|Early Spring Birding in Midwest USA - Part 2
Heron Rookery in Ohio
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A male great blue heron picked up a long stick and was flying and carrying the long stick to its nest high up on
the tree top in a heron rookery (also called Herony) in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, USA on March
2, 2011. The Great Blue Heron is also a big bird with a wingspan of 6 feet. Great Blue Herons typically breed
in colonies containing a few to several hundred pairs. Nest building begins in February when a male chooses a
nesting territory and actively displays to attract a female. The large nest is usually built high up in a tree. The
male gathers sticks for the female who constructs a platform nest lined with small twigs, bark strips, and
We toured Cuyahoga Valley National Park on March 2, 2011 on our way driving from New Jersey to Chicago in
Illinois. Seeing just one of such big birds is already quite exciting to most bird watchers, here we saw hundreds
of great blue herons busily working on their nests to get ready to raise their baby herons in next couple months.
It is a fantastic experience to see so many great blue heron pairs in action at the same place.
Map: Click here to see a Google Map showing location of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio
This heron is sitting on the nest, may be hatching eggs.
This pair of herons is mating on the nest.
The following movie clip that I took shows a strange behavior of a pair of herons on the nest. The female heron
uses its long bill to peck at the male heron many times. I do not know if this is part of their spring mating
courtship behavior or if the female is telling the male that it is not good to come back empty handed! Go to get
more sticks for me to build our nest!
A closer view of a great blue heron on the nest
Another great blue heron in flight in the area of the heron rookery.
I took a movie clip of a male great blue heron carrying a stick to its nest on tree top and gave the stick to the
female heron for the female heron to arrange the stick into the nest as shown on the following YouTube
This heron rookery is very close to a busy road, W. Bath Road, such that we hear very loud highway noise
from the busy highway vehicular traffic running on W. Bath Road in this movie clip. This heron rookery is
unusual in the sense that it is so close to a busy road, can tolerate so much vehicular traffic noise and so many
visitors getting so close to watch them, without being abandoned by the herons.
Many heron nests on several large sycamore trees in this heron rookery
A view from the boardwalk down into the bottom of the Brandywine Falls Gorge. There is a second boardwalk
with many steps to go down to the lower level of the gorge to get a different perspective of the Brandywine
More views of the busy herons in the heron rookery.
A pair of great blue heron working on their nest on the tree. In early spring, there are no leaves on these trees
yet such that we can see the activities of these herons on the trees clearly.
A heron flew down to the ground level to look for a stick to carry back to its nest on tree top.
The following movie clip shows that a heron was stealing a stick from an unattended nest to bring the stolen
stick back to its own nest:
The boardwalk on the upper edge of the gorge for visitors to go from the visitor parking lot to reach the
observation platform for Brandywine Falls.
A pair of herons working on their nest
W. Bath Road at the southern border of Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. The heron rookery is on
several tall sycamore trees to the right of W. Bath Road. Visitors just park their cars on the pull-out parking
area on the left side of this picture and watch hundreds of herons in action here without having to do any hiking.
Bath Road heron rookery is located on W. Bath Road between Akron Peninsula Rd and Riverview Roads in
Bath Township in Ohio.
Map: Click here to see a Google Map showing location of this heron rookery
For GPS navigator, one can set the destination as either the intersection of W. Bath Road & Akron Peninsular
Road or intersection of W. Bath Road & Riverview Road in Bath Township in Ohio.
In addition to the first heron rookery described above, there is a second heron rookery in Cuyahoga Valley
National Park in Brecksville, Ohio as shown in the following YouTube website
This second heron rookery or Pinery Narrows heron rookery is located on the west side of the Cuyahoga
River, 1/2 mile north of the Station Road Bridge Trailhead. View this heron rookery from the Towpath Trail by
following the trail 1⁄2-mile north of the Station Road Bridge in Brecksville, Ohio 44141 . (Riverview Rd &
Chippewa Rd, Brecksville).
After we finished watching the heron rookery in Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio on March 2, 2011, we drove
north to the lake shore in northern Ohio of Lake Erie on March 3, 2011 to watch more and different kinds of
birds. The picture above shows 5 of many canvasbacks on the water on both sides of the causeway to Cedar
Point Amusement Park.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Causeway of Cedar Point Amusement Park
During such cold weather in early spring of March 3, 2011, there were no visitors in the Amusement Park, but
there were lots of busy waterfowl and busy gulls catching small fish on both sides of the Causeway. I took a
movie clip of these busy birds in action as shown in the following YouTube website:
Many birds in action on both sides of Causeway (Cedar Point Drive).
A close up view of a canvasback
Close up view of another kind of waterfowl (may be Lesser Scaup)
Several different kinds of waterfowl.
Zoom in for a closer view of many gulls on icy shore of Lake Erie
Many water fowl in icy cold water of Lake Erie near Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve in northern Ohio in early
spring of March 3, 2011.
The bald eagle was catching something on the ground to eat. The bald eagle was very far away. I had to use
the 35X optical zoom of my camera to zoom in to get these two pictures of the bald eagle in action.
We also drove northwest along the lake shore of Lake Erie in Ohio to try to tour Magee Marsh Wildlife Area,
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area and Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge.
However, these units were all still closed because it was still too early and most impoundments and streams
in these units were still frozen solid. Therefore, I may come again in warmer seasons in future year to tour
these additional wildlife areas along Lake Erie in northwest Ohio for bird watching and photography.
At sunset time on March 3, 2011, we did see huge number of Canada geese flying in various formations all
over the sky near the lake shore of Lake Erie. However, I was driving my car and missed the opportunity to
take the picture of that spectacular view of huge number of Canada geese all over the sky.