Saturday, June 6, 2009

The babies are leaving home...

Each time I go to the heronry now, I see more and more empty nests...
...which is a good thing! It means the babies have fledged and are now out in the world, but I've been watching these nests and these birds since early February when the males arrived to stake out their territory, and I've gotten used to them and their froggy, croaking sounds! I will miss watching them.

Remember the first seven couples I found paired together on nests? Their babes were the first to go, and all of their nests are empty, but lots and lots of birds are still at the rookery. When you arrive, you see babies everywhere flapping their wings, slowly developing their flight muscles and getting ready to fly off on their own. The baby frog sound has grown much stronger, and there is definitely a lot of croaking (and almost growling) in the air! The colony is very noisy.

Practice!

Practice!


Practice!

Next year I will be better at watching...and maybe I'll have a bigger lens too. I wonder when the last baby will fledge. It will be interesting to see. (For all the heronry posts up to now, just click on the sentence under the Heron painting in the right sidebar.)

30 comments:

holdingmoments said...

Great shots Kelly. They can be quite noisy in their colonies.
I was watching some the other day here.

Warren Baker said...

It's great to see you looking forward to next spring already! I hope your enthusiasm for the natural world always stays with you kelly.

PS. an almighty rain storm has just ended here, so heavy it prevented me from getting out early. The sky looks to be clearing a bit now, so I should get a late walk in!!!

Nick S said...

Very cool Kelly. Thanks for sharing. I've still never seen a Heronry !

Midmarsh John said...

The nests look so rickety and the young birds so tall and gangly I find it amazing that some don't get knocked out of the nest when one is testing its wings. It's great to read that so many have bred successfully Kelly.

Roy said...

Its been a great story about the Herons Kelly.

Rajesh said...

Fantastic captures. I liked the last snap the most.

Laure Ferlita said...

Do I sense empty nest syndrome?! : )

I would be sad too to see everyone fly off and get on with their lives regardless of it being a good thing!

Jayne said...

It still amazes me how many of them can occupy a nest when they get that size!

ShySongbird said...

Great photos Kelly and (almost) the end to a great story, fascinating!

NatureStop said...

Lovely shots.With their size how do they manage in the nest:)

Roy said...

Up, up and awaaaaayyyyy! Yup, there's been a lot of activity down on the Cove here, too. I just haven't been able to get down to watch.

So you're gearing up for next year already? Heh, heh! Send out your Christmas wish list now!

Montanagirl said...

These are great photos, Kelly. I would love to be able to get that close to a Great Blue Heron and its chicks! Great post.

Little Brown Job said...

Loved following the Heron's progress, looking forward to next year already.

Uncommon Depth said...

What a terrific opportunity to watch these magnificent birds grow up. You are lucky!

Kelly said...

Keith...it surprises me how loud they are and all of the strange sounds they make. I've heard barks, squawks, baby frog sounds, what sounds like a giant dog panting....it goes on and on!

Warren...I am very much looking forward to it, and I will be better prepared for study now that I have a little more historical info. It will be fun to watch the dates and progress.

Nick...you've seen just about everything else!! You must be just above their breeding territory.

John...so true. I watched during a very windy day and was amazed that that cold hang on. The nests look like a pile of sticks, but they can withstand hurricane force winds (we had them last September and the majority of the nests survived).

Roy...thank you! It's been fun (and I've learned a lot.)

Rajesh...thank you....love those spread wings too!!

Laure...yes....haha! I think you're right, but I'm going to read more about them, and study up so I will be able to talk more about them next year.

Jayne....you and me both! They are so big, and so high off the ground, I'm just surprised more don't tumble out before they can fly.

Songbird....thank you! It will be interesting to see when the last baby leaves.

Nature....so amamzing. I am surprised too. They are so big and seem to do just fine. I guess it encourages them to move on!!

Roy...hahaha! Yes sir....looking forward to the next season when I will know so much more. But....I'll still enjoy the rest of this season too... My wish list: a huge lens for closer viewing!

Mona....I'm really not that close. I just crop the photos way down. I have a stabilizer on my lens and that seems to help with the sharpness so I can crop them all the way down. I would love to have a more powerful lens so I can really get some detail, but that's on a wish list....

Betsy from Tennessee said...

You are so lucky, Kelly, to get to see all of the heron nests and their babies. It's amazing how fast those babies grow. Wow!!!!! AND--to see them 'stretching' their wings is just so cute. Hope they all make it into this big ole' world ---and live nice long lives.

Hugs,
Betsy

Kelly said...

Paul...thank you! Hopefully there's a little more left to this year, but next year will be great!

Uncommon.....I feel lucky I live so close to a heronry. They are so unique and magnificent. I love it!!!

Kelly said...

Thanks, Betsy!! I hope they do too. When I see them on the local rivers and ponds I always wonder...is he new or old....when did he hatch out. It's so cool watching their lives.... Hugs to you too!

Chris said...

Hi Kelly,
Gosh they are very big!! How coll to be able to follow them like that and realise that everything went fine. THanks for keeping us up-to-date!!

The Early Birder said...

Thanks for the update Kelly. Just great to see all that wing stretching in preparation for their 1st take off.

Steve B said...

Wow, that was quick. They got big fast. It seems like just yesterday they were on the eggs.

Kelly said...

Chris....thanks!...I would love to be able to follow the babies to see what happens...to see if they make it all the way through the first year.

Frank....I know.....love seeing that. They all seem to take turns stretching and flapping their wings. Could you imagine all the nestlings flapping at once?

Steve....it does, doesn't it? But it all started back in February. It's almost vacation time for all the parents!

Matt Latham said...

You have obviously had a great time watching these over the last few months and it has shown in your lovely posts.

Ginnymo said...

Awesome!!

Gabrielle said...

How cool that you've been able to watch this all develop since February ! And how cool for us that you've shared it. Thanks!

Tom said...

Nice Kelly

I noticed several juvenile herons this weekend when I was up on Lake Erie. Fledging is definitely in the ari.

Tom

Dave Lewis said...

Great shots as always! I'm looking forward to your photos of the younguns trying to LAND after that first flight!

Heather said...

Wow, they are quite handsome now!

RuthieJ said...

The nest looks so small now that the babies have gotten so big, doesn't it?

E said...

It is always a joy to see them again, Kelly.
Many hugs and congrats. E.