Three Amigos at the Rookery!

Three Great blue heron chicks

I have been suffering from a serious rotator cuff tear causing quite a bit of discomfort  (she said putting it mildly !!)   My last foray to my favourite nesting colony, I paid for dearly in set back on healing. Who knew that camera holding nails that exact spot where I had the tear!!  So, being a reluctantly good patient, I’ve restrained myself from any visits since I cannot stand to go without my camera. I just feel naked without it and don’t know what to do with myself. I suppose that kind of kills the …go into the wild to slow down and commune with nature…methodology. I can’t bear see a good scene and not want to capture it.  The wonderfully talented, Lisa Brunetti of Zeebra Designs,  says an artist’s eyes never rest! She is so right! But, artist or not, I can’t stop looking and surely cannot pass up a good composition….or maybe even a not so good composition!! I am truly doomed!!  

All that to say that I was so glad to finally be able to visit again this past Sunday!! I had so much been wanting to see how the Great Blue Heron nest I was following earlier in the season had fared with the pair’s second clutch. See previous posts here and here about the loss of the first chicks when they were about a week old.  

I was actually somewhat amazed by the surge of pleasure I had seeing the nest had not one or two but three handsome and healthy chicks about two months old standing in a little crowd atop a nest getting far to small for them. Soon they will be foraging for fish on their own!   Any kind of emotional attachment was unplanned but I guess the pair having to start over, I wished for success! 

 Please find below just a few selected pictures of this second brood. Eggs are not laid at the exact same time so the first to hatch generally becomes the dominant presence in the nest. I think you can see who is dominant in this one!!


Three Amigos - Great blue heron nest mates

A little crowd unto themselves!!

Great Blue Heron Chicks Preening

They say families that preen together, stay together!!

Great Blue Heron Chicks Sunning Posture with Dominant Chick

The sunning postures start much earlier in the life of a bird than I had realized!! The dominant nestling takes the front position.

Great Bue Heron Chicks in Sunning Posture

Dominant chick clearly in evidence!!


Hurray for second chances!!

~ by Judy on May 20, 2013.

16 Responses to “Three Amigos at the Rookery!”

  1. those images are so wonderful, and i cannot imagine you being away from your camera… two years ago i hurt my rotator cuff (from painting too much!) and a doctor sort of healed me.. i hobbled along for a month and was ultra careful not to do a thing to reinjure it, as it hurt as bad as a break. a month later while in costa rica, i painted for an hour, rested several, and painted another hour. the next day i did the same, and ‘ping’ the pain started to recur.

    i saw a kinesiologist, and wow, he found something out of alignment elsewhere and fixed that, did a bit of tweaking, and then said that it should take care of it. ‘when can i paint again,’ i asked.. he shrugged and said, ‘whenever you are ready.’

    i’ve painted almost nonstop for two years since, and i’ve had no problems.

    hopefully you can find someone to do the same for you!

    (thanks for the pingback as well!)


    • Similar thing with my problem as I went to a chiro and he tweaked a couple of spots enabling me to raise my arm better along with the healing process. I waited too long and its just slow. The awful part is I don’t actually know the original cause of the injury for sure only that there are more things on one’s arm capable of inducing pain than I imagined!! Sure am grateful to be on the mend.

      I am glad you are sorted out as well as I can’t image you without your paintbrush!!!

      No prob on the ping…thanks for the observation and the inspiration!!

      • yes, i know what you mean on the pingback, but it’s always nice to see when someone is thoughtful enough to make the link!!!

        the kinesiologist visit was borderline magical. he said he could tell by the way that i stood that i had had an unepected accident at some point, and now i stood with one foot ‘out’ to brace for another surprise. by looking at posture and feeling joints, tendons, he could find the site of the old injury… one which i have no idea it could be, as i was an outdoors person and was forever having accidents on horseback or bicycles or swinging from vines or whatever!

  2. I always love the sunning pose – like nature’s “flashers” with grey feathers instead of a trench coat.

    As always, fabulous photography, Judy!! 😀

    • LOL!! Where are our minds at?? These are baby birds!!

      Thanks for dropping in and giving me such a nice comment!! 🙂

  3. Fantastic photos of my favorite bird!

    • Nice when something as ubiquitous as these big birds are also so gorgeous and fun to watch!! Thanks always!!

