Sign of Spring: Nesting

Here are my photos for Saturday Snapshot April 20.

Spring is always a slow emergence for us. There’s still snow on some trails, and no green leaves or flowers for another month. But a sure sign of spring is birds nesting.

Canada Geese scouting for nesting spots and guarding them closely:

Guarding the nest

And here’s one well nestled inside a tree:

Canada Goose inside tree

This one just wants to show off as spring spirit unfurls.

Showing off

Remember the Papa Great Horned Owl I spotted a month ago? Just last week I saw Mama Owl nesting in the cavity of a dead tree, poking out just enough for me to take her picture. Other birdwatchers told me there were several young ones. Hopefully soon I’ll get to see them come out.

Owl nesting

But nothing compares to the utter joy of seeing the Great Blue Herons yesterday. I had never thought I would see them right here in Alberta. But I found them following some directions to their nests, had to watch them from afar though as we were separated by The Bow River:

Great Blue Heron nests from afar

About a dozen nests high up on the trees:

Great Blue Heron Nests

My patience paid off as I waited and finally saw the Herons come out of their nests. Just to stretch their legs:

Great Blue Heron Flying

Just stretching

Just stretching the legs

Again, from afar, they were black against the pale blue sky, too far for me to see clearly. Not until after I uploaded onto my computer and cropped them could I see a bit of their details. They look magical, albeit still blurry.

And yes, they are blue:

Pale blue


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Click Here to see what others have posted.


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If sheโ€™s not birding by the Pond, Artiโ€™s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

38 thoughts on “Sign of Spring: Nesting”

  1. You skills of observation amaze me! Especially those little heads poking out of the trees. I am in awe. Is there anything lovelier than a heron in flight? I’m not sure — they are so graceful, so elegant. I saw Harry the other day — and I knew that spring wouldn’t be too far behind, even though today it seems a long ways away! It seems like only a year or so that you have been shooting these bird images — I have to say you have the eye and every photo shows growing mastery. Bravo.


    1. Jeanie,

      I started birding last September, taking the Autumn Birdwatching course. On that first outing, I only had my iPhone on me to take photos. You can see what an idiot I was. Now I carry a 200mm tele lens but still feel inadequate. Others in my group bring along tripods and 400mm teles, their photos are out of this world. I know what’s on my Christmas wish list this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. We’re having a very, very, slow spring this year and it’s getting frustrating as we are not used to this. One good thing is there are no leaves on the trees to obstruct the view of the migrant birds.

    I have never seen a goose in a tree before. Wood Ducks, yes, but not geese! The Herons are fascinating. Hope you get a chance to go back and see the parents feed the young… or even better, see them when they fledge. I have a Great Horned Owl nest today too. My owls took over an abandoned hawks nest making it easy for us to see the owlets.


    1. Leslie,

      We’re used to slow emergence of spring. Today’s forecast is snow later this afternoon. Glad I drove out to find the Great Blue Herons yesterday. Since they’re only here temporary, will fly away soon after their young ones are ready, think I’ll go again to visit them before they leave. It was a joy finding them. The Geese, yes, they were around the trees… quite a sight.


  3. Wonderful shots Arti! Love seeing that owl and the herons in flight! We have nests here in my community that look identical to yours. It’s great to go and watch them…


    1. Ellen,

      That’s what I thought all along that Great Blue Herons are found only along the west coast. So you can see how excited I was to find these nests relatively close to my City. I had to drive south of the city but not too far.


  4. We have a Blue Heron Rookery near our house and this time of year I get such a kick because we can see these great birds sitting on their nests. I’d guess there are 40 of them in near proximity to each other. Fun. I really like the photo of the Canadian Goose in the tree peering out.


    1. Anne,

      The Canada geese I can see often, the owls stay and I know where their home is, but the Great Blue Herons are migratory. They’ll be gone in a few weeks. I’m so fortunate seeing them here this time.


    1. Alyce,

      I’ve never seen them here in my area. I think I saw one when I was in the B.C. coast some years ago. So this is truly a great find for me.


