Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Young Eagle and some Great Blue Herons

A Young Eagle at Wreck Beach
After a great concert at UBC last week, we decided to follow a trail that took us, almost by chance, to Wreck Beach.  It is the only clothing-optional beach in Vancouver but neither Bill nor I are sun bathers, and in fact, it was just about the only Vancouver beach I had never explored. More about the concert and the walk in another post, but for Wild Bird Wednesday, I thought you might like to meet this young eagle.
S/he appeared to be trying to figure out how to take off in a strong wind with a catch..
 that I still haven't identified.
 S/he wasn't successful, even after many, many tries and a valiant effort.
A second try with this perhaps lighter stick was also unsuccessful.

The bonus for me was a great opportunity to practice action shots, and something about the wind and waves and sun sparkles made for a very enjoyable time with my camera.

Stanley Park Heronry
The Great Blue Herons have returned to Stanley Park for the 13th year (the 6th since I first discovered them) and yesterday was a great one for taking photos.  I've been known to name my favourite pairs of herons but that can sometimes lead to disappointment when "stuff" happens.  Eagles and racoons prey on the eggs and on the young, fireworks cause so much stress that juveniles sometimes fall from the nest, and I've learned that nest-building requires skills that include an understanding of wind conditions, etc.  So, for this season, I'm going to leave anthropomorphism aside and will just assign numbers to the two pairs shown here.
PAIR #1
 One heron appeared to be starting a new nest.
 S/he looked up, noticed another heron in the same tree with a nest already well on the way..
 and I guess they decided to join forces.  

Nest building is high on the features a female looks for in the male and these two hit it off immediately.  (My interpretation.  Another possibility is that they were already acquainted.)
 I tried to resist "aren't they cute" emotions as I took this photo but mostly failed. 
 They carried out some of the pre-mating rituals, but at least while I was there..
 decided that the important matter at hand was to exhibit their skills and get that nest built.

PAIR #2
This beauty came floating by me with a stick,
 circled around a couple of times,
 flew just about directly over my head, 
 and finally.. 
 navigated the branches..

to make a delivery to his mate.
 The gesture was much appreciated and followed up by bill clappering.  I just learned that term from this very interesting article titled "The Terminology of Courtship, Nesting, Feeding and Maintenance in Herons."  A quick look at that article gives me a name for many of the behaviours I saw yesterday and I intend to explore it more thoroughly.  For now, I am happy to correct a mistake that I have been making for years.  I will no longer call it "bill clacking." :)   
For more stories and photos of birds, I think you will enjoy the Wild Bird Wednesday site.  Thank you, Stewart, for keeping the meme running so successfully.

27 comments:

  1. of all the herons (and egrets) we've had here, i never seen a nest. so cool!!! and the immature eagle is wonderful!!! would love to see one of them, too!

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    1. You will just have to head this way for a visit, TexWis :)

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  2. Wonderful set of pictures. The eagle is great - even if it does have a mystery meal!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks, Stewart. Yes, I'm still wondering about that meal :)

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  3. Eagles like to eat dirt, never knew that haha love the shots, especially the first one as he/she looks at you like, do you mind haha

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    1. Yeah, it did give me "the look" for sure but I guess I was considered "okay" since it went on about its business after that.

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  4. What spectacular photos! We had some herons nesting in some older pine trees at our harbor, but my photos were not nearly as good as yours.

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    1. Thanks, Chris! A big lens helps but seeing them fly in and out of the nest is a unique experience.

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  5. This was indeed great shots!
    I have only seen eagles at quite a distance in the air, once in my life, and herons only a few seconds four or five times. I can remember the herons that landed nearby me during dusk, it was as if they were pterosauruses! It must have been an extraordinary experience when they were flying this close above you.

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    1. Thanks, Monique. Yes, the feeling of going way back in time really struck me as well

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  6. Breathtaking photos, It is great to be able to observe some birds.

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  7. I love the heron pictures but will miss them having names! We are watching a great many herons in Beacon Hill Park at the moment. Barrie thinks there will be over 20 pairs this season! Phyllis

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  8. I guess it's looking to be a strong season in both Victoria and Vancouver, Phyllis. Thanks for commenting. Perhaps I'll reconsider my decision not to name them (as I think that will make two of us missing that connection), although I may wait a bit to let the nests get established first.

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  9. These are fantastic photos of the heron and amazing!

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  10. Awesome post, BB&B! I love birds, and you took some amazing photos! That first photo of the young eagle is precious! I am hopelessly anthropomorphic. Thank you for sharing your photos!

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  11. If you enjoy birds, BB&B, you might like Noushka's blog.
    She is a knowledgable and excellent bird photographer ~
    perhaps you are familiar with her blog 1000-pattes,
    but if you are not here is a link to it:

    http://1000-pattes.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Fundy Blue. Your blog is a delight and I checked out Noushka's as well link. It is indeed spectacular! As for anthropomorphism, perhaps I should just give in to the temptation, since I'm obviously in excellent company :)

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  12. Thanks for stopping by and adding your comment on my non-photography blog. :)

    These are splendid pics of birds you have allowed us to view; wish I had a lens that zoomed this much! You are good at capturing how they live, etc. Hope you are having a nice w/end.

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  13. By the way, haven't meant to leave out the adorable Black Jack; I like dogs, too. :)

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    1. Black Jack says, "Thanks, Misty!" And, yes, the lens allows me to see details I would never catch otherwise. I do love it!

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  14. Hi Black Jack!
    Thanks for dropping by on my blog!
    You've got great pics with the herons and particularly this eagle!
    quite amazing!
    I am not sure which pic you meant with the title "The Bane3...
    Must have been the translator's version!!
    Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Noushka! I appreciated your response!
      Yes, the translation sometimes is "interesting" but I do appreciate it as it allows communication across the world. (The picture was of a large animal with brown fur.)

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  15. Good morning Carol. You again have brought back great memories of Vancouver from the late 70's. We loved Wreck Beach and all the 'freedom' it afforded us. I liked the eclectic mix of people there too.
    Now to your beautiful photos.....the young Eagle is magnificent and I like how you successfully captured his/her frustration in not getting 'the hang' of transporting his dinner to safer ground. I wonder how many times it takes to become proficient?
    The Heron's wingspan is enormous! So much so it goes beyond the photo frame. Must have been a treat to see their interactions with each other. Thanks for sharing these, it was a good learning lesson and great memories on the beach many years ago.

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    1. Jim, I always look forward to your comments! You know, I thought of you and Ron when we were at Wreck Beach. There is so much more I would like to share about that day, but time.. where does it go? Just at the end, we discovered a stone in memory of a girl who was killed there in 1993. (I've forgotten when you left.) Her name was Christina Joy Thompson (Tina) and she was only 20 years old. They say a ghost roams the beach now. I only learned that last detail after I googled her name. Anyhow, very much appreciate your comment, as always!

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