. Today was an exception with this male Goldfinch.

Not much of a shot but the Monarchs are out & about.

With all my visits to the marsh in the last few months, I was hoping, almost expecting, to see a heron since I've seen several there over the years. But nary a one. 

Then today, not even thinking about them, completely unexpectedly, I saw about 25 or so. So often the way with nature. The first 5 or 6 were in some tall Willow trees, about 20 or 30 ft off the ground. I'd never seen them in trees personally. Any I've seen were fishing in ponds or lakes or along a creek or river bank. They left the trees one at a time so I thought every one was the "last one". My powers of observation aren't as good as I wish they were. I didn't get any shots of them that were worth keeping.

Then as I walked down the berm towards the lake, 3 or 4 more flew up from the channel but again no shots to keep. They're smart enough to fly low and behind trees when they hear an intruder. And with the cattails all along the water's edge they were impossible to spot before they were airborne and a good distance away.

A bit later I did hear some of them with their characteristic squawking but there are only a couple spots where you can see past the cattails. These ones were further down the berm in the bay.

Then a little further down where I could get a better view of the bay, I saw a colony of them, sharing the "raft" in the bay with some Mallards and Cormorants.

I was about 150 yards away and trying to be quiet but I think they still felt I was too close so they took to the air... away from me of course so no easy shots to be had.

A few turned in the air not too far from me so I was able to get a few so-so shots.

A flight of Canada Geese joined the party, honking all the way in.

It was time to head back to the car. There are still a few Field Bindweed along the berm.

A Black Swallowtail butterfly enjoying a thistle blossom, its wings fluttering constantly.

And a Kingfisher close enough for a shot... but even closer would have been a lot better. :-)

So much of what we see in nature is by luck or by chance... being in the right place at the right time. A minute or two (or even seconds) earlier or later and you miss it.

Today I was lucky. Will I ever see as many herons at one time again? Maybe yes, maybe no. That's why I keep going out with my camera. You never know.

But even if I don't see anything special, I love being out in nature. Maybe not all of the "best things in life" are free, but some of them are. :-)

The Friends of Second Marsh web site... 

A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...
- fini -



At 5 August 2011 at 15:12 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

awesome awesome set and story today Bob, thanks for sharing. ( a


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