Little Blue Herons Nesting

Here is another series of shots at the rookery on Lake Martin. Unfortunately, the distance from most nests in the rookery to the closest possible land-based observation point (the lake shore along Rookery Road) is bit too far for my 100-400mm lens. We’ve noticed for the last two years, however, that Little Blue Herons usually seem to nest closer to Rookery Road than the other nesting birds, i.e., Roseate Spoonbills, Great Herons, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, etc. Nevertheless, even their images in this post are highly cropped.

My resident birder Donnette tells me that when nesting, the female Little Blue Heron stays on the nest while the male gathers nesting material. Thus, I assume the Little Blue Heron in the photo below is a female. Notice she has a twig in her bill, apparently about to place it in just the right spot in the nest. (In this image and some of the others, you may notice the light blue-green egg if you look between the nest twigs in front of the female’s legs. Clicking the images for larger versions will help.)

Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Mama adding twig to nest

As I was observing this heron, something attracted her attention and caused her to stand straight up .


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Brought to attention

It was the male coming in for a landing.


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/500 sec, ISO200)
Papa arriving

Although I expected to see an exchange of nesting material between the two, I didn’t observe that in this encounter. After the male folded his wings, I could see that the female had caught a small branch of the tree in her bill, as shown in the next photo. Could this have fouled up her reception of a twig or other material from the male? (Incidentally, the egg seems to me a little more exposed in the next three images.)


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Mama caught up in tree branch

The two herons stayed together for a little over a minute, posing for the camera.


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Posing separately …


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
… and together

Then the male decided to leave,


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Papa leaving

but on the way out, he seemed to pause to check out the female in the next nest.


Canon EOS 7D (400mm, f/8, 1/640 sec, ISO200)
Distracted by another female?

Unfortunately, I have no shots of the further adventures of this male Little Blue Heron.


The location from which these photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.

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