Tuesday, May 25, 2010

And the great heron feeds.

Last seen flying out of the Far Niente vineyard with a gopher in it's beak, this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) gave the Vinodogs a bit of a fright on our walk this afternoon. Their start probably had more to do with a missed gopher snack of their own than the sight of a 4ft tall bird about 10 feet above their heads. Mr. Heron is currently perched in an oak tree on the periphery of Vinoland eyeing the multitude of gopher mounds in the vineyard as if deciding which one houses this evening's supper. I hope he's hungry and takes two, or more.
And to think Vinomaker and I installed owl boxes for rodent control, maybe we needn't have bothered.


Vinomaker said...

I must say that it always surprises me to see these birds out of a marsh habitat but as long as they are reducing the rodent population I am happy. I don't know where they sleep at night but fortunately Vinogirl did not request a set of heron boxes that would look more like small tree houses and probably require a building permit!

Thomas said...

I didn't know they eat gophers. Maybe we need to lure herons to the place.

When they take off they give me pleasure because they look so prehistoric.

Lord Roby said...

Methinks you'd need to build a 'Wendy House' for him!

Affer said...

There is something very humorous about such a long-legged bird, genetically designed for wading, sitting in a tree!

It made me think of Spain, where they revere their storks and their giant nests on telegraph poles!

The villager: said...

Good to see a heron...they are always an impressive sight.

Kristi Davis - Grotto Cellars said...

We live about a mile away from a river where these guys hang out. I saw one just chilling out on my lawn a few weeks ago. Surprised the heck out of me. They are beautiful though.

Vinogirl said...

VM: They would be some rather large bird houses wouldn't they?

Thomas: I think I had read that they ate small mammals somewhere because I wasn't really surprised the first time I witnessed it.

Lord Roby: He'll survive just fine outdoors on his diet of rodents.

Affer: They do look a bit out of place in a tree, but then again so do the wild turkeys.

Villager: They look great when they are 'storking' their prey (sorry, bad play on words, I know, but I couldn't resist it.)

Kristi: They look pretty big and more than a little intimidating up close, don't they?

NHwineman said...

Vinogirl, I once saw a Great Blue heron holding a red squirrel in its beak, and the 'poor' thing (the squirrel) was wiggling itself into a heart attack. The cousin to the Great Blue, the Great White is known to kill and eat cats, as is our national bird.
Thomas has the prehistoric thing exactly right, and of course there is that theory that birds are indeed dinosaurs remnants.