Photographs by Frank

10 April 2011

Nesting Geese and the Return of the Great Blue Heron – Signs of Spring

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:15 PM

Although the main part of Gregg Lake is still frozen, the area around the bridge has been thawing slowly for the past few weeks. The shallow, swampy part to the north of the road is now completely ice free.

For at least a couple of weeks now, there have been a number of pairs of hooded mergansers feeding at the ice’s edge.  The mergansers won’t nest here. They are just passing thorough on their way to breeding grounds in Canada.

This morning, I headed down to the bridge with camera, tripod and long lens to see if I could photograph the mergansers. Two pairs were around but the warm weather had pushed the ice back far enough that they were too far away for good photographs; they were pretty much back lit as well.

Instead, I turned my attention to a pair of Canada geese on the other side of the road. I had noticed them in pretty much the same spot for the past few days and assume that they are nesting there. The light was pretty good and I got a few nice shots.

I was about to leave when I noticed a great blue heron, the first of this year). She (he?) was some distance back… certainly too far away for good photographs. However, I decided to stay put and see what developed. (My  friend, Joe Kennedy, says that one’s “patience filter” is the most important piece of equipment a photographer has!)

My luck was good and after about forty minutes the heron flew right over to, and just behind, the geese. He (she?) waded around in front of the geese and started hunting along the shore. Another twenty or so minutes later,  the heron landed a large fish! After swallowing the prey, he made a U-turn and began prowling the same stretch of shore again.

The heron took off a few minutes later when another fellow intent on fishing off the bridge drove up and got out of his truck. I took a cue from the heron and headed back home for a second cup of coffee… it was almost 1o AM and the light was getting harsh anyway.

Here are the morning’s photos:

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