Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Green Heron Day at Holland Ponds! Wow!!!

2009-08-19 Holland Ponds
9:20 am - 10:45 am
It was indeed a "Great Green Heron Day" at Holland Ponds!!!
The day was great (!) - it is not the name of the bird.

Because of time limitations today, we stayed closer to home and did not go to Robert H. Long Park to see birds. We are so happy that we did! We have not been to Holland Ponds for some time - ever since "the kids" left (think Great Blue Herons here).

I guess that is another of the considerations with this "birding thing" - we want to see new species (like the Red-Headed Woodpecker that drew us to Robert Long Park, and the shorebirds arriving now). Yet, we have probably missed so much in our "own backyard". What a dilemma! Should we "be true" and document the seasonal differences at one park, or should we roam to get a few more checks on our list? I am sure many birders face this!

Anyway, today was the perfect day to go to Holland Ponds! Shortly after we arrived, we saw a Green Heron sitting near a tree top. Cool! Judy's first - my second! But the day became even much better in quick order! Overall, I would guess we had at least a half hour observing Green Herons! They were not very spooky, and allowed us to watch and carry on a conversation (mostly "wow" and "did you see that?") and take dozens of photos of the birds fairly close to us.
And we had a chance to watch the behaviour.
The most interesting thing to me was watching the birds feed. Instead of having the "S-bend" necks of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets, and striking like a snake, the Green Herons have a "Slinky neck" and just unload it like a spring under tension! You cannot really tell from looking at them that their neck is so long. It looks much fatter than the afore-mentioned birds, but who would know how long it reaches! A Slinky spring waiting to be sprung! And, I might add, it is damn hard to catch it in action! This pic was just good luck!
It has seemed everyone sees them except us - both at Long, and occasionally at Holland. Well, today made up for it - big time! What a thrill! We saw at least one adult and three juveniles.

The overall species count was not as good as in prior trips to Holland, or as good as at Long last week, but we cared not a whit! And we saw some juveniles of other birds in "our place" (now I feel guilty I have not been documenting this site more recently).

I will put pics on my PBase site, and have dropped a few into this blog.

What fun!!!
Species list:

Red-Winged Blackbirds
Mourning Doves
Blue Jays (a few - mostly heard)
Mallards (with juveniles)
Great Egret (3)
Great Blue Heron (one fly-over)
Kingfishers (at least 2)
Catbird (H)
Cedar Waxwings (a few)
Eastern Kingbird (a few)
Eastern Bluebird (juvenile)
Downy Woodpecker

Plus we heard at least 4 species I did not know - 2 were new, I think

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