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Heron Nest 2017
Lens: FA 600 Camera: K3 
Posted By: rkappleby, 09-27-2017, 07:23 PM

Cross posted to 300mm Lens Club
A couple of years ago I learned of a heronry in my area but I only found its exact location this year. There were eight nests and they were located down in a sharp valley that allowed me to view the nest from a location above the nest. The nest nearest to me was roughly 300 feet away and I had a great location to set up and watch the nest without disturbing the birds at all. I shot all the photos with a K3 and my FA 600. I had to pack my gear up a trail to get to my vantage point and packing the FA600, camera, tripod collapsible stool and what ever other gear the weather and bugs dictated – this gear isn’t really designed for back country photography.

The following photo was taken with the FA31 and shows the valley where the nests are located. Most of the nests are tucked into the trees but fortunately the closest nest was wide open for viewing.


June 1 I’m not sure when the chicks hatch but my best guess is that they were five or six days old when I first made my way to the nest.


June 4 - For the first week and a half the adults stayed very close to the young but as you will see that changed as the chicks developed.


June 7 – in the earlier stages you could see significant differences between the chicks in terms of their development and throughout their growth there was always differences between the chicks in their stages of growth and development


June 11 Mom is still staying relatively close to the nest


June 18 – they reminded me of little pterodactyls -


June 19 – From June 1 to June 19 there is huge difference in the chicks in terms of their feather development and they were also starting to become more active


June 21 – The chicks feathers are really starting to take shape – two of the chicks were always more active – for a while I questioned whether or not the third was getting enough food and I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it


June 25 – One of the adults has come in for feeding – this was really quite an exciting time in the nest


June 29 – The adults did a little parade when they came in for feeding – It appeared that they seemed to wait so all three of the chicks were in place for feeding because feeding time only lasted a matter of seconds and if they weren’t ready they were going hungry


June 29 – The actual reading reminded me of a rugby scrum and it was actually quite brutal for all involved


July 4 – by early July the chicks were starting to jump around the nest and there was lots of wing flexing and practice going on


July 7 – another feeding assault


July 7 – the chicks spent a lot of time preening – this was quite constant from the time they were very young until they left the nest


July 9 – the food truck showing up at the nest – not certain but I think this is the male coming in, when the adults landed at the nest the chicks all crouched down and fanned out they feathers – it was very ritualistic


July 13 – In a month and a half since I began watching them the change has been immense – here is one of the chicks flexing its wings and showing off its wonderful wingspan


July 16 - There appears to be some type of discussion going on here – I would assume it would be regarding who made a pig out of themselves at the last feeding


July 18 – Another shot of an incoming adult – this photos shows more clearly the outstretched subservient stance the chicks displayed when the adults showed up. By this time the adults typically stayed at the nest about a minute and a half at most and seemed they could not get away from their enthusiastic brood fast enough. The feeding ritual started with the chicks surroundings the adult, the chicks would all stand upright and grab the adults beak and wrench the adults head downward. The adult seemed to regurgitate into the nest and sometimes directly into the beak of a chick. The feeding was simply brutal.


July 18 – The chicks are having another discussion as the adult readies to make a hasty exit from the nest.


July 20 – The chicks have assembled for feeding


July 22 – One of my last photos with the chicks on the nest – I did not return till July 25 and by then the chicks had all left the nest.


If you are interested I put together a Youtube video with stills and some video capture of the chicks on the nest – the feeding sequence is so hard to explain you really have to see it.
Thanks for looking
Robert
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09-27-2017, 07:32 PM   #2
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Great sequence Robert! The photos are really well done and the subjects fascinating.
09-27-2017, 07:40 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan - it was really quite an experience watching these guys grow
09-27-2017, 07:45 PM   #4
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You definitely get cool points for this sequence. These are superb captures of the growth of the chicks and their behaviours.

09-27-2017, 09:47 PM   #5
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Awesome series! I remember talking to a bird guy about Great Blue Heron banding at the nest site. He said it was one of the smelliest, dangerous times he had around birds. Apparently those big beaks can be delivered with enough force to go right through a bander's hand if not careful.And their first line of defense is to evacuate out of both ends onto an intruder.
09-28-2017, 01:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
You definitely get cool points for this sequence. These are superb captures of the growth of the chicks and their behaviours.
Thank you for the comments

QuoteOriginally posted by jbinpg Quote
Awesome series! I remember talking to a bird guy about Great Blue Heron banding at the nest site. He said it was one of the smelliest, dangerous times he had around birds. Apparently those big beaks can be delivered with enough force to go right through a bander's hand if not careful.And their first line of defense is to evacuate out of both ends onto an intruder.
It was a very interesting project, fortunately I was well clear of the beaks and anything they might shoot my direction
09-28-2017, 11:40 PM   #7
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Very nice.From where did you take that shots?

---------- Post added 09-28-17 at 11:43 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by eva Quote
Very nice.From where did you take that shots?
Oh ,above ......
10-01-2017, 03:33 AM   #8
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Great series!

10-01-2017, 04:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Janse Quote
Great series!
Thanks!!
10-21-2017, 08:49 PM   #10
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The subject matter is rare. The photos priceless.
10-21-2017, 11:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mroeder75 Quote
The subject matter is rare. The photos priceless.
Thank you very much I was just a fortunate spectator
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