Reader photos: Ashland Pond great blue herons

Great Blue Herons in their nest near Ashland Pond. Linda Koski photo
June 21, 2022

Birds’ nest has beauty — plus drama!

By Linda Koski

I was visiting friends in Ashland for one week this June. Being a bird and nature photographer, I went to check out Ashland Ponds. To my delight there was a great blue heron nest in one of the dead trees near Bear Creek.

Great Blue Herons in their nest near Ashland Pond. Linda Koski photo

There are three large juveniles. Thanks to other birders I met on my two visits, I learned that a fourth baby had been bullied out of the nest and died. Likely it was the youngest and too small to compete for food. I will say the sibling antics reminded me of The Three Stooges, loud and aggressive.

Great Blue Herons in their nest near Ashland Pond. Linda Koski photo

On my last visit on June 16 it was close to dusk when mom arrived to feed the chicks. The wide wingspan (5.5 to 6.6 feet) makes for quite a sight. One juvenile stepped out of the nest to allow room for the ensuing fight. The other two squabbled and made quite a racket as mom patiently looked on. Mom stayed barely 2 minutes but regurgitated food to both chicks and finally into the bottom of the nest.

The younger, less aggressive, chick came into the nest towards the end and ate. They will fledge soon and the parents will teach them where and how to catch food. It’s a wonderful glimpse into nature, so take a walk around the pond, bring your binoculars and/or long lens camera.

As with all wildlife it is important to observe only, without disturbing them. I will have fond memories of this visit as our friends toured us throughout the lovely area, but photographing the Great Blue Heron nest was a real highlight!

Linda Koski
San Jose, California

Email your photos taken in and around Ashland to betling@ashland.news. Be sure and include the names of people in the photo (if any, from left to right and front to back), where and when taken and by who, and what’s going on in the photo.

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