My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Sinking Ponds and a Great Blue Heron

Published July 16, 2011
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Great Blue Heron, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, American Goldfinch, Gray Catbird, American Robin, Northern Flicker, Sinking Ponds, East Aurora, NY

Sinking Ponds in East Aurora, NY, is a small, secluded spot with a nice mixture of deciduous forest, fields, and pond life. I've been there a couple of times now, the first time was with my son but without my camera.  Since that trip a couple of months ago, I've been meaning to get back there WITH my camera!

I decided this morning that today was the day and I headed out early, hoping to see the Great Blue Heron that my son and I saw the last time. As I slowly made my way along the path under the canopy of trees that encircles the pond, I enjoyed a couple of tender "bird moments". A pair of Northern Cardinals were nervously tending their fledglings who appeared to be a little panicky at being outside the nest. I got a few photos of the young ones and moved along in case my presence was adding to the parents' agitation. They were awfully cute, though - I would've liked to have lingered a little longer! Shortly after that, I came upon an American Robin's nest and got to watch the parents feeding their incessantly, chirping, hungry little ones. The nest was low enough to where I had a good view of the babies' open beaks.

When I came to my destination on the far side of the pond, I set up my tripod in hopes of seeing the heron. I waited a long time, maybe an hour and a half - sitting quietly beside the water and enjoying the serenity of a gorgeous morning.  It promised to be a hot one, but it was cool by the water in the shade. There wasn't much activity, just an unexpected fly-by of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, an unseen but close call of a Northern Flicker, a few American Goldfinches who paused nearby - as well as a slow turtle sunning himself on a log in the pond. Oh, a short bit of excitement presented itself when one of the many, many Red-winged Blackbirds went after a Red-tailed Hawk.  I was so surprised at its bravery and persistence!  I'm not sure what the hawk did to deserve those advances, but the blackbird was successful and left unharmed.

As I stiffly rose to pack up and leave, the heron suddenly swooped-in and landed in the pond at an area to my right, slightly obscured by some tall cattails. I was thrilled! I quickly abandoned all thoughts of leaving and started photographing my splendid subject. He / she was aware of my presence, but for some reason, allowed me to follow him as he carefully stepped and fished, stepped and fished, stepped and fished. I kept a respectful distance, moved slowly, and was rewarded with some very nice views!
bird photo
One of the Northern Cardinals - did it leave its nest prematurely?
bird photo
Female Red-winged Blackbird; there were great numbers of them at this place
bird photo
This turtle was enjoying sunning himself
bird photo
A Red-winged Blackbird attacks (or at least chases) a Red-tailed Hawk
bird photo
The Great Blue Heron swoops in
bird photo
What a splendid creature - what a massive wing span!
bird photo
Fishing along the pond's edge
bird photo
Ruffling its feathers
bird photo
Squawking - that's the only word I could come up with to describe its odd honky - squonky sound
bird photo
Stabbing for a fish; I never DID get to see it catch one!