Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sam and Serena's Nest Building Effort

This is Part 4 to describe a walk in Stanley Park last Thursday evening.  By the way, the previous post says it was Friday, but that is a mistake.  I guess it felt like Friday, because the following day was a holiday.  I have decided not to edit that post.  I don't know if anyone else has this problem, but editing text is quite a chore, since the font becomes huge, and I have to go back over the post and change it back to the original size, bit by bit.  That messes up the pictures, and sometimes it can take huge amounts of fiddling time before the post looks right.  

But, on with the post.  As mentioned before, I have decided to focus on two pairs of herons this season.  Stanley and Stella's nest is on the NW side of Park Lane, and Sam and Serena's nest is on the SE side.   For photo taking, it is easier to watch Stanley and Stella in the morning, and Sam and Serena in the afternoon.  There are two other facts that are important to me.  Stanley and Stella began with a much larger base nest.  It wasn't huge, but now that I compare it to Sam and Serena, I realize Stanley and Stella have a great head start on building a family.  Sam and Serena, on the other hand, seem not only to have started late, but they have started from scratch.  I can't imagine, at the pace they are going, that they will ever have a large and sturdy enough nest to raise a family in.  Perhaps, they are younger and less experienced, or perhaps, they haven't taken to nest building as easily as Stanley and Stella.  I admit to being worried for them.  If they finish too late, their eggs will hatch late, and their young will be reaching fledge time long after most juveniles have left the nest.  I prepare myself for the worst, but hope for the best for both pairs of herons.    

When I arrived Thursday evening, Serena was looking, to my anthropomorphic eyes, depressed and confused.  The nest looked puny and pathetic.  There was no sign of Sam.  Maybe, she was just wishing he would hurry up and return with some nesting material.
But, oh my, did she ever work hard.  I watched for at least an hour, I would guess.  She did not stop working in that time.  Here, she stretches up to grab a branch.
There is determination in her eye as she moves the branch to its designated spot.
I can't help but compare what she is expected to do, to someone asking me to build a house, while Bill goes off to buy lumber.  No instructions, no training, just stamina and instinct to keep me going.
Turn the branch to just the right angle to work it into the nest.
Try to weave it in.
Move beak to end of branch, to gain leverage and push it into place.
Sam arrives.  Yes!  He tries to make a landing.  His wings are magnificent, but ungainly.  Has he just dropped the branch?
It looks to me like Serena is trying to recapture a branch that is falling.
Perhaps they both reach for it at the same time, and both miss?  They look almost tangled here.
Oh no!  It's falling..  falling..  gone!
Sam looks concerned and a bit helpless.  I think he's asking what to do, and she's just busy trying to fix things.
Now I think he not only looks helpless, but feels helpless.  (Yes, I know.  Anthropomorphism at its best/worst.)  

Sam: I'm outa here.  She's gonna think I'm a dud.  Serena: Where are you going?  Come back and help me!
I finally left.  The last I saw of Serena, she was waiting for Sam.  Does anyone see any progress on that nest?  Is there hope for Sam and Serena?  I haven't been back since, but hope to check on them again soon.


  1. Oh, wow, Carol, what a great series! I love the one where the stick is falling - the expression on Serena's face is priceless (I clicked on it to enlarge it, which makes it even funnier and yet more pathetic at the same time!).

    I do hope that nest-building is rather like learning to ride a bike - one day they will suddenly "get it" and - zip - they will be no stopping them.

    Maybe Sam flew off to find dad for some advice!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jean. I hope, like you, that they will have a nest building break through - SOON. If the weather is decent, I'll be going back tomorrow to see how they're doing.

  3. Great sequence, Carol. I had never though much about herons until you started posting these pictures.

    But what browser are you using? That editing problem sounds ridiculous...

  4. Thanks, dp. I'm using Safari. I tried Firefox for a while, but it does pretty much the same thing and the pictures load more easily with Safari. My computer is an iMac.

  5. That's still ridiculous. I run Windows on a MacBook but I will boot over to the OSX for my next post to see if I have the same problems in Safari.

  6. Thanks, dp. Very kind of you. It would be interesting to know what is causing the problem. Basically, as soon as I hit "edit post", it shows up with all of the font changed. Parts of it may be huge, with other parts sort of medium. I never know what is going to show up.