A special place

"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, it is a special place where I spend my afternoon."

Monday, April 22, 2013

"The Herons are Nesting"

Fly so Free
   All of the unpopulated islands in the area are appealing to a lot of birds. The Great Blue Heron is one of them. And we're fortunate to have quite a few of them on here on St. George Island.  In the gated community called The Plantation, on the west end of the island, there are two herons that have built their nests, laid eggs, and have been sitting with them for a month. The eggs are due to hatch any day now.

Home Sweet Home
   Some herons will build their nests on the ground, but having people in the area encouraged these herons to construct their nests up in the trees. The nests are shallow, like saucers, and made with pretty good sized sticks.  The male brings the sticks to the female, and she builds the nest. It can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to build it. Herons are a very social bird, so when there's a large number of them, they'll nest in colonies.
   After the nest is built, the male and  female take turns guarding the eggs for the next month. On the average, they'll lay anywhere from 2 to 6 eggs.

   The Blue Heron is the largest of all North American herons, with some standing up to 5 ft. tall. But, their size is very deceiving. Because of their hollow bones, they only weigh about 5 to 6 lbs.

"Catch of the Day"
   They're a wading bird so you'll see them hanging out in the shallow water along the shore or in the marshy areas around the island, catching fish. They enjoy eating pretty much any kind of fish they can catch in the shallows of salt water or fresh. They also like eating frogs and small mammals. And because of their unique eyesight, they can hunt during the day or at night.

    When I see these birds strolling around in the water with their long skinny legs, and their necks curved around in an S shape, they remind me of a little old man. They even have some gray hair on the tops of their heads!
    The island estuary is always a quiet place to go. It's the one place on the island that offers more trees than beach. And there's always a wide variety of birds that enjoy it there, and share the space in harmony.

   One of the most elusive birds around is the Kingfisher. So even though this one is high in a tree, had it not been for the heron, hanging out in a tree above him, seeing me would have sent him flying away. And to wait for me to get out my camera and take a picture, would have been out of the question. 
   Fortunately, the heron is not threatened. In some areas, it's population is even increasing.
Like most tropical birds, human intrusion is it's worst enemy. And we've always got to be aware of contaminant levels and any chemical runoff that effects the quality of the water and obviously, the bird's wellbeing.  
   Hopefully I can get back to The Plantation in a day or two, and see if the chicks are big enough to stick their heads up out of the nests. When the eggs hatch, the chicks have their eyes open and they're ready to make some noise. So, I may hear them before I see them. I'll be sure to keep you posted on their progress.

Just hanging out on the dock
  * I'm sorry I've been so slow in posting anything lately. I experienced some computer problems that unfortunately, I shared with other people. (Sorry about that!) But, the computer problem has been fixed and I'm ready to start sharing my "Island Life" with you again. And, admittedly, my days have been filled with more work than play lately. With John's help, I've bought a house here on the island. It's one that offers more peace and quiet, (living across the canal from a charter boat business can get a little busy) and it's only a couple streets away. So moving all the treasures that I've collected from the beaches hasn't been too difficult. There's just a lot of them. Three trailer loads to be exact!  I'm sure there's going to be times when I'll miss being on the water, but it won't be during hurricane season! I can see the bay at the end of the street, and the nearest canal is only a stone's throw away. So the water's not far away.
   When I first came here, sixteen years ago, my dream was to someday live here. And without a great deal of effort, here I am. How many people can say they're living their dream?



  1. Way to go, Jo Ellen :-D. And the pictures are great, as always!

  2. Jo Ellen - I am happy for you. Glad to see you got your computer fixed. Can not wait for that stroll on the beach and more birds pictures.

  3. Beautiful pics as usual Jo! Now, let's see some of your new 'crib'! ps...sorry it's been so long!