This, the morning of my first day of my vacation week was spent enjoying nature in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Doing what? Following the progress of the Great Blue Heron families at their rookery, of course! I arrived a little after 9:00 AM and it seemed the birds were only beginning to stir. There was a constant background noise –chattering amongst the birds– but not much activity in the air. As time passed birds began to take flight, seeking food for their burgeoning babies, and I watched with undiminished awe as they flew overhead.
The young birds, when they can be seen, appear to have adult feathers and markings and are hard to tell from their parents in the nests. It’s been close to a month since I was last at the rookery (blame weather and work) and at that time I’d seen no chicks at all. Today there were birds everywhere. Adults were making regular food runs to nearby wetlands, ponds, and streams. The parents could also be seen, on occasion, carrying nesting materials, most likely for making repairs.
At the nearby “Beaver Marsh” area of the national park area, I watched for herons fishing. I’d seen one earlier and had hiked to a spot I thought might provide a better view. Just as I spotted the bird, it took off but possibly not because of me. In hot pursuit was a relatively tiny Redwinged Blackbird! The redwings inhabit the marsh in great numbers and are constantly squabbling over territory there. It seems, however, that NO interloper is to be tolerated: the tiny black bird chased the big adult heron, even physically strafing it before turning back towards home.