Great Blue Heron Nesting Survey

Nesting Great Blue Heron
Nesting Great Blue Heron

Today was my first attempt at surveying nesting sites for Great Blue Heron and Black-Crowned Night-Heron.  After a couple days of rainy and windy weather, today broke completely clear and a little on the cool side.  It was still a bit windy, but conditons were otherwise nearly perfect for a day of birding.  I have four sites spread out over two counties to survey, and I wanted to leave some time for pleasure birding after I was done.

My first couple sites went pretty much as planned.  I found them right away – the first site had several Black-Crowned Night-Heron, but the second site (in the middle of a residential area) apparently had been abandoned.  The next two sites were supposed to be located in the same county park, but separated by about 1/2 mile.   I searched and search, but was unable to find any nests.  Finally, a park ranger happened by and, after convincing herself that I really was doing bird surveys, took me to the nesting site.  Fortunately, the park authorities have place the nesting area off-limits, but I was still able to get close enough to observe several nests and adult Great Blue Heron (including the one show above).  It seems that the two sites listed on my survey route might actually be just one large site.

Overall, it was a pretty successful day.  After finishing my route, I spent some time birding at another nearby park and, while there, stumbled upon another Great Blue Heron nesting site.  Not knowing if the site has already been identified, I’ve sent the information to my contact at the Division ofFish and Wildlife and volunteered to keep an eye on it through the nesting season.

Now…back to painting!

Advertisements

Wildlife Conservation Corps – Great Blue Heron Survey

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

I am a volunteer for the Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC) for the  New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, which allows me to participate in Citizen Science programs for the New Jersey Audubon Society and other similar program.  This year I have signed on for a survey of nesting areas of Great Blue Heron and Black-Crowned Night-Heron for the state’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.  There is concern as some studies suggest that there are declines in both species’ populations.  I have several nesting sites to visit during the next several months.  Hopefully, there will be plenty of parents and babies to count!

I took this photo last fall while watching a Great Blue Heron wading and fishing at one of the national wildlife areas in southern New Jersey.  There was no wind this day, resulting in calm and flat water and a pretty nice reflection.