Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Sign of Spring

One of the first signs of spring here each year is the return of the herons to the rookery in the North Mississippi Regional Park. They usually start to arrive around St Patrick's Day so I headed over on March 19th. The rookery is located on a small island in the Mississippi. The park, where I shoot from, is located on the west bank of the river. Since the river is not very wide at this point distance is not much of a problem.
Even though the rookery is not very far it is still difficult to get an unobstructed photograph of the herons on the nest, because of all of the tree branches. So the best time to get a pic is when they are flying to or from the rookery.
As part of their mating rituals the males will go out and search for branches to bring back to the females for nest improvement. So on sunny days it is possible to sit on the shore of the Mississippi and watch these large birds fly over head carrying sticks of all sizes.
When they arrive at the nest with a stick their is a intricate ritual where the male passes the stick to the female from beak to beak. She will then take the stick and work it into the nest. This helps to replace nesting material that is lost over the long winter. I hope this year to get a chance to photograph some of the chicks but unfortunately the rookery becomes much more difficult to see once the trees begin to leaf out.


11 comments:

KaHolly said...

There is a heron rookery on the little island in front of my summer home, but it is tucked into the end of the island and hardly visible. I've enjoyed this post, showing me what I miss!

jocodeane said...

How does she react if she doesn't approve?
Throw it overboard and tell him off :-)maybe.
Must be fascinating to be able to observe this.

Sylvia K said...

Terrific captures as always!! Love watching the two of them as they re-do the nest! Delightful! Have a wonderful week!

Sylvia

Staceemaree said...

One of my favorite birds. I was once lucky enough to see a heron nest, with babies! So, do they return to the same nest each year?

kris... said...

I came across a bunch of these last year, they were awesome! Great captures.

Teresa said...

Those pictures are amazing! That would be such a great experience to see them working on their nest.

Joyful said...

Wow! You've captured some wonderful shots of the heron.

Stewart M said...

Used to visit a heronry back in the UK - one of the smellier places I knew of! Is yours the same? Great pictures.

Stewart M - Australia

Ai KaiRui Liu said...

lovely creatures...visiting from My World...
followed you hope you'll follow back

mine's here:
http://kc2009.blogspot.com/2011/03/mag-aso-getaway.html

Rose Lefebvre said...

I love the one where it looks like the heron is dancing in the sky!

laurie said...

these are terrific pictures!
do you happen to know where the herons who visit como lake every morning roost? is there a rookery at phalen, maybe? (though they appear to be flying in from the west---the mississippi river?)