Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great Blue Heron among Egrets

Ever since I was a child in Scotland I have had a particular love of Herons- in this case, the Grey Herons, which I used to call "Gong-Sticks" owing to the fact that when they flew their long legs were stretched out behind them, their feet forming a knob similar to that on the stick used on my grandfather's gong to summon us to meals!

Here in Southern California we have the Great Blue Heron, an enormous bird, nearly 4' in length and with a 6' wing span. Although they are not rare I always get a shock of pleasure when I see one. This happened last Sunday when I revisited the Malibu Country Mart to check out on the progress of the Great Egret's nests there. I waited under the Egret's Ficus tree for several hours, but there was not a lot of action. The birds are still patiently sitting on the three nests but there is no sign of nestlings yet. Their partners were not much in evidence, although a couple of birds received fleeting visits, with offerings of sticks. I will show more of the Egret images in another post.

The day had started out hot and sunny but later a sea mist blew in so I decided to visit the Pelicans on the Malibu Lagoon, on the other side of the Pacific Coast Highway. It was quite spooky seeing them swathed in fog.

From the Lagoon you can see the top of the Egret's Ficus tree and on my return I automatically examined it to see what the Egrets were doing. To my surprize, perched on top of the tree between the Egret's nests was a tall, grey shape. Happily this proved to be a Great Blue Heron- which is of the same family. He (or she) was having an enjoyable time, preening himself endlessly, standing on one leg or two, and exercising his neck! Having taken countless photos of him from a distance, I went back to my Egret post beneath the tree, where I managed to get some good views of the Heron. Strangely, just when I had a great photo opportunity, passers by would call out "Mam, you'll get a much better view from HERE"!...but they were trying to be helpful...


Stone Art said...

Nice shots, they are lovely birds. (so long you dont have a fish pond)


Yes, once in the UK I had a neighbour who had a fish pond that a Grey Heron frequented!