Breeding Great Blue Herons

What a busy time it has been. It has been 3 weeks since I’ve had a spare moment to write a new post. Most of that time has been spent working so that I can afford my photography, but my free hours have spent taking photos. I have thousands of unprocessed images to go through, and that’s a good thing. The action here in Florida has been fantastic, so instead of sitting behind the computer, I have been out enjoying some incredible January weather and filling cards full of images.

I have had the opportunity to visit the Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida twice in the last month. While the overall opportunities are not as good in winters past (there are less ducks wintering at Viera this year), the opportunities to work with the Great Blue Herons has been excellent! There are 5 or 6 pairs of Great Blues building nests on the tops of the palm trees just off the dikes that separate the cells at the wetlands. I have had some great opportunities to watch them bringing in sticks to build the nest, courtship displays and mating. Soon we will have some hungry chicks on the nests that will increase the photography opportunities.

The male of this pair was having an easy day of it. He was stealing sticks from an unattended nest nearby. Click an image to view larger.

Bringing Home the Lumber

After bringing home the lumber, the female would take it and place it in just the right spot in the nest.

I'll Take That!

Of course, some of the sticks were a little too large to be handled in close quarters.

Let Go!!! Please!!!

After bringing home a stick, the male and female would do a little courtship display. You can imagine her expressing her gratitude at bringing home such a fine addition to the home.

Love Is In The Air

If all goes well with the nest building, then we must make something to put in the nest. I found it interesting how the male pushes the females head down with his beak.

Propagating The Species

At the end of the day, I found one of the pair standing watch over the nest to keep interlopers at bay while his/her mate was off to find some dinner.

Standing Watch

On this day, I spent the entire day from sunrise to sunset at Viera. That was a rare opportunity to spend that much time at a location. I really enjoyed the day and look forward to my next visit.