Posts Tagged ‘Heronry’


Great Blue Herons are back

March 23, 2012

The largest Great Blue Heronry exists at Holland Ponds park in Shelby Twp., Macomb county. Last years nesting pairs totaled 39 nests. Well….all the nests are already filled and it’s only March 21st. Unheard of in the past.

There are also male Herons, waiting at the edges of the Heronry, for females to arrive. This means there will be new nests being built this year. I have already seen three new attempts going on.

The skies over Holland Ponds are just full of Herons. Some of the nests even have females sitting on the nests. This only means eggs. ALREADY. Once the eggs are there, the female will sit and the male will fetch food for her. When the eggs hatch, the adults will take turns going for food. One leaves and one stays with the youngsters at all times.

Stop out at the Heronry located at 22 mile rd. & Ryan rd. in Shelby Twp. and see all of this for yourself. It IS AMAZING!


HERON Festival details set

March 5, 2012

Come on out and join in on the 1st annual HERON Festival at Holland Ponds park in Shelby Twp.  The Festival is set for May 12th, 2012, 9am-60m. There will be Bus Shuttles running all day between Holland Ponds and the Shadbush Nature Center, for easy parking.

besides the Video close-up viewing of the Heron Nests, there will be Horse draw Wagon tours of the park, Bird banding, and Pond dipping. Access to Bluebird boxes and nests are also on the agenda.

Back at the Nature Center there will be a LIVE Birds of Prey demo with live Eagles and Owls. The days activities will close with free Campfire Vittles around the Campfire pit behind the Nature Center. A whole days activities based around the returning Great Blue Herons at Holland Ponds Park. The largest Heron nesting site in S.E.Michigan. Come on out and join us for a wonderful nature filled day at the Parks and Shadbush Nature Center.


HERON Nests Counting 2011

November 3, 2011

Since the Great Blue Herons have all left the Heronry at Holland Ponds Park, it was safe to enter these two Heronrys and count the nests. The park has two separate Heronrys. The front Heronry is the oldest, dating back about 10 years now. We counted 21 remaining nests there. Two trees where blown down from high winds and storms and this front Heronry lost some 8 nests this season.

The newer rear Heronry, only in existence for the last three years, has grown tremendously. This years count was 18 nest. 7 of those nests where just built this last season. There are plenty of secluded and private trees in this rear Heronry, and we expect this area to become the main Heronry over the next couple of years.

With a total of 39 solid nests waiting for the Herons return in 2012, we expect a banner season for the entire Heronry.

A NOTE:  These heronys are restricted areas. Especially when the Herons are on the nests. They spook very easily and this can destroy an entire heronry. I got permission to count the nests at Holland Ponds, in advance, and only during this period of time when ALL the Herons had left for the season.


2011 Holland Ponds HERONRY Report

September 5, 2011

Well, the last of the chicks have fledged and all the Herons have been gone from the Heronry located at Holland Ponds, Shelby Twp. Park. We followed the Heronry very closely this year, and even filmed one specific nest through the entire season. The video for that will be out shortly. Until then, read about the details of the Heronry for 2011.

Holland Ponds Heronry Report 2011



Young Herons getting BIG

June 22, 2011

This years batch of youngsters are now almost as large as the adults. Each of the 37 active nests at Holland Ponds Park, started out with 3-4 youngsters per nest. They are down to 2-3 youngsters per nest. These should make it to fledging.

The young Herons are practicing their flying and fishing techniques as they wait for Mom or Dad to return about every hour with more muscle building food. This is a great time to watch the Heronry at the Park.

Get a map of the park here:  HOLLAND PONDS 





Dr. BOB Birding notes

May 26, 2011

We never know what we will get at Holland Ponds (Shelby Twp., Macomb County). Today it was the fishing Green Heron (my FOY) that really caught our attention. Lots of pics! (… later …)

I also saw a Chestnut-sided Warbler – my first there and for my Macomb County list, and I think for my Michigan lists. Yes, Allen – I was using binocs; I could never have even seen it – or especially shot it – with my “old way” of “camera first”.  After having great views at Magee Marsh (even a pic or two) this year, I know it well. It is truly a memorable bird! I think it is maybe my favorite warbler!

