Thursday, June 25, 2009

Big Birds Against the Sky


I remember being surprised the first time I saw a Great Blue Heron perched high above the river in a willow tree. Since then I have visited a local heronry several times and have watched pairs of these large birds nesting and mating on flimsy tree top branches. Still, I look twice when I see them them against the sky rather than wading at the water's edge.


The heron in the first picture stayed in one place for over an hour while I sat below and watched the owl and other birds at the swamp. Its mate perched on the very top of a pine tree a short distance away. I always think of flying dinosaurs when I watch herons in flight and their call sounds harsh and primitive.

Osprey Nest on the Grand River

Last year we watched a pair of Osprey build a large nest across the river from the hospital. They flew by many times with large sticks which they snapped off the tops of dead trees. After a lot of work, they abruptly left and abandoned the nest at the end of June. They have returned this year and possibly have eggs or young in the nest. Time will tell if they stay around this season.


The nest is built right above a walking trail and the birds seemed very upset when people approached their perch last summer. But this year, they appear more tolerant of pedestrian traffic. I stood behind some bushes to take these pictures of the male on the hydro post and the female on the nest.


A couple of days ago, the Snowbirds of the Canadian Armed Forces did a fly by through our city. Our small regional airport is close to the hospital and I heard they would be landing there at 10:20 AM. I took one of my patients outside with me and watched his surprise and delight as the nine planes passed overhead three times with a loud, loud roar.

Snowbirds

I visited Israel in 1977 and watched the Israeli armed forces patrolling the air space between their border and Jordan as we swam in the Dead Sea. The military was ever present on that trip, in great contrast to peace we often take for granted in Canada. Military aircraft raise no cause for alarm when we see them in our skies, and for that I am very grateful.

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23 comments:

  1. What great captures!

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  2. All great pictures and I really like the top and bottom ones.

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  3. I had the same reaction when I first saw a heron land in a tree. They do seem better suited to standing at water's edge and staring intently. ;) Your Snowbirds shot is my favorite one. Happy weekend!

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  4. Excellent captures, especially the last one with the Snowbirds.

    Have a great weekend
    Guy
    Regina In Pictures

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  5. That's a nice collection of big birds.The Herons do look out of place in a tree,but the Snowbirds look just perfect in the sky.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  6. aren't they such beautiful creatures.

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  7. These are great shots! The first shot is so beautiful with the heron against the bright blue...I have never seen herons in trees...I clicked over to your heronry post and enjoyed reading it also...Love the snowbirds shot...what a great capture...

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  8. Fantastic captures.
    Each and every one! :)
    Great series.

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  9. a wonderful post and the big birds were/are beautiful against the blue sky.
    thanks for sharing them

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  10. These are all wonderful photographs of our "local birds". I don't think I can or should choose a favourite, they are all great captures. I do admit I feel the same way when the GBH is in flight and annoyed at having to move! Thanks for sharing.
    Smiles

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  11. Great shots of the heron's. I have to say I do like the poses perched in the trees more then the water poses. It does give off a sort of "dinasour-like" feeling.

    Along with the "live" birds I also enjoy watching the mechnical birds. One of our favorite family outings is to watch the planes at Toronto airport. The past couple of years we have watched the snowbirds land and take off from Pearson for the annual airshow. You would be amazed how small they are. You captured a great formation pose of them.

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  12. Ruth,

    Great photos of the Great Blue Herons and the osprey. A portion of the trail here in town was closed this year because there were bald eagles nesting. How great is that?

    The boys were surprised a couple years back when we took the boat tour in Pt. Dover and saw herons nesting in the trees. The nests are magnificient.

    I enjoy watching the snowbirds perform. Precision flying is beautiful and these men are highly talented and skilled. I too am thankful that we don't have to be frightened when military planes take to the air here. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Mary

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  13. I love seeing those big birds in trees..cracks me up..dont they know they look funny up there?

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  14. I always thought the herons looked a little comical perched on small tree top branches. The Osprey are great. Maybe they were a young pair last year. Quite often they will rebuild a nest year after year. I'll bet that was a thrill for your patient. All great captures.

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  15. I love sky watching and it so nice to see something different in everyones photos. Yours are wonderful.

    Anne

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  16. Great snaps! Such beautiful birds. =)

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  17. Neat pictures Ruth. I've never seen a GBH rookery or one perched in a tree. I have seen osprey nests on high line poles, but only in the wintertime. It would be much more special to actually see the ospreys on that huge stick nest.

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  18. Sky Birds and Peace Thanks

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  19. I like your varied post, Ruth. I always like to see all kind of birds. Specially the photo's of the osprey and its impressive nest are great.
    Enjoy your weekend!

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  20. Beautiful pictures!! The first one is just so lovely and my second favourite is the snowbirds ;-)

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  21. Beautiful captures of the Heron, I liked the 2nd shot, the Heron stands out against the lovely blue skies. I felt the pose of the Heron seems more suited to a portrait composition in this one...Thomas

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  22. Thanks to all who took the time to visit and comment.

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  23. Wasn't Anne Murray Canadian? I remember she had a song titled snowbirds.

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