Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great Blue Herons

During our walk the other morning at John Chestnut, Jr Park, we noticed several Great Blue Herons nesting in the pines across an inlet on Lake Tarpon.

There was quite a lot of activity with this pair. As we watched, we saw the male (I presume) flying back and forth gathering nesting material and bringing it back to the female so she could build the nest. This is just one of the many hand offs. At one point, he joined her in the nest and they were both weaving the twigs into this huge nest. We watched them with interest for quite a while.

Unlike most of these long-legged waders, Great Blue Herons do not roost with other birds. They are usually solitary. It seems it must be different during nesting season, because there were several pairs in these trees. As a matter of fact, at one point, we saw 2 Herons on the nest, while one watched from the position of the one pictured in this photo.

I only had my trusty 55-250mm lens, so this is a crop from the original. I thought it important to the photo to include the nest in the scene. This image was shot at ISO 400, in aperture priority mode with partial metering off the birds. It was exposed at F5.6 at 1/250 to get a high enough shutter speed to stop action to prevent blurring, since it was pretty dark up in the trees.
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