Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer visitor

Great Blue Herons are a regular visitor to Roundtop’s ponds. I can’t call them common visitors, though sometimes that is true, and it can also be true in certain months. Sometimes I think one adds Roundtop to its regular route and shows up daily for a few months. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, and I don’t see them for several months.

This year I’ve only seen them a time or two. This one showed up for the first time last evening, so it’s too soon to know if this one will become a regular visitor or just a one-time occurrence. These birds look especially big and clunky when they are standing out on dry land, which doesn’t happen all that often. Usually they are up to their knees in water, skulking around cattails or other tall reeds. They look clunky enough even then, but that’s nothing compared to how they look out of the water.

The birds are at least 3 feet tall, often 4 feet tall, and have a 5-6ft. wingspan. Despite their huge size, like most birds they don’t weigh much—under 5 lbs. They are pretty wary birds, and I’ve found it rare to get very close to them. Typically, they give a loud croak and fly off at the first sign of something near them. I was in the car when I took this photo, which helped a bit, though this bird didn’t hang around very long even so. Even a brief visit adds a bit of drama to the day. Something this large brings its own drama even if it doesn't do much.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I was out earlier today trying to take a photo of a heron wading downstream from the cottage. It was fishing in the same spot yesterday. Yesterday, it tolerated my intrusion (to about a hundred feet away) but the lens I had was too short for a good close-up. Today, long lens now on the camera, I couldn't make it off the deck before it squawked and flew. Go figure. Herons are fussy.

But you're right about how ungainly they look on land. Here, of course, they're usually in the water. Yet every so often one will stalk along the bank, or even decided to amble up and across the narrow island to the water on the other side. Now that looks really weird—a blue heron walking through a sycamore woods.

Cathy said...

Lucky you!! What big bird that is too!

I also posted a youtube video of the tornado on my blog

Pablo said...

I've found when I'm just floating around my lake with only my head above water that I can approach wildlife more closely. Deer at the water's edge must think I'm just a funny looking log. I got relatively close to a heron this way too.

phylliso said...

What an awesome sight!phylliso

am said...


I've seen lots of Great Blue Herons but always with their feet in the water, which makes them appear shorter. Wonderful to see this one walking with clunky elegance on closely cropped grass.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Blue Herons seem unusually spooky to me. Most other birds aren't quite so quick to flee.

Cathy: thanks for the note about the tornado--glad you were safe from that one.

Pablo: I don't think I would have gotten so close to this one if I hadn't been in the car.

Phyliso: it was back yesterday, too.

am: It isn't common to see them out of the water--at least not for me! That's why I took the photo of this one, walking in the grass.