Rough Day For Fishing

On one of our recent very cold days, this great blue heron patrols the freezing salt marsh in search of a fish. Even though the weather is bad, the birds still have to be out there hunting if they want a meal.

The heron caught no fish on this attempt, so he flew off across the reeds turned brown by winter in search of better fishing grounds… 

Great Blue Heron Feeding in the Winter Marsh

Great Blue Heron Feeding in the Winter Marsh

Great Blue Heron Feeding in the Winter Marsh

17 thoughts on “Rough Day For Fishing

    • No he does not the look happy at all but still he hangs around here with his friends so I guess he likes the area. The ones we see normally around here do have those colored markings on them. Some are likely young but even the adults appear to have a bit of color on them.

  1. Nice photos, Phil. This guy looks to be still pretty young, I’d guess a yearling at the oldest, which explains the patch on the leading edge of his wing and also the very short feathers at the base of his neck. At least two of our GBHs have stuck around here this winter AND have survived the Polar Vortex so far. I worried about them out there fishing in the cold water until I remembered that in the places where the water was still flowing, it was not frozen, meaning that the water temp was above 32 degrees. Since the air temp was about 6 degrees F, not counting wicked wind chill, the water would have been the warmest place for the birds to be! Lucky herons and ducks and swans here to have some flowing water!

    • This guy could indeed be a teenager although it is fairly typical of many of the GBHs we see to have the reddish wing and shoulder patches. This bird was in the salt marsh which is tide dependent and the ocean water was warmer than the air temp.
      Thanks much for checking out these pics!

      • Makes sense, especially if you get a lot of the GBH fledglings that have migrated from up north. So, you would have lots of youngsters. Glad the waters were warm for them during that cold snap!

          • Hi Phil – good photos, thanks for your link. Yes, I see that coloring often. Your GBH there is quite young, one that fledged the nest not too long before you took that photo – maybe 8 weeks or so. That bird lacks the white cap feathers of the more mature herons. It also still has its “headlight” feathers on the leading edge of its wings. The russet colored feathers are a hallmark of the young GBHs. Thanks for sharing your link, lovely young heron!

  2. I feel so sorry for them during this cold weather, even though I know they’re equipped for it. Unfortunately, many of the fish have retreated to lower depths because they’re cold! So it’s hard. But another cold snap or two and spring will be arriving. The water temperature here’s come up from 49-49 to 54-55, so we’re going in the right direction. Lovely photos!

    • I know what you mean about even the fish being cold. There was a time when I didn’t see any birds pulling fish from the pond and hardly any birds were out in the salt marsh because I knew the tide was not bringing in fish as it normally would in warmer weather.

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