Great Blue Herons in Love

January 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm (Birds- Florida, fine art photography, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , )

Great Blue Herons in Love

Great Blue Herons in Love

If I hadn’t met Maria, a Jacksonville photographer, while photographing the Snowy Owl on New Year’s Eve, I would not have known about this marvelous birding spot – the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera  (a.k.a. Viera Wetlands) near Melbourne, Florida.  The stars of the show right now are the great blue herons which have made small rookeries on top of waterlogged palm trees.

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One cluster of four nests was particularly photogenic, especially in late afternoon and early evening light.  The females stayed on the nest while the males fetched the sticks and stalks.

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Well, presumably that was the gender role assignment.  One nest already had a chick, which could be heard when the parent stood up, but was too small to be seen.  This couple was still in the mating/courting stage, and it was sweet to watch.

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The female would stretch her neck and “grok” when her mate approached with building materials.  She skillfully wove the sticks into a sturdy platform as they stood side-by-side.  At some point, the male would fly into the grass and take his sweet time finding just the right stick or stalk, and then fly back to his sweetie with her attendant fanfare.

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There was a “flock” of photographers lined up along the road, but the male would often land quite close to them and his stare seemed to say “this is MY patch of stalks – scram!”

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They took a break from housekeeping to make sure there would be little ones to raise in their penthouse.

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Sometimes the male stole from the unattended nest next door!  (Video to come…)  The take-offs and landings were always magnificent.  I can’t wait to visit over the next several months to see them raise their chicks.

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Three nests at sunset

Three nests at sunset

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share

Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug

Original hand-painted BW photographs for sale:  Etsy

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3 Comments

  1. Pat said,

    These are great, Cindy. There is a rookery in Venice Florida that I have been thinking I want to visit again. Thanks for the motivation.

  2. joannie6535 said,

    Great photos. Nice to be able to get shots of a rookery.

  3. Jim Treadway said,

    Reblogged this on Nothing But Birds.

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