This Great Blue Heron pair at their nest site is beyond the ability of my camera to capture, but if you peer into left of center, you will see a blue-gray shape hunched over a stick nest. The one on the top right had just snapped a large twig off a nearby deciduous tree and delivered it to its mate, who was busy arranging the furniture when this photo was taken.
My birding buddy and mentor, Suzanne, and I have teamed up in volunteering for a 7-month survey of these birds in our county for the NJ Fish and Wildlife Division, Endangered and Nongame Species. It was our first reconnaissance trip of the four areas we will be monitoring. Only three formal reports will be required; however, I already have a notebook organized to record far more than they are asking for, just because I love doing this kind of thing. You never know if they may want to know what other birds were around at the time, or what the temperature was, or what we ate for lunch.
No doubt you have seen these birds. Great Blue Herons are not uncommon. They look like flying vestiges of Archaeopteryx, the dinosaur from it is believed birds have evolved. It is the largest and most widespread of its family in North America and is usually found in wetland environments. Lucky for us that we are on the look-out for a bird that is FOUR FEET TALL and not a warbler the size of a potato chip.
Being birders, we discovered some rarities during our travels. I am certain NJ Fish and Wildlife would want to know about these: