Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Great Blue Heron at Silver Lake, Washington

I haven't posted on Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) much of late, primarily because I haven't come across any. They are found around wetlands all over the west, and have shown up a fair amount on this blog, but the ones I've seen in my normal haunts have been kind of skittish and fly off before I can get any shots.

I've been all over the Pacific Northwest for the last week and a half, ostensibly to chase an eclipse (maybe you've heard about it somewhere), although the fact that we've visited various sets of parents, siblings, and a grandparent suggests other motives as well. In any case, we were on our way to the Seattle area, and decided to camp for a night at Seaquest State Park on the shore of Silver Lake. The lake came into existence around 4,000-5,000 years ago when a huge debris avalanche from Mt. St. Helens blocked a tributary to the Toutle River. The lake is about four miles long, but the western end is filled with water lilies and other pond vegetation, and thus is an excellent habitat for the herons. This particular individual was quite patiently feeding and hardly moved while I watched, so all the pictures had the same pose.

Silver Lake is a great setting for a quick look at Mt. St. Helens if you are traveling on Interstate 5. It's only five miles off the interstate, and there is an excellent interpretive center about St. Helens, and a the one mile long nature trail that we were following when I caught this picture.

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