Furtive Great Blue Heron

15 November, 2020 Furtive Great Blue Heron

Furtive Great Blue Heron

Some birds around here are sneaky. You can hear yellow billed cuckoos or eastern towhees all day long and never lay eyes on one. Great blue herons – at least before today – are not sneaky birds. But the flooded James River sent Mackey and Turner and Yuki and me over to Bryan Park this morning, and I suppose this heron was not used to our unsubtle approach. It slunk into that dense thicket – in the direction of water – as we approached. In my experience they’re showy and leggy and if they don’t like the company they either wade into deeper water or flap those big wings and fly away. But this one was furtive. A first in my experience.  

I was going to call this blog post “Old friends and new.” Great blue herons are so un-subtle, I see them every week. But we had our first ever Pine siskins (Spinus pinus) appear on our feeders Thursday. Very exciting! We had a lot – easily a dozen, possibly more. This is the only decent image I got – they caught me off guard: 

First pine siskin I’ve ever laid eyes on. Yay!

If you’re in Richmond, you’re aware our big river is much bigger than normal. A normal day when we’re hiking the river is around four or five feet deep. It crested around midnight last night solidly over eighteen feet. Which means the entire trails and parking lot were under two feet of water or more. So we went to Bryan Park: 

Fun in the sun at Bryan Park

There was still a gardenia blooming on Cary Street Tuesday afternoon! 

Blooming gardenia on November 10! Crazy!

Pine siskins weren’t (obviously) the only birds on our feeders this week. We have lots of goldfinches, and the bluebird dropped in – always a treat: 

Bluebirds returning more frequently:

I should have gotten them to pose for this picture – they were sweet together. But Yuki was over here for a little while after our hike today. They touched noses and were very kind to one another and interested in what the other had to communicate. Or so it appeared: 

Meeting of the minds:

Speaking of mid-November flowers, I photographed this rosebud in our backyard this afternoon. The forecast is for a hard frost Wednesday and Thursday morning but we’ll see: 

Rose – photographed today!

I’m looking forward to getting back on the riverbank! 

Have a great week, 


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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4 Responses to Furtive Great Blue Heron

  1. Nate says:

    That Great Blue Heron must have some Snipe in him.

  2. Mary V. Morton says:

    My Mom’s spirit. I see them all the time in the Wyoming summer.

    • Hi MV! I am SO happy to hear from you! I recall – many many years ago in Montana – you telling me that. It had slipped my mind but now I think of it whenever I see one. They’re a pretty steady year-round visitor here. I’m surprised how often I see them perched in trees – really high up, like fifty feet off the ground. I took a picture of one eating a frog last summer and it was published in Virginia Wildlife magazine! Have a great day, it’s excellent to “hear” from you – it’s been some time! Thank you for the note!

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