Saturday, February 25, 2012

Herons in the Shallows

It won't be long before the herons are back. Ardea herodias is theoretically a year-round resident in Southwestern Nova Scotia, but it's very unusual to see them here in January or February. When spring arrives, though, so do the herons; we'll start to see them wading in the shallows, making quick lunges to catch small fish swimming past. Herons tend to be shy and are startled by loud noises or sudden movements -- they'll take to wing when frightened and their broad wings, spanning up to six feet, will carry them quickly away. It's often late autumn or early winter before we see the last of them, with ice forming along the shoreline and on pools in the marshes.

These birds can be found in Newfoundland as well, although the salt marsh that forms their principal habitat can be scarce there so herons are confined mostly to the southwestern area of the island. I'll be glad to see the herons return, since when they make an appearance in the shallows, spring can't be far behind.

1 comment:

  1. We have a few back now and a few that have stayed all winter -- great to see them. Red-winged blackbirds are another of our spring's comin' birds. I think I saw one the other day, but not sure. I love the etheral image you posted with this.