Saturday, September 11, 2010

Herons at play on the Charles River

Great Blue Heron, Charles River, Needham/West Roxbury, MA

Great fun the past two weekends going out on a canoe with L & L, launching from the Nahanton Park location of Charles River Canoe & Kayak. Last weekend the water level was very low so we only made it a mile or so upstream (lots of sandpipers, though); today, the water level was high enough we could get all the way to Millennium Park.

Many many great blue herons, some more approachable than others. Of particular note, a pair upstream acting a bit peculiar. What exactly are they doing? Herons are elaborate dancers around mating time. Or is this parent-child begging behavior? [UPDATE: This would appear to be rather more aggressive territory defense behavior--funny, I've seen plenty of heron squabbles but they usually resolve more quickly and decisively.]

At any rate, as we approached, they stopped (seemingly a little embarrassed)

and struck up the pose we usually see.

What other things do herons do when they don't think we're watching?

I am an absolute canoe convert (big surprise). Favorite part: sandpiper flybys--much closer than the kind you get at beaches.

Here's a bonus yellowlegs from the trip last week.

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