July 17 2019: More than 30 Herons observed on Roberts Bay!


16 herons in the foreground of this old picture. Imagine what 35+ herons might look like!

In our post of June 9 we reported initially on a successful breeding season for the herons roosting on the Roberts Bay “heron trees” only to report later that eagles had raided the nests and carried off all the heron chicks. Disappointing but not a disaster as today’s post reveals with a sighting by Jocelyn Gifford (Friends of Shoal Harbour) and a friend of 35 herons fishing together on Roberts Bay.

Naturalist Kerry Finley who keeps a close eye on the Bay from his home on the edge of the Beaufort Grove ventured the following:

“Many thanks, Jocelyn. In fact at 9:09 STANDARD BUFFLEHEAD TIME, I counted 38. A record for the year, and in fact going way back to the early years when I recall that the maximum was 42 or 44.

This speaks well of the productivity of the mudflats, and the abundance of small forage fish. You’ll note perhaps an increase also in the number of Double-crested Cormorants moving into shallow waters. The herons sometimes follow their movements and benefit from herding of fish schools.

So I think this is positive news. For many years I was getting maximum numbers of 17 – 21 or so, and they were dwindling.

This is a very positive indication of how THIS migratory bird sanctuary in an urban setting and embracing “Naturehood” can hold its own, as Neil Dawe suggested in 1978.




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