Monday, February 27, 2017

Great blue heron and Ibis

A morning of watching the great blue herons and their nest

Male bringing building material

Three nests and three herons.  The breeding plumage is beautiful

 Three herons

Male taking off to fetch building materials

Male bringing a twig

Female balancing act

Ibis flight

Can visualize the wing structure

Sunday, February 26, 2017

NIctitating Membrane of a little blue heron

Normally I don't pay attention to eyes - but I was in my kayak and a little blue heron was perched near me.  I took a bunch of photos.  When I got home, I thought I had a focus problem because sometimes the eyes were dull and other times - quite clear,  I saw one where the eye was half blurred - so I did a google search on bird eye membrane - and sure enough, there was a nice group of references to the nictitating membrane.  Here are the photos:

The nictitating membrane over the eye - closes left to right

Without nictitating membrane

About 1/4 closed

Looking at me

Looking left

I think this is a yawn

Looking at me

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Feb 21, 2017: More Nest Building by Great Blue Herons

Yesterday was a bust -  good sun but watching the Great Blue Herons' nest building yielded nothing (for 2 hours).   Today I returned earlier (7:30) and though cloudy -  there was active fetch and toting construction materials by the males.  Also - it was a day of the herons - a little blue, a tricolor, little green and great blue.  Great day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Feb 18 2017 Continuation of watching the heron nest building and baby making

Its Saturday and time to take the kayak out on Walden Lake to watch the Great blue herons do their mating thing.  The surprise today was that there are two nests in the big pine tree so I was able to watch two activities in action.  Along the way was a little blue heron - here

Here is the pine tree -  a mature nest in the center and a work-in-progress nest in the lower left

Dad great blue heron dropped by to pass twigs to mom

Here is dad passing a twig to mom

And here is mom carefully placing the twig in a critical part of her nest

She is holding the twig at the end of her beak

A video of nest making activity (oh sigh - none of the videos work - probably must post to YouTube and add a link)

The dynamics of nest building

Setting moon to the left of their tree homes

The female often stretches her next and points her beak up as if to signal her husband to take off and bring in some more construction supplies. He gets the message and begins his takeoff check list

He is about ready to depart

Hmm--  some last minute instructions

A video of nest building teamwork


Watching over mom

This is the most fun part of watching the male takeoff and land without obstructions from the pine needles

Beautiful takeoff

For whatever reason he is flying into the forest

Here -  back to have a discussion with mom

The dynamics of discussion

This is the 2nd nest - a work in progress.  here she is picking pine needles and twigs

Reaching down to grab a twig

Success - a nice structural element

Another nice twig

The dynamics of harvesting and organizing her nest

The two nests

The little blue heron.  The advantage of a kayak is that these birds are not easily spooked so I can get pretty close - much closer than when I walk toward them