Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Blue Heron hike on March 23 at Holland Ponds

Good friend Rob Golda just put out a Hiking Michigan (HM) note about a hike on March 23 (12:00 -3:00 pm) to see Great Blue Herons (GBH) nesting at Holland Ponds.

Please check out the imbedded links in the following URL: http://hikingmichigan.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/ashok-annual-heron-hike/

You will see (and be able to click on and print) a flyer about the hike and a great map of the area – Holland Ponds, Shelby Twp, Macomb County. (I helped a bit on the map awhile back, but as always Rob’s maps are just fantastic and I suggested only a few changes!) http://hikingmichigan.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/hollandpondsmap.jpg

Even if you do not make this easy hike, be sure to see the area this year while the herons are still there. No one knows what effect the proposed (basically already a done deal) bike path thru the area might have. I suspect it might be fine – as long as the bikers stay on the main road and not go “mountain biking” on the trail near the rookery. And, yes, I love the bike paths of Michigan – a leading state for these – just keep them away from special areas!
In addition, Rob posted earlier (he continually surveys the rookery) that one of the main trees in the closest rookery fell over this year taking 6 nests with it. It is just a fact of nature … silly baby herons do not leave the nest to go to the bathroom somewhere else (and what baby kid does …) and heron excrement builds up, and droppings weaken and kill trees, and winter takes its toll, and so on … Yes, nature is always a learning experience for me…

I suspect the rear rookery will build up, but it is much harder to view, and even harder to photograph the birds.
The GBH are back already. If you go thru the whole season with them, you can see them bringing sticks and nest building; raising young; feeding the kids; teenagers leaving home. So cool! It is always an incredible experience!
Rob has followed this for years - go thru the links at HM.
Holland Ponds has always been a special place for Judy and me ever since Jan Olesen (now retired and living in Florida) told us about it the first year we began birding and joined the se-Mich birders list. Wow! What a place! Long-legged wading birds nesting in tree tops – who would have thought they do that?! Amazing! On our first visit, by chance, we met Rob Golda photographing the GBH, and Rob has been an inspiration to us ever since!
Just “rambling”, but I highly recommend a visit to Holland Ponds this year to see the herons – and if you can make the scheduled hike, you will surely learn about far more than the herons. In the past, Dan Farmer from Shadbush Nature Center (Shelby Twp) has helped lead this hike. He is an expert naturalist in almost everything at Holland Ponds – I hope he will be there this year, but I have not heard anything yet.

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