This is a Great Blue Heron rookery located on the banks of Hickory Creek near Old Alton Bridge. At the height of summer, with the tree full of leaves, the rookery is just barely visible by looking west from the bridge. I caught a glimpse of it on an earlier visit to the park, and decided to make it my goal my next time out.
Google Maps shows that this tree is just one of several in the same general area being used by the herons. The nesting sites are separated from each other by at least 100 yards/meters, which makes this rookery very spread out. I only visited one tree this time out, but our dry conditions makes the entire rookery accessible for observation—at least more so than under more normal conditions.
As I approached the rookery, I found the tree occupied by a pair of Turkey Vultures and a lone Black Vulture. These birds were only using the tree as a staging area as they waited for the morning thermals to develop and gain in strength. Soon the vultures took to the air, spiraled high into the sky, and then headed off for their daily forage.
Of course, the Great Blue Herons had finished with their breeding activities for the year weeks earlier, so there were none present when I made my visit. But, starting late next February the herons will return and this should become a very busy place.
|Date||–||Sep 7, 2013|
|Time of Day||–||Morning|
|Temperature||–||Hot (greater than 89°F/32°C)|
|Type of Behavior||–||Nesting|
|Main Article||–||Great Blue Heron||Observation Location|