Love is in the branches at the heronry!
If you look at the nests, you can see both mates are standing, letting you know no eggs have been laid. When egg-laying starts, one of each couple will hunker down in the nests to keep the eggs warm. Both the male and the female take turns incubating the eggs. The eggs hatch after about a month.
There is a chance the number of formed couples may already be larger than 7. As you can see in the photo, several herons are standing in nests by themselves, so their mates might still have been out fishing. As I was driving home, I saw a heron flying low in the sky. I assume he was returning to the rookery, but I didn’t include him in the count, because I didn’t see him in a tree with the colony.
Love was not only in the branches, it was in the bushes right where I was standing. Two little Carolina Wrens were hopping back and forth looking for a nesting site. They kept going in and out of a little cavity formed in the crook of a tree. When I first arrived they were so noisy with their scolding. Clearly I was interrupting their house hunting expedition, but after about 5 minutes, they calmed down and worked around me. They stayed around the entire time I was there.
One half of the happy little Carolina Wren couple...