Monday, March 31, 2008

The Amazing, The Wonderful -- Great Blue Heron

On our week end trip we visited two lakes.
One in Huntingdon County, Raystown Lake.
One in Bedford County, Shawnee Lake.
Both places and ponds and streams in between seemed
to be alive with Great Blue Herons.
Below you can see how hard they are to spot as they stand
in the water along the shoreline and fish. Their color
blends right into their surroundings.

  • White crown and face
  • Black plume extending from above and behind eye to beyond back of head
  • Brownish-buff neck with black-bordered white stripe down center of foreneck
  • Blue-gray back, wings and belly
  • Black shoulder
  • Shaggy neck and back plumes in alternate plumage
Length: 38 inches Wingspan: 70 inches
The largest and most widespread heron in North America,
the Great Blue Heron can be found along lakes and
streams at ponds and bogs.
They can be problematic at fish hatcheries.

Great Blue Herons are the largest herons in North America.
Average life span of Great Blue Herons is 15 years but more than half (69%)
of the herons born in a year will die before they become one year old.
Information gathered from and

The next few pictures really took us by surprise. We were
visiting a bog in Huntingdon County and saw something
standing in a cornfield behind the Canadian Geese.

We took pictures and zoomed in .... could it be??? Herons?

We counted 24 of them.
As we walked closer they took flight. Wow! What a sight that was.

I still don't understand why there were in this cornfield.

Back in Bedford County this Heron was next to the
road by a stream that ran through some farmland. He
had caught a fish and was standing on a log.

He stood still watching. His feathers were blowing
in the wind and he appeared as an 'old man'.
He seemed determined to wait us out as we snapped
picture after picture he just stood and glared at us.

If you double click and look closely you can see the fish in
his mouth. I think it was a fish.

Finally he did fly and I tried to get some shots of his
very large majestic wings.

When he landed it was half way up in a tall tree. I think
these birds look silly in trees, but that is actually where they
build nests and have young.

The Heron will stand straight with his head pointing
towards the sky. They look like a stick and often you
will miss seeing them, unless you have a trained eye.

Other times they will tuck their neck in and appear
to be a shorter heavier bird.

Geographic Range:
The great blue heron breeds throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean and Greater Antilles, and the Galapogos. Some populations migrate to the S. America during the winter months.

I'll leave you with perhaps one of the best pictures I have
taken of a Great Blue Heron. Shawnee Lake last year.
He has a cat fish in his mouth.


Bird Girl said...

You got some absolutely gorgeous great blue heron images! Wow! Very nice series, jalynn!

Jotter Jan said...

WOW girl...great Heron shots and great series!!!!!!!! Loved your BIF's too!!!! Puts my poor hurried Heron shots to shame. haha Way to go Jane!!!!

Jotter Jan said...

BTW...just loved your Heron shot of " the catch of the day"!

Greg C said...

Great, more Heron pictures. I think they were in the corn field looking for corn. :)

jalynn01 said...

Hi Greg,

Thank you for commenting on the herons maybe looking for corn. They seemed to be like statues when we saw them not moving at all, and then they flew, so I wondered about their purpose there.

Stacey Huston said...

Great photos as usual. Isn't it funny when you try to capture several different poses of an animal and they just give that statue immitation.. LOL ...Thanks for sharing

jalynn01 said...

Thanks Stacy,

You are the master at getting your subjects in unusual poses. I love it!

Marsha said...

These are all such wonderful photos and it is hard to pick a favorite. Are they migrating through this area or is there a rookery nearby? How wonderful to see that many in one place.

jalynn01 said...


Thank you for commenting.
They are migrating. From Pa to NC I have been seeing posts about herons. A lot of them will stay at our lakes here through the summer.

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HOA NGUYEN said...

It's a very nice big bird until one day it wiped out my Koi pond in one week. Also it destroyed all of the small bird nest around the area. I even see this big bird grab one of the baby bird on the tree and swallow it down. It may be a rare bird but if it population grow we will miss the sound of small birds chirping.

Mark Ackerman said...


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