Great Blue Herons are now beginning to raise young and are molting (losing breeding feathers) so they are mostly on their nests unless hunting for a meal. They wade in shallow water in the early morning and late afternoon to catch fish, frogs, ducklings, shoreline snakes, lizards, and nearly anything else they can catch to eat.
We have a year-around population of Great Blue Herons here in The Villages, Florida. These birds nest in colonies way up in sturdy Oaks and Pines near ponds or lakes. Many are now proud parents and will be raising chicks for several more weeks. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
A Cattle Egret in Breeding Colors
Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Anhingas, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, and other large wading birds have created a rookery or nesting area in a marshy preserve on Morse Ave. in The Villages, FL above CR 466. This area is along a popular golf cart multi-modal pathway and golf carts can easily stop there in the grassy area in front of the rail fence (not automobiles). I have photographed this area once before.
I was very surprised to see the large flock of hundreds of Cattle Egrets that have nested there in the front section of the preserve. The swampy area likely is protected by both the fence and the Alligators that may be present in the shallow marsh under the shrubbery. I took these pictures in the afternoon, on April 30, 2016. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!
Great Egret in Flight
Cattle Egrets in the Roost
Cattle Egret with Nesting Materials
Nesting Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret Nest
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!
These Great Blue Heron chicks were in two adjacent nests in a huge Pine Tree located in a privately operated park near my home here in Florida. The nests, called “rookeries”, were up about 30′ in the tree. The tree is close to a man-made Koi pond where there appears also to be some Red-eared Turtles, frogs and Mosquito Fish. The Koi fish are extra-large and certain sections of the pond are protected by bird wire.
The Great Blue Heron chicks in one nest were older and almost ready to fly. The two chicks in the second nest were much younger than the other trio. There was a brief period of utter chaos when one parent fed the three chicks! Heron legs, bills, necks, wings and bodies all were twisted in a comical manner. This feeding also was accompanied by a lot of squawking! The parent herons each flew off and left the chicks. I never saw the parents of the two smaller babies. Birds often leave the offspring while hunting. I took these pictures very early yesterday evening (4-14-13), just before it started to rain a bit. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!