A Siege of Herons 
 
Seeking the collective noun for a number of herons, I found both "sedge" and "siege," and while "sedge" makes more sense (as a venue where herons might be found), "siege" seemed more appropriate to the photos I recently shot of a heron rookery, where 80-90 nests are home to many herons and their broods.
 
 
 
These are Great Blue Herons, though their color is more gray than blue, even on a sunny day. They have chosen this site because of the cluster of tall dead trees, a result of beaver damming many years ago. The trees still stand in the middle of a shallow pond, perfect for frog fishing.
 
 
 
I am standing on a viewing platform constructed by a local conservation society. The long gap in the trees at left represents a power line that marches silently through the landscape. Large suburban houses encroach to the left behind me, but the land in this view is protected from development.
 
 
 
Lacking a serious telephoto lens, I could not really get up in the herons' business - but you can see from here that they enjoy a densely populated condo lifestyle. I counted up to five in a nest. The full-time residency will decrease as the young are fledged, and they will all fly south in August.
 
 
 
Great Blue Herons are serially monogamous, choosing new mates each breeding season. They may return to the same nesting ground and even the same nest year after year, rebuilding and expanding as required. I'm curious (and ignorant) about the interrelatedness of the herons in the rookery.
 
 
 
I was unable to get close-up shots of herons gracefully swooping about, but here you can at least see one far heron on the wing, heading homeward (top right corner). Their landings on the nest are a sight to behold - wings ballooning back, feet daintily reaching forward.
 
 
 
Eventually the "siege city" of tall dead trees will fall into the wetland, and wilderness will reclaim the herons' home. But meanwhile another beaver will dam a stream to flood a forest glade... and another siege of herons will settle to nest again.
 
 
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