Friday, November 5, 2010

Great Blue Heron

Beczak has been part of “Snapshot Day” since the DEC started this estuary-wide event eight years ago. This was my second time participating in the project with students from Saunders Technical School. What made it amazing this year was seeing one of my favorite birds in the Hudson Valley, the Great Blue Heron.

The Great Blue Heron is a fantastic water bird that grows to be about four feet tall with a wingspan that can be over six feet! It feeds mainly on fish and hangs out in shallow freshwater and seacoasts. I first saw the bird at the Kensico reservoir and always thought they looked like very laid back, interesting personalities. They never seemed too bothered by anything and took their time as they waded in the water and hunted for small animals to eat.

On Thursday, October 15, 2010, I was in charge of the seining portion of “Snapshot Day” at Beczak. I was walking down to our beach chatting with some of the students when I saw the magnificent Great Blue Heron standing in our tidal marsh. Beczak employees have seen it many times in the early morning or the late afternoon, but never at 9:30 AM. We froze and stayed silent as we watched the bird wading in the marsh. As we motioned to others and tried to find a camera, it flew off on its impressive wingspan, soaring over the marsh and upriver.

It was breathtaking to see such a big bird in Yonkers, especially for the students. Most of them have lived their whole lives in this area and have never seen anything other than a gull or a Canadian goose along the Hudson.

by Susan Juggernauth