Saturday, April 29, 2017

Great Blue Heron Rookery

Our most interesting adventure while staying in Abbotsford with our grandchildren was an outing to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve near Chilliwack.  We'd been there last November, but of course there were no herons then.  Now the herons are there, and nesting!  I'd never seen an active heron rookery up close.

We had a good look at one heron fishing in the old canal just as we were starting down the trail.  Lots of other birds here too, especially swallows buzzing back and forth.

It wasn't a long walk down the crest of the dike to the rookery.  We were told there were 97 active nests this year.

Herons build huge messy nests of sticks, and return to use them over and over, adding a few sticks to refresh the nests.  They nest in colonies like this one, and in B.C. their numbers have been declining.

At first glance the nests seem mostly empty, but once you get out the binoculars and start watching, there are numerous herons visiting their nests.  I counted 12 herons in this picture.
We all had a great view of the huge ungainly herons as they flapped their way in to a roost or a nest.  Cropping the photos down I was quite pleased with the results.

Herons were constantly flying in and out, possibly returning with food for young, who would still be very small (if hatched yet).  My impression is that they nest in a colony but each heron has its own favourite fishing spot that it flies off to; they seem solitary when you see them away from the rookery feeding someplace.

This one was looking rather frazzled in the wind!

We also spotted a Bald Eagle circling high overhead, always nice to see.  It would be a rare sighting here, but is surprisingly common in the lower Fraser Valley.

And everywhere you went there were mountains in the distance - at least on sunny days.  This is a line of peaks far to the east, from the left Mount Cheam, Lady Peak and Knight Peak.

And this is the awesome Mount Baker, one of the high volcanic peaks in the North Cascades in Washington State.  Everyone in Abbotsford watches for Mount Baker on sunny days!  I thought this picture with the wilderness of Mount Baker in the background and the golden arches of our fast food society in the foreground said something ironic about modern life!

And I just thought this sign, which we saw in a number of places around Chilliwack, was cute, and perhaps memorable when you are walking your dog!


  1. Love your photos of the Heron and especially love the mountains out west, something we don't see here in the east.

  2. The old, the everlasting and the new, all together. And then along came... A Poop Fairy!!! and those herons, what a precarious nest site, but I am sure they have great inbuilt knowledge of where and how to build safely.

  3. I always think it almost comical when a Blue Heron lands in a tree..they just look so ungainly.

  4. You got yourself some interesting photos. It is not often that we get the opportunity to get up and close.

  5. Hello from a first-time visitor to your blog, but not the last time! I stopped in from another blog, Larry's Creative Zone, as I am always looking for new blogs to read. There are so many interesting and fascinating fellow bloggers. Your herin photos brought back memories of our years spent living on the Virginia eastern shore when we visited the Chincoteague wildlife refuge. There, I saw a tree full of great egrets! We still own the VA house called The Frog & Penguinn, also our blog name, but hopefully it will find new owners as we relocated to NH a couple of years ago and are now apt dwellers in a former textile mill. After living in a small VA town (pop 500) for 12 years, we are enjoying our city living now.

    Please do feel free to stop in for a blog visit anytime and do leave a comment as as we do read and appreciate all.
    See you in blog-land again soon.

  6. What a great wildlife preserve. We used to get an occasional blue heron visit in our backyard fish pond.

  7. Wow! Excellent shots. Love the Heron rookery. So interesting. I too catch the rony of the eternal mountain and the golden arches.

  8. amazing, amazing...what an amazing preserve. i am forever chasing herons...what a beautiful park, and how cool to see all those amazing nests. awesome captures!!!

  9. Gorgeous mountain views. I find herons fascinating to watch- infinite patience, they seem to have.

  10. Wow it must of been so cool to see so many nests in one place.
    Love the sign.

  11. It must be thrilling to see the heron rookery! Great photos!

  12. Great photos of the rookery. Great blues often soar to great heights in order to travel the long distances to their feeding spots.

    That's a wonderful sign, we were on a rail-trail today where some of them would have been a great addition.

  13. Ah, my old friend Mt. Baker, which I too see when the clouds part. We've got some nice weather coming up. And we have a heron rookery nearby, although I haven't visited it lately while they are actively nesting. Thanks for sharing. :-)