Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Break from Quilts -- Visit to the Sterling Nature Center

My neighbors had told me about an article in our local paper a week ago Sunday about a Blue Heron rookery located about an hour from here near Lake Ontario.  It is called the Sterling Nature Center and is in Cayuga County.  Earlier in the week when I was going cross-eyed uploading quilt pictures, I took a break one beautiful afternoon to visit this sanctuary.  It was well worth the trip!!  This swamp was created by the local beavers and the dead trees according to the article are ash trees.  I counted thirty Blue Heron nests but the article said there were forty and they were close together!!  This is so unlike the Blue Heron who is such a solitary bird that you can keep them away from your fish ponds by putting a statue of a blue heron there.  It works in reverse, however, in the spring when they are mating and then they don't seem to mind raising their young in close proximity!

You can see seven nests in this picture alone which gives you a little idea of how far away I was.  There was a lovely little bench to sit on and watch.

 Mama or dad came by to feed four of the "babies".  This was probably the largest number I saw in one nest and they looked like they were ready to flee at any time.  You can see how big they are already.  Amazing how much they grew in the one week from when Joe took his pictures!

While I was watching, many tree swallows were whizzing by and one even dipped into the water.  They move sooo fast, they are hard to photograph.  

When I first got there, an adult Bald Eagle flew over off in the distance.  Later I noticed this very large black bird with lots of white underfeathers and thought it might be a juvenile Bald Eagle as it was so dark.   It was!
Here is another closer picture of the Eagle as he flew over.  It is so nice to have seen so many of these birds in different areas over the past couple of years.  Hopefully, they will make it back to my list of "trash" birds soon (ones that are so common, you don't take their picture anymore).  They are so elegant, it is hard to imagine I won't keep snapping though!

On my way back to my car, I stopped at the Dragonfly Pond to sit and watch the Canada Geese with their goslings.
 This Blue Winged Teal was swimming around on the far side of the pond.

Earlier I had seen him take off and here you can see the blue that gives him his name!

I was using my camera to scan the edge of the pond on the far side and spotted these very well camouflaged Hooded Mergansers, mom and three or four little Mergansers who were already getting their combs.

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