When I left you at Kensington last week I promised to show you some of the craziness happening in their giant heron rookery. The heron babies are now teenagers and I think they’ll be flying free any day now.
How many youngsters do you see in the image below?
I don’t know either, I think around fifteen. I sure would like to see a few of them leave the nest for the first time. Talk about suspense!
I’m so certain they’ll be leaving soon that I went back to the park, even though it’s 40 minutes away from where I live, the morning after my last post. And the morning after that.
I was hoping to see an adult feeding the teenagers. I’ve seen it once before and those young adults can get pretty aggressive with mom or dad. I remember thinking that somebody was going to fall out of the nest there was so much tugging and pushing going on.
But the second morning I got there a little late, more like brunch than breakfast, and I think I missed all the action. There was some sibling pushing and showing off, but mostly everyone was just waiting for the next meal to show up.
There was one flyover of an adult heron. That was exciting for those of us waiting on the boardwalk. After all there are only so many pictures you can take of a bunch of herons standing in a tree.
I was about to give up, figuring all the adults were napping after feeding their hungry broods earlier in the morning, when a mama or a daddy showed up to a very excited youngster.
Everybody else, in the neighboring nests, had their hopes dashed again.
Yep, now things were getting interesting up there!
But that was it for the excitement; I figured I was too late to see the show, so the next morning, when Katie got me up at 4:30 I stayed up and got out to the park before the moon had even set.
The light was wonderful.
In fact I was so early, and so sleep deprived that I forgot to check the camera settings.
Which is how I got the above image. My ISO was still set at 100 which is nowhere near high enough for the low morning light and a sandhill crane flying right by me.
Meanwhile a heron landed at the very top of the tallest tree in the rookery.
He (or she) appeared to be giving a lecture to the captive audience below.
He or she sat up there for a long time.
After awhile the kids all started looking elsewhere for a snack.
And finally he or she gave up and flew away.
After all that excitement it was quiet again. I decided to take myself for a walk to see what else I could find. Want to come with me? I’ll try to keep it short as you might be bird-fatigued already.
Oh, there was this other artsy-fartsy image I kind of liked, though it wasn’t what I intended.
I fed a jay from a bit of seed I had in my pocket.
He seemed to appreciate it.
And there was a plump female bluebird way up in a tree watching everything.
I had a red-winged blackbird follow me down the path and perch noisily in a tree about 3 feet from my face while I was changing from my long lens to something shorter. I asked him what he wanted and he looked at me like I was crazy. Of course. He wanted something to eat. So I offered him a bit of seed and he came down and took both peanuts and flew off. Little pig. No picture of it, but you can imagine.
Rounding the next corner I saw a sandhill crane couple looking beautiful in a meadow.
She and her mate and I got up close…
They were both interested in having a little after breakfast snack…
…though only one wanted to take the seed directly from me. I left some on the ground for both of them to share and moved on down the path.
There were other things in the forest that were calling my name.
I began to move along faster, I’d already been out there longer than I expected. But it was such a lovely morning and I knew how lucky I was to be able to walk in the woods instead of hunker down at a desk on a Monday morning.
Retirement is a wonderful thing.
Around the other side of the lake I saw a complete sandhill crane family. Dad was standing guard and mom and baby were off in the tall grass. I didn’t get a good shot, but this is the baby, all legs and long beak.
Almost back to the rookery I stopped to contemplate this plaque on a bench.
It made me realize all over again just how lucky I am.
Then, back at the rookery where there was more horsing around and wing flapping.
But there didn’t seem to be much else going on so I decided to head home. I didn’t get the shots I had come for, no parents feeding their youngsters. None of the teenagers took a leap into adulthood and flew away.
But I saw a lot of really interesting and pretty things. And, as always when I walk in the woods, I came away grateful.
And that made me smile.