Featured in New Jersey the Garden State, 2-Nov-2014
Top Ten in the Shadows / silhouette in vivid colors Challenge, 10th place, July 2014
taken at Grover Cleveland Park, Caldwell NJ USA, sunset
One of my very favorite birds is the Great Blue Heron. They are so graceful and LARGE. I honestly was unaware of what they were or looked like until only about 6 years ago. My mother and sister were always interested in them and thrilled when they saw them. it was not until I saw one myself when driving to church one Sunday that I too became awed by them. They are a rare sight in New Jersey, so when you see one you are definitely impressed and don’t forget.
I have been most fortunate to have been able to photograph some since one showed up at a park near my parent’s house a few years ago, and then a few showed up on the river I live by, which was really a first and unusual sight. Just 2 days ago when driving in FEBRUARY down the road to our neighborhood, my daughters and I saw one flying above us and we were so excited!
The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a large wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America as well as the Caribbean and the Galápagos Islands. It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England and the Netherlands.
The Great Blue Heron is found throughout most of North America, as far north as Alaska and the southern Canadian provinces. The range extends south through Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean to South America. Birds east of the Rocky Mountains in the northern part of their range are migratory and winter in Central America or northern South America. From the southern United States southwards, and on the Pacific coast, they are year-round residents.3 However their hardiness is such that individuals often remain through cold northern winters, as well, so long as fish-bearing waters remain unfrozen (which may be the case only in flowing water such as streams, creeks and rivers).
The Great Blue Heron can adapt to almost any wetland habitat in its range. They may be found in numbers in fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines. They are quite adaptable and may be seen in heavily developed areas as long as they hold bodies of water bearing fish. Great Blue Herons rarely venture far from bodies of water but are occasionally seen flying over upland areas. They usually nest in trees or bushes near water’s edge, often on island (which minimizes the potential for predation) or partially isolated spots.
Although Wikipedia states that these birds are found and common in North America – let me tell you they are NOT a common bird to see in my area at all. I lived almost 55 years without ever seeing one – so there you go….
This is dedicated to the beautiful bird the Great Blue Heron, and also to my mother who loved them so much and my sister who still loves them and I now share my thrill and interest in them with.