If you’ve been down to the Wetlands within the last several months you may have seen a great blue heron (GBH) standing by a rock (boulder) out in the water some eighty or ninety feet from the Main Wetlands Overlook. You would have been looking at our current resident GBH.
I say current resident because I don’t know if it’s the same heron that I’ve been seeing, just about daily, for nearly seven years now. Without physically marking birds that come into our Wetlands there’s no real way of knowing if they are the same birds day after day. I’m fairly certain we’ve had several resident GBHs. Behavior holds some clues.
I’ve seen GBHs who were not shy about fishing, preening, or resting within a dozen feet or so of the sometimes busy paths through the Wetlands. Others shy away from humans completely, staying out of view, and certainly out of reach of Museums guests, only hunting in the shallow waters of the Wetlands during off hours. There was one heron who followed visiting geese and ducks about the water, knowing that their feeding (the ducks and geese) on the Wetlands’ submergent vegetation would stir up fish and tadpoles hiding within.
The heron I now see in the Wetlands seems half-shy. It spends most of the day by a prominent boulder jutting out from the water about halfway across the Wetlands. The bird stands motionless, now and then jabbing at any fish that might happen by. Occasionally, the heron flies over to the north side of the Wetlands to fish, or over to the Main Wetlands Overlook. Sometimes the bird tolerates the people watching it from the platform, other times it takes flight back to the boulder after only a minute or so of landing.
It’s obvious that the bird favors the boulder, it’s a focal point for the bird. If you want to get photos of this heron, you should have little problem doing so. On sunny days, there are also turtles of the boulder. You could shoot two birds with one shot.