Monday, March 25, 2013

Stanley Park Herons revisited.

I took my family to Stanley Park to see the herons.  There were more birds on the nests than when I had been there on March 8. Every so often another would arrive squawking proudly, presenting a stick to its prospective mate.

"Look what I have brought for you my dear."

"Oh, how lovely, a stick!"

It was sunnier and warmer than on the previous visit, and not only were the herons more active, so were the humans, the ones playing tennis.

 Blue blobs contain the trees with heron nests.

This is what makes this heron colony supremely odd.  It is intermingled with clusters of tennis courts, 18  in all.  Tennis is an extremely noisy activity, especially since it is now expected that you grunt or holler as loudly as possible whenever you whack the ball.

As all this whacking, grunting and hollering is going on, the herons remain stoically motionsless on their nests a few meters away--until someone arrives with another stick.  After ten or fifteen seconds of high emotion, things settle down in the tree tops whilst down below the grunting, etc., continues unabated.

I can't figure out which is more peculiar: that the herons completely ignore the tennis players, or that the tennis players completely ignore the herons.

And why don't the people in the nearby apartments who complain about the heron squawking not give a hoot about the grunting?

I am exquisite.  I will bring you a fresh stick, my love.

View from near center court.


Lea said...

Beautiful birds!
That's very interesting - they nest so close to people and ignore all the noise. There is a marshy area a few miles from where I live. There is a great blue Heron there, but it is very shy of people. I've been trying to get a good photo all Spring. Not much luck yet. Perhaps if I had a better zoom lens... or a tennis court!
Have a wonderful day!
Lea's Menagerie
Mississippi, USA

Hugh said...

Hi Lea. You could try the tennis court approach, but it might not pan out. I think the herons here have become conditioned to coping with a large human population. They aren't tame, but have figured out we aren't much of a threat, and have learned to take advantage of our vulnerabilities. If you create a koi pond in your yard, you won't have one for long. Soon you will just have a pond.

biobabbler said...

=) I'd MUCH prefer wildlife grunting than humans grunting, esp. as I (old schooler) see tennis grunting as just another way to chest beat and am thus underwhelmed by said sport grunter.

I did hear strange gruntings outside a few summers ago during a 3 a.m. potty run. Wondered why a dog was so happy to make so much noise right by our house, then went back to bed.

Turned out it was a black bear eating the garbage it'd scraped out of our storage shed by converting the shed to a shred. Peeled the side wall OFF (100% ignored the door) and proceeded to eat his/her summer-heat ripened meal. Now THAT is a kind of macho that earns good grunting.

Hugh said...

bb: You live in a fun place.

I would like to see tennis players vs. bears.

Patricia Lichen said...

I do so like the way your mind works...

Hugh said...

Thank you Pat. It sputters a bit though, needs a tune-up.