Great Blue Heron Rookery

Karla and I went to Shutes Branch on Saturday with Kevin Menck, artist extraordinaire (I linked his name to his web site so you can see what I mean) and friend from way back.  I tagged along to take photos while he helped Karla with painting techniques.

Even though we drive by this place regularly, I didn’t realize the island had grown into such a large rookery!  Just click on the montage below to see the larger version and scroll across. Can you count the Great Blue Herons?

Great Blue Heron Rookery

All the Shutes birds here are tame and expect to be fed by people so getting close for photos is fairly easy.  The following are just some of the birds that live the good life in this place.


I think the bird below is a hybrid, but if somebody knows more please enlighten me.  I just named her Miss Mallard.
Miss Mallard

Miss Mallard 2


Red-breasted Nuthatch & Friends

Please welcome bird number 76 on our bird page; the Red-breasted Nuthatch.  This one finally decided to show itself after making me wait for years!  According to Cornell, my favorite bird resource, these guys will actually use tree bark as a tool to plaster resin around their nest holes.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Can you see the girl in the photo to the left?  With the camo she is sporting, she owns that tree!  Yellow-bellied sapsuckers will also own your gutter, tin roof or other acoustical property for use as their personal percussion instrument.  There ain’t much you can do about it!

Last year’s YBS pictured in my Feb 2011 post was a male. You can tell by the additional  red coloring below his beak. Each year, they return to this same maple in our back yard.  This Maple is adjacent to the 90 foot Elm that fell (Shown in March’s post).  I’m glad our Sapsucker’s tree was spared!


Tufted Titmouse

These birds are frequently seen with Chickadees and Wood Peckers. So, it seems fitting that they are all hanging out together in this post.

Tufted Titmice often line the inner cup of their nest with hair, sometimes plucked directly from living animals. The list of hair types identified from old nests includes raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans. This fact is courtesy of Cornell Labs whose researchers meticulously gathered and tested all that nest hair!

Carolina Chickadee

Last, and not least, is the Nuthatches’ mate, the Carolina Chickadee. This Chickadee was protecting the ladybug- I think. Anyway, no ladybugs were harmed that I know of, but I had to leave shortly after taking this shot.

What the Heron Saw, 2013 Calendar

I know you are wondering what kind of critter it is in the photo and where you can get one. This old rusty truck somehow just drove itself onto this post -all the way from Durango, Colorado!  There’s just no stopping a determined old truck.

And… here’s how you can get one! This vintage1946 Ford is our patriotic July model in this year’s What the Heron Saw 2013 calendar.  Just get in touch with Karla or myself if you would like to have a truck like this in your 2013 calendar.

I’ve ordered the same quality wire-bound thick paper as last year and have a bulk order on the way so that folks can buy it from us for $16 rather than Lulu’s each price.

Below is the list of photos for each month. [Click HERE for’s previews.] All photos are from our awesome back yard except where noted.

Jan: Eastern Bluebird
Feb: Cyprus Silhouettes (Reelfoot Lake)
Mar:  Male & Female Red-shouldered Hawks in Nest
Apr: Red-shouldered Hawk Chicks, Red-eared Slider Turtle, Bald  Eagle in Flight
May: Fawn, Deer Family, Giant Mouse chases Mini-Tiger
Jun: Osprey (Vallecito Lake, CO), Rusty Blackbird, Beaver Tail Slap Splash
Jul: 1946 Ford Truck
Aug: Tree Swallows Courting, Green Heron in Flight, Pie-billed Grebe
Sep: Osprey in flight
Oct: Buddy’s Boat, Crow with Acorns in Flight,  Crows Chasing Hawk – abstract
Nov: Great Blue Heron diving for prey on a foggy morning
Dec: Northern Flicker, Great Blue Heron in field of wheat, White Christmas Goose

Public Lands Day

It was a fun day and I always come back feeling good about what we get done! I think Paul says it best in his email which I have copied below, but I’ll also mention a thanks to Paul for his tenacity in getting us organized.

Here is a salute and word of appreciation for Dave Murphy, Larry Price, Syd and Karla Phillips, Jeff and Delores Goold for helping to clean up the shoreline of Old Hickory Lake, removed several trees than had fallen on the trails and cleaning out invasive shrubs by the lower trail near the lake. Syd took out a truck load of litter and junk for disposal.  This is a good time for all to be hiking the trails.

Friends of the Point Picnic

Friends of the Point

What a nice evening!  Perfect weather, good neighbors, good food and many neighbors with personal Alaska experience!  Karla and I are envious and look forward to when we can also talk about our adventures in the North.

Many thanks to all for the good eats and to Paul and Corinne for their work into getting the shelter house ready for us.  There are probably others to whom I owe thanks and I just don’t know it.

Also, my apologies to Paul, Corinne, Byron, Pam & Karla for making them listen to me recite The Raven before departing.  It’s rather long ain’t it?

I look forward to seeing everyone again at 9:00 AM for next Saturday’s Public Lands Day. Paul says we’ll meet at the point and divide the work from there.

Below are a few photos from this morning’s adventure.

Great Egret