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Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) and Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea) are impressive birds to look at because of their deep blue colors, plumage and graceful way of flying and wading or walking through shallow water looking for a meal. I got a good view and some pictures of a Great Blue Heron and Little Blue Heron about a week ago while I was taking a bike ride through Lee County’s’ John Yarbrough Linear Park. This long but narrow park runs from Colonial Blvd to the Six Mile Cypress Pkwy for over ten miles. It has a storm water river running straight for over ten miles and attracts a lot of birds and wildlife. I was lucky enough to catch these two herons in flight and photograph their wing span and impressive flight pattern.
The herons are wading birds which means they walk or stand in shallow fresh water areas looking for prey to come by such as fish or amphibians and stab them with their sharp bills and swallow them whole by facing upwards, elongating their necks and letting their meal side down their throats. The wing span of a Great Blue Heron can reach over 6 ft and when they fly and can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour. The Little Blue Heron has a deep blue color and reddish band running down its neck. Their wing span of up to 3 ½ feet is more than twice their height. One of my favorite websites to learn more about these birds is Cornell Universities Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds website. You can see more pictures of these birds and learn more about their nesting characteristics, bird calls and habitat at this website.