  4. Sympathy on the injury. I’ve been coping with a broken blood vessel in my foot, which I am not letting rest enough so it keeps opening up again.

    • I am finding when it comes to healing, getting older means that you can’t take for granted a speedy process anymore! And not only that, injury happens and you didn’t do anything in particular to earn it!! Big sigh!!

      Oh, hope you get better soon!! Be a good patient!!

  5. I’m more careful these days, that’s for sure. A friend tripped on the sidewalk six months ago. She broke her knee and arm, has had three surgeries and two stays in a rehab center. She just got back home with word that she can walk as she pleases and an affirmation that a second skin graft looks fine. Whew!

    Age does make a huge difference in the healing process. I had a rotator cuff tear and it took nearly eight months to get over it. Four of those months it was down to just a twinge, but it was there.

    But enough of that – your photos are wonderful! I just laughed at those babies – they’re so funny. I don’t know why I thought these herons would have only one chick at a time. I suppose because the birds are so big, I thought a nest would only be able to hold one. Obviously, I was wrong!

    It took a second and third glance to find the other birds and nests in that last photo. It’s a real neighborhood!

    • Funny when you are in serious pain you think you are the only one in the world..then you talk about it and find out others have had to deal with the same long slow healing!! During part of this I actually thought of you and the fact you sand and varnish….that has to really use the shoulder muscles. Apparently everything does though..or so I’ve found out!!

      Well I thought the herons laid all their eggs in one fell swoop and have since learned that its a one by one thing until they have a max of about six. I think three is typical though at the rookery I can visit. But usually if they start with three due to rivalry etc. often only two or one survives to fledge. The nests do get quite crowded as the little guys grow and gets quite crazy when you add parents with fish to the mix!

  6. Ah, I’ve been loving on this trio!! SO happy mom was successful with round two. 🙂 What wonderful images…! And you got more of those crazy sunning postures! WOW. I have one… One!

  7. First of all, thank you! This is totally fascinating. A friend of mine sent this (shoreacres) because I obsess on my neighborhood heron, Harry, of course. A couple of weeks I saw two herons and two white birds, similar to those at the top of your post — not sure if they were herons or egrets (but no crest). In my most recent photo of Harry (a Harry), he was relatively close. I’ve never seen the sunning position — I wonder if they do that through life. The babies are just great and I’m hoping MY Harry has his own sweet Harriet and little Ozzie, David and Rickys, so that I can see some of this action, too! Your photos rock. (And by the way, I try to go on my walks for the “exercise” but I think I lose all aerobic power when I get to the pond and start shooting; like you, I feel bare without a camera. Mine isn’t so heavy as yours; a small auto digital — but it still must be attached somewhere!

    All the best,
    ~jeanie (the marmelade gypsy)

    • Oh you are more than welcome and I appreciate that you enjoyed the young herons. Its so easy to get attached to observing a creature so naturally elegant and so large!! Harry is a fine name for a heron!! I named a pelican Plato once because his clear blue-eyed gaze looked so intelligent!! The white bird you saw was most likely the Great Egret or White Egret, another of nature’s elegant gifts to grace our lives with.

      Oh and you nailed it with the exercise part pretty much going by the wayside when you have a camera and stop to shoot. LOL!! I always try to combine exercise in the venture. When I first got interested in digital photography after my kids were out of college, I started to hike so I could photograph or was it photograph so I could hike..I forget now!! But, when I went hiking with the Sierra Club I’d always slow everyone down. They had a routine where a leader was in front and then there was an assistant to stay at the back and we hikers had to stay between so as not to get lost. Well, it was always me and the rear guard separated from everyone as I was often the only one with a camera. I almost got a rear guard person lost one time in a prarie area where everything looked alike because of stopping to shoot some interesting thing or other! 🙂

      The sunning posture is not something of youth but a maintenance behaviour herons and other birds exhibit all along. I did not know they do it at two months old though before they even leave the nest. Some species do it to dry feathers, some for thermoregulation, and some to allow the heat to motivate bugs and parasites to move so they can be more readily removed during preening or a combination thereof.

      Thanks for your comment!!

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