Search because it has a song...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ardea Herodias

Squawking because Sparrow is on the beach...

     I took the dogs to Jericho Beach today. It's Monday so I knew it wouldn't be crowded. We walked down to the beach so I could throw sticks for Sparrow, who was already in the water - Hawksley beside me near my ankle.
He lands and watches a few tosses of chase the stick.
     We climbed over the last grassy bank to get onto the sand. I heard this guy before I saw him. A Great Blue Heron! My dad asked me if I have a picture of one in flight, so I keep trying. Today I got pretty lucky. As I said I heard him before I saw him, so I got my camera ready. He SQUAWKED a number of times, really loudly complaining that we were disturbing him. We were at least a hundred yards away - and only two other people on the entire beach! He probably thought my dogs would chase him, but they know better - besides this park is chalk full of coyotes, so if someone's dog did chase, I feel like the dog's just keeping whatever it's chasing on whatever it's chasing's toes. Most dogs are just into chasing, not catching. There's a German short haired Pointer and he just stands there, leg up like a statue- for twenty minutes at a time. It's so awesome, the first time you see it it looks a little alarming, the dog is so intently concentrating on the bunny- but then nothing happens and the bunny is just sitting there five feet from the dog, eating a discarded carrot. The Pointer- pointing.
     So I stayed there on the beach right where we were so he could either fish or fly and he chose to fly to the east of us, complaining the whole way! I thought about running a moment or two of video to share the funny sound this big guy made, but I really wanted to get the photos of the Great Blue Heron in flight, like my dad requested. Here's a good one:
Complaining loudly, he flies a few hundred yards east.
     You should be able to click on the photo to make it bigger- for a closer look. There are usually two or three of them here but it was getting warm already at 9:30AM. I noticed tracks all over the beach from dozens of different birds. They must have fished early. It rained pretty hard yesterday but the sunset sky ended with pink, so sailor's delight.
     This is the place to come if you really need to see a Great Blue Heron that day. It's a guarantee practically. I look for their feathers in a few spots and almost always find at least one. They groom in the trees above the duck pond. They fish in the pond all the time too.
     I wondered if they would eat a baby duckling and watched one fishing for frogs. I decided it probably would, and decided to stop wondering before I actually saw it happen. The Herons you see here now are the adults and offspring of the colony that roosts in Stanley Park across the inlet. If you read my previous posting, I Did Not Know That, I won't have to repeat myself here and describe the huge colony...
     We usually leave the beach area and walk towards the Blackberry brambles where the bunnies are. The berries are ripe and cover the vines. Sparrow eats them right off the vine, carefully avoiding the prickles. The pug waits for us to feed him his share. Both dogs love the berries. So do we! There are tons of birds and bunnies that fill this little area. a few weeks ago Eliza and I watched hummingbird fledglings getting flying lessons. Talk about adorable. I was unable to get any footage because it was the one and only day I didn't bring my camera on our walk.
     Lately we have been going to this awesome dog beach. It isn't over used or over run, with about a hundred and fifty yards of shallow water that even Hawksley can play in. Check out this adorable video of him looking for his ball after it sank. He was able to find it again by using his feet, he communicated to me that he had it between his back feet by looking up at me and not moving them and then slowly looking back and into the water - then slowly back up to me. I felt between his back feet and there it was! Smartie! Cutie!
     I have accumulated a number of Great Blue Heron pictures and here are a few. I hope you enjoy them. I don't mind if anyone* (*except for a company or corporation, or for profit or mass reproduction) uses my photos. (So if you are going to profit off of it or publish it please ask me first.) I don't watermark them. I would like the credit for taking them, and would love to hear how and why you used them if you do! I take pictures because I enjoy seeing these sights, and want to share the nature as far and wide as I can in the hopes that people who aren't aware of how important it is will become aware. We need to protect it and support it.
     BIG GREEDY OIL are currently doing something really bad in Alberta for profit. It's called the TAR SANDS. Basically it's a really messy and dirty way of getting oil out of the ground. It uses millions of gallons of  fresh water and created huge environmental catastrophes.
     This is happening and we need to stop it. There is a huge protest going on in Washington DC about stopping a pipeline from going all the way from Alberta Tar Sands to Texas refineries. This will be a major environmental disaster in more ways than one. This isn't just a treehugger (which I am, proudly) sounding off, this is the opinion of brilliant scientists and educated environmentalists alike.
     If you enjoyed my blog, and the photos, please take a moment to look into this threat and spread the word that it is not the direction we all need to be taking. BP's oil spill has destroyed the Shrimp, Pelicans are STARVING to death. The Tar Sands project has had safety issues, and pipeline breaks or oil spills all the time. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the pictures.
     When you are done, please take a moment to click on (if you haven't already) any and all of the coloured links above to better understand the importance of this information...
Fishing off Granville Island
His long head feather is so cool!


  1. Had a huge Great Blue catching some zzzzzzs by our pond. He mus have been very tire. He slept with his neck totally withdrawn for over an hour as frogs and bugs capered nearby.

    Your pictures are beautiful and timely.

  2. Hawksley is such a big wheel, sooooo many circles. Little finder.

  3. Haha! Hawksley. If he were really smart, he'd stick his head underwater to get the ball. Well, no. Maybe it's smarter to make you get it.

  4. Your photos are stunning, and I love your stories. Please try to get those hummingbird baby pics :)