    1. Suko,

      Truth is, it takes special lens to capture them from so far away. It was very far, my 200mm was barely enough to capture them. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Christine,

      Do you have blue herons in your area? They’re not common here in my province. More in the B.C. coast. That’s why I was really excited to find them.


    1. Melissa,

      There are a lot of Geese nesting in my area now. But the Herons are rare… for me anyway. Thanks for stopping by the pond here and leaving your comment and a link to your photos.


  5. Great pictures- and what a wonderful discovery to find the herons. I always enjoy seeing Canada Geese, we watched a movie about Canada Geese for our family movie night this week-Fly Away Home, it was lovely actually.


    1. lameadventures,

      This is the first time I see them, and from so far away. Yes, it was an exciting sighting. Thanks for stopping by the pond. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. It is cold and still snowy here too but the birds are indeed nesting which is a good sign. Heron’s are fabulous birds. I’ve seen them here a few times and am always surprised at how big they are.


    1. Stefanie,

      I was miles away almost, but looking at their nests, yes, I could tell they were huge birds. Hope I can have another chance to see them before they migrate.


    1. nikkipolani,

      The one you see in the pic is the mother. The little ones are still inside. Yesterday, I went there again saw a birder who had set up a tripod and big telelens not far from the tree, waiting for the owlets to come out.


  7. These are wonderful photos, Arti. My son is a budding ornithologist at age 10! I was briefly into bird watching too a few years ago and now taking up the interest again with my son. We have to yet do birding activities with the local Audubon society and I am looking forward to those..


    1. LadyInRead,

      That’s great that you can go birding with your son. It’s such an enjoyable activity. I only started last Sept. and as you can see, I’m hooked. You can find my birding photos in many of my “Saturday Snapshots” posts. You’re welcome to go through them, just give you an idea what kind of birds we have here in Southern Alberta.


    1. Diane,

      You mean the Herons? or Geese? Anyway, I was quite surprised to see a Canada Goose inside a tree trunk. It’s just hilarious … but we were very quite and not laughed out loud so not to scare her.


  8. I know spring has arrived in Los Angeles when I hear the tiny peeping of baby sparrows from inside street signs, when I hear the hissing of mockingbirds defending their real estate or when Boyfriend informs me that the mourning doves are nesting in his garage once more (the last is in the affirmative – two babies are trying out their wings already).

    Whenever we see geese or herons or ‘think’ we hear an owl – we stop everything and just enjoy the sights and sounds these marvelous creatures are willing to grant us.


    1. Aubrey,

      Yes, I think spring is here to stay. We got up to close 20C today, but of course, this is only temporary. It will get colder before we actually get spring in its full form. However, I don’t mind, because the birds are everywhere. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!


  9. Incredible, Arti! All those nests, and the birds themselves, and your photos. So wonderful. Spring is taking a long time getting here too. Maybe snow tonight! It was great to “see” you again in my comment box! Love.


    1. Ruth,

      Yes, I’ve taken up birding since last September. A whole new world opened to me. Thanks for stopping by. Despite our infrequent ‘sighting’ of each other in the blogosphere, I haven’t forgotten the blue farm buildings and the beautiful environs and the lovely grandchild over at your place. And of course, the poetry in the Washed Stones.


  10. I had no idea that geese would nest in a tree. Owls, yes. Woodpeckers, sure. But the geese? I had them somewhere else – maybe a nest in high brances, like the herons.

    I’ve never seen a blue heron nesting, despite the fact that they’re everywhere around here. They probably aren’t our most common water bird – the various egrets have them outnumbered, I ‘d say – but they certainly are common. I do love them.

    I think your photo of the nesting goose is my favorite. She looks like she’s playing peek-a-boo!


    1. Linda,

      Yes, the Herons will ultimately leave and fly away, maybe in another few weeks. I just might drive out there (it’s out of City limits) again to say good bye. It’s really great that you have so many shorebirds in close proximity.


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