The Great Blue Herons in our nearby park have had chicks hatch! I was really thrilled to see the little chicks raise their fuzzy heads up out of the stick nest, so I could take some pictures. There were three chicks in one of the nests and two in the other. Both nests are very close to the Koi fish pond and gazebo.
I have taken pictures of the adult Great Blue Herons here before and have shared the photographs on this blog. The parent birds are likely the same herons who were chicks last year. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
These Great Blue Heron juveniles were sitting in three sturdy nests comprising a rookery in the upper branches of a very tall, stout, Pine Tree. The Great Blue Heron families were located next to a Koi Pond at a privately operated neighborhood park in my community. I had included photographs of these herons a few weeks ago in a post here on the blog. I decided to go and see how the chicks and their parents were doing.
I was quite surprised to see that instead of the two nests up in that tree, there were in fact, three nests! Several of the juveniles are almost adult-sized birds now and I think they spread out instead of crowding into the two nest areas. Way up in the crown of the tree is that third nest. There were two much younger chicks in that nest. One of the parent birds was standing watch from the tree next to the rookery. Herons seem to be excellent parents. This park and the nearby ranch, offers nesting areas, food, and water to these magnificent wading birds! I took these pictures on May 7, 2013. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I was out in the yard with the camera the other day and saw the Kildeer in its usual spot on the ground fairly close to the shoreline of the pond. That area has a mossy native plant ground cover as well as stubby grasses. My husband does not mow there because he noticed that the Kildeer was in the area and was nesting. I did not go anywhere near the nest but did stop a moment to take a long-lens photo. That was enough to set the bird off in its defensive “Wounded bird” act. I have included a picture of that action below as my last shot. My husband reported this morning that the bird is sitting on her nest and won’t budge, so likely the chicks are either hatched-out or nearly so this morning. I took these pictures on May 5, 2012. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photograph. Enjoy!
I am not sure whether these two Red-bellied Woodpeckers are looking for a future home and trying to peck and drill out a cavity within this Hickory Tree or if the duo is trying to store food. I have been seeing the Red-bellied Woodpeckers pecking at this particular cut-off knot in the tree’s trunk several times. Usually I have seen only a single bird. I also saw a Red-headed Woodpecker pecking on the same spot about two days before these pictures were taken. In any event, this tree seems attractive to the woodpeckers! The woodpeckers live in small cavities within trees. Sometimes the woodpeckers will enlarge a space and call it their own. Sometimes, a space is recycled from a different woodpecker or other cavity dwelling bird. The woodpeckers use that powerful beak to peck and drill out the wood to make the space large enough for whatever purpose they want. Some live and nest in the space, while some may use the hole for a food storage cache. It will be interesting to watch and see what happens. This area of the tree is way up about fifteen feet off the ground and is maybe eight feet higher than my deck. I took these pictures on June 19, 2011 on a dark stormy afternoon. I had trouble getting good pictures because of the dark skies and heavy shade. Today has started out quite stormy as was yesterday. Not the best for getting those pictures of the critters and birds here. The ducks are camped out in the yard while waiting out the rain. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
I was out on my dock having a look at my boat when I noticed that because I had accidentally left the gate door to the boat open, a hen duck apparently made herself at home. I saw a duck egg laid on a loose gathering of sticks just at the edge of where the canvas canopy covers the boat! Talk about partying ducks! I think my guest was due to lay that egg and just hopped aboard to get out of the thunderstorm that hit recently. I don’t know what kind of duck laid this egg. It likely though, was a Mallard. The Wood Ducks really prefer to lay their eggs in the cavities of trees or in nest boxes that are elevated. This egg is unlikely to hatch because I have not seen any ducks on or near my dock today other than for those just in-transit paddling by. I am sure that this is a case of lay and leave. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger photograph.
Grey Squirrels are very hard working rodents. They gather seeds, nuts, grains, fruits and roots for their meals. They are smart, inquisitive and also serve as an informal scout for the other tree dwelling creatures. When Squirrels eat, many birds also feel safe in doing the same. Grey Squirrels are athletic and have great leaping ability. They run quickly on the ground as well as in the highest thinnest tree limbs. Squirrels sometimes nest in the porch roofs or garage attics of homes where they are pests and need to be evicted humanely. Squirrels in the forest will make large nest homes of sticks and leaves. These resemble Eagle’s nests because of their size. I recently took these photos of several Grey Squirrels and what is likely a Squirrel’s Nest. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger version. Enjoy!
Possibly a Squirrel's Nest