Saturday, March 21, 2009

Returning home.

We went inland today, up the highway to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack. We've been there before, in summer, when the weather was warm but the nests of the heronry were empty, the young fledged and gone. We decided then to come back in March, when things were busy. And it is cold. Brrrr.

Herons were on their nests, having returned only recently. Males arrive first, claim a spot--often an old nest--and await the females. Once paired, they remain monogamous for the season, but choose a new mate each year.

One thing I hadn't considered, but which makes good sense, is that the area of the reserve nearest the colony would be closed off during nesting season. I had imagined returning home with heron shots up-close and personal, but from the nearest available viewing point (a blind a fair distance away), this was about the best one could do with a 300 mm lens. Fair enough.

We walked around the reserve, looking for signs of spring, which is really having a difficult time dragging itself out of bed this year. The Indian plums were starting to leaf out--barely--and some lakeside willows were starting to flower--barely, but for the most part, it looked more like like late February than this side of the equinox.

Closer to home (out the front window this morning), a luminous, lone Violet-green Swallow perched on a wire. This bird arrives in late March every year and sits there, waiting for me to open the blinds and rub my eyes.

How do I know it's the same bird? Same way he knows I'm the same human.


Cicero Sings said...

That first picture ... very familiar ... I must have one just like it. Before the Heron reserve ... one could get farily close ... but those trees are tall and unless one has a good camera ...

Also in those days, that property was owned and fenced off by the army ... their bridge building exercises took place there ... until the Sardis base closed and moved backk to Alberta.

Hugh said...

I had forgotten that it had been a bridge-building school. There aren't too many of those around anymore. They must have had very secret bridges.