Carl Monopoli | Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

September 29, 2016  •  1 Comment

There likely are only a few months of warm weather left in Plainfield City and so the window for observing one of NJ’s most interesting and largest predatory birds is closing. The Great Blue is 1 of many herons that haunt local ponds, lined and natural alike.  These guys are the bane of every koi wrangler from Buttzville to Buckshutem. I remember not too long ago, if seven years is not long to the reader, a Fanwood neighbor (I lived in that Borough prior to seeing the light/pulling up stakes) waged war using everything from pond-covering nests to infra-red-triggered water jets to protect his large and golden-fined charge.

These birds do not tolerate their kind and will not only chase off another Great Blue but also any other heron species in their chosen stomping grounds. Typically they will announce their arrival with a loud screech and, if another is already in residence, will quickly joust for sole hunting rights. As with all predators, Great Blues fulfill an important role in the NJ ecosystem. I witnessed a local frog population skyrocket during a period when Canada Geese kept all predators at bay and these magnificent fowl take everything from chipmunks to fully-grown bullfrogs from the water and gulp them down too. If they can catch it, they likely will bolt it. Their large yellow eyes easily pierce the surface glare and algae far better than any polarized-lens-aided human eye.

As with most wild animals, the juveniles are easier to approach and will sometimes allow for a few choice portraits to be taken, if 1 is quiet and moves in a non-threatening manner. Loyal readers of this space will know 1 of my many personal sayings; there are no villains in nature. Everything needs to eat! Get outside and enjoy the wildlife of Plainfield City!



Carl, nice article. I hope that you entered some photos in the Plainfield photo contest.

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