Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Great Blue Heron Came for Breakfast!

Great Blue Heron visits my yard!

Looking out my window on Monday morning I just happened spot a large blue/gray bird walking along my upper backyard. I had to look twice because his head was almost as high as my bird feeder that was set in the ground at approximately 3' high!  I've seen this Great Blue Heron once before during one of his visits, but I didn't happen to have my camera nearby. If you were wondering what this amazing bird was doing in my yard? You guessed it - He was looking to eat my pond fish for breakfast!!

Luckily, the first time I saw him in my yard last year doing exactly the same thing, I put a black netting over the pond to protect my poor unsuspecting fish! I solved the one problem of keeping the herons out, but created another one by keeping the frogs in or out depending upon where they were when I put the netting up! So a few adjustments had to be made after several frogs needed rescuing from the net! It took a little time, but we've all become used to it.

Great Blue Heron keeping an eye on our fish pond!

            This big guy is just amazing to see in a backyard setting - with a height of 39"-52" and a wingspan of 5', he looked so large and out of place!  When he noticed that I had spotted him, he flew up to a branch at the edge of the lawn and patiently watched as I took pictures of him.

  Notice his lower chest feathers which look a bit shaggy - I believe he is an adult since the juveniles are not supposed to have this yet.  His long neck has a pinkish hue to it with a black and white streak down the center of it. His face is mostly white with a black cap on his head. His long thin legs and dagger-like beak are very long and yellowish in color - perfect for fishing!

Although his diet is mainly of fish, they also eat amphibians, and occasionally small mammals and birds. Crustaceans are also on his menu!

Common Yellowthroat-Geothlypis trichas
(Picture from wikipedia)

On the same day I saw the Great Blue Heron, I also had this cute little guy show up at my pond! I have never seen a Conmmon Yellowthroat in my yard before, so I was very excited to have both birds show up on the same day!! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera this time to take a picture so this picture is from wikipedia. They are so beautiful I just had to show a picture! The female doesn't have the black mask, but the males look lide little bandits!

They are much smaller in size than the Great Blue Heron, measuring in at 4 1/2" - 6" ht.
They are in the wood warbler family and have a charming song.
They love to eat insects, which I could definitely use in my garden!

Blooming along my woodland path this week are my beautiful purple native woodland phlox. I also have a pale pink variety. They are wonderful creeping plants that bloom with their flowers raised above their leaves!

Bishop's Cap - Mitella diphylla
Saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae)

This small unassuming plant can easily be overlooked, even when it  flowers, However, if you take
 a moment to look closer, you will be delighted with the
 magical little white flowers with fringed edges!

Variegated Solomon's Seal

Gorgeous graceful plants that have beautiful emerald
 green leaves with white edged variegation. The waxy white bells dangle in pairs off of red petioles. I started with one plant I purchased from a local nursery at least 24 years ago. I now have quite a few plants that have colonized in several different areas along my path. They are always a delight to see! 

We have used large logs for seating along our woodland path.

Another huge branch from an oak tree fell onto our stonewall and damaged several
 of our smaller trees. It was so large we decided to leave this large section to use as a bench
 along our woodland path.

Remember to take a break during your day
and enjoy the nature that surrounds you!!

 See You Next Week!!
Tracey :-)

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