Whee! FOY Green Heron and fantastic warbler! Great day!

Notes: We met a photographer who kept ducking into the newly cleared “holes” in the Phragmites along the main park road (thanks Dan Farmer and Shadbush for clearing holes???) Now if we could only get rid of the rest of the Phragmites…! After sharing tales and minor bonding, the photographer shared some pics he took two days ago. He had shot a Horned Grebe (crest up and gorgeous!) and 12 little “greblings” – fantastic pics! Neither he nor we relocated them. But the “kids” were obviously young – maybe a first swim? How long does it take for them to fly? I suspect they want to be hidden until they are able to fend for themselves. WOW!

We met another guy – just walking, no optics – who told tales of sighting a Bald Eagle over Pontiac recently. He said he had been told there was a pair nesting on the buildings in downtown Pontiac. He also said that a Bobcat had been sighted at Holland Ponds. (Shush! Do not pass along … believe what you will…) I am not sure what else he might have told us – I went back to shooting the Green Heron.

We also met our friend John who had spent much of the day photographing a Green Frog. He had great pics of all stages of throat-swelling during the process to make the recognizable “boing” sound. So cool – this guy is patient!

The Red – Winged Blackbird nest that Judy so admired (and actually the reason we had to go today to check progress) just off the dock on Waterfowl Pond (I reported this before) had been brought down by the recent storms and lay in the pond below. Now it was just a soggy bunch of tangled weeds. Judy asked if she (the RWBB momma) would be sad.

I offered that birds work more on instincts than feelings. If eggs are there, sit on them. If you have no eggs, make some. Try again. Yes, it was sad. We had been so hopeful to watch the entire nesting, hatching, feeding, etc. so close to view.

The lightly-anchored nest was obviously vulnerable to the recent strong winds and rain. It was lucky for us to observe it then, there. It was the first time we actually saw one – especially with eggs! Normally they are deeper in the Phragmites along the shore and hidden from view. We just hear the sounds.  From my earlier PBase pic y’all could see it was not such a firm foundation. Sad. That’s life- and it goes on…  We had the blessing to see it as potential.

 Anyway, three points:

1)      Warblers are around still – remember that a few days ago I had a Blackpoll at Holland Ponds as well.

2)      If you visit Holland Ponds soon, be especially aware of the small ponds in the Phragmites to the north of the “main road” for the Horned Grebe and “greblings”. Please give me a shout if you see them!

3)      It is probably a good time to get Green Herons there. Look for something that looks like a branch on a log in the water. Unless they move, you might miss them. Some fish do miss heron recognition!

And, sure – for granted – check out the nesting Great Blue Herons! What fun! Where else can you see so many!

“Dr. Bob” Setzer

Streamwood Estates, Rochester Hills (Crooks & Hamlin), Oakland County

“Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day.”   Teaching a man to “bird” is much harder!

Stop in at Dr. Bob’s Blog at:  Dr. Bobs Bird Blog


New HERONS Video

May 9, 2011

We have been following one specific nest at the Holland Ponds, Heron Rookery, in Shelby Twp.  Out of the almost 50 pairs of great Blue Herons nesting here for 2011, we have selected one nest to watch and follow through the season.

So far, this nest has produced two healthy youngsters. Most Herons produce two or three youngsters a nesting season. Once hatched, the youngsters grow at an amazing rate. Which means both heron parents spend most of every day, taking turns in going hunting and bring food back to the nest. One adult stays with the chicks, while the other fetches food. And so it goes, all day, every day, until the chicks are fledged from the nest.

We will be watching this here on the HM Blog as well as on the Holland Ponds Park……Facebook page. We will be taking new video about every 4-6 days as the young Herons grow quickly. Stay tuned for the next installment. There are two videos taken before this one, and can be viewed either on the HM YOU-TUBE web site, or on the Holland Ponds facebook page at:   HOLLAND PONDS FRIENDS

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