Sunday Evening Reflection: Shh…The Herons are Nesting

Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, British Columbia brings the abundance of nature into vibrant city life. Situated along the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait, the 200 acres of pristine parkland was originally set aside as a protected area in 1858 by Sir James Douglas, governor of the Colony of Vancouver.

Beacon Hill Park’s traditional name, given by the Songhees people, was Meeacan which means “belly.”  The hill was a burial site for First Nations Coast Salish people, the original inhabitants of the Greater Victoria region. There is a sacredness that infuses the nature pathways, woodlands, and shoreline trail.

A Great Blue Heron colony has graced this park over the years.  According to Beacon Hill Park History:

“The Beacon Hill Park heron colony began with a single nest in 1982. Unnoticed by most Victorians, the number of nests increased sporadically through the 1980’s and 1990’s. By 2000, when 65 active nests were counted, the colony was no longer a secret shared by a few birders. In the following years, the City of Victoria promoted the colony as a spectacular feature of the Park. Heron photos appeared in city publications, a heron webpage and “heron-cam” were added to the city’s website, informational signs were posted at the colony, numbered tags were nailed to nest trees, and the parking area immediately below the nest trees was closed during nesting to reduce disturbances.”

May 2007,  a huge disruption forced the heron colony to abandon Beacon Hill Park.  I understand that this sudden decrease in heron population was sparked by the death of an eagle, who had been a long-time resident.

“The presence of an eagle’s nest nearby actually serves to protect the heronry, explained Hook. “When we don’t have an eagle nesting in here, then random, marauding eagles come off the shoreline and look for an easy food source.” Victoria News

The Great Blue Herons have returned to Beacon Hill Park, where they remain for six months each year between the months of February to August where they will nest.  Join me on the path to the heron colony, but shh…the herons are nesting.

Interested in knowing more about Great Blue Herons? Check out Nature Canada, one of the oldest national nature conservation charities in Canada. 

51 Comments Add yours

  1. Klausbernd says:

    Dear Rebecca,
    we have herons here as well but no eagles. Therefore the herons can nest here without danger. We find this interaction of herons and eagles amazing.
    Thank you for taking us to this beautiful parkland.
    With big HUGs from us. Wishing you a wonderful week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for joining me on Beacon Hill Park. What I found interesting was that the herons decided to show up in 1982. Why did they chose that particular year? And then they left abruptly only to return the next year. We have so much to leave from the world around us. Sending love and hugs to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley!🤗🤗🤗🤗

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh, I just love that sign! It was a pleasure ans so refreshing taking this walk with you, Rebecca. Thank you, my dear friend! xoxo

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I love our walks and talks together, Marina! There is so much to experience when we decide to enter nature. One thing I found out – the herons have many loud conversations!!! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’d never heard a heron vocalize before watching your video!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        They have a great deal of chatter don’t they?!!! They believe in speaking their mind in a very loud voice. I heard the squawking before came across this area of the park.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I was very surprised at the racket! (I’d been stereotyping them previously as totally Zen.)

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        The racket was amazing. The sign told dog walkers to keep to other paths, although most dogs would probably prefer to stay away. I thought as you did, so I did a look up on the symbolism of herons, which confirms our thinking of “zen.” This is what I found: The heron symbolizes stillness and tranquility and signifies determination and independence. Herons prefer a solitary life, even in the midst of a colony. They hunt alone or with their mate. I found nothing on why they make a huge racket when they are in conversation. They do sound like they are having a great time.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Isn’t that interesting! Could it be that your Vancouver herons have gone rogue?

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Clanmother says:

        Oh, that is a wonderful possibility, isn’t it!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh, likewise, my dearest Rebecca!
        As for the herons… better those conversations than car and home alarms!!!! 😉
        Many many hugs Back!

        Liked by 3 people

      8. Clanmother says:

        😀😀😀 you are so right!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary Jo Malo says:

    This is so lovely, Rebecca. We have blue herons and green herons visit our lagoon by the lakefront! Such a beautiful Sunday Evening Reflection. I noticed the date of this posting and wondered if I missed it. In any case, I’m savoring its beauty as we speak! Hugs & more hugs…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Mary Jo Malo says:

      Actually, I do remember reading this! My morning coffee hasn’t worked it’s full effect just yet )

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Clanmother says:

        I think I mentioned something on Instagram. I have just made a pot of tea. Why don’t you come over!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Mary Jo Malo says:

        That would be lovely. Is it herbal? Too late with caffeine for me, I’m afraid 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        Lots of herbal tea over here!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Clanmother says:

      You are so observant, Mary Jo. You did not miss this post, but your reminded me that I had to change the date from July to September. I had started the post in early summer but realized I needed time to do some more research into herons. We have one lone Blue Heron in our neighbourhood and a couple more towards Granville Island. They are graceful creatures that stand for hours, looking out over the water. I understand that they are old souls, so perhaps they have learned the art of meditation. Hugs and more hugs coming back you way with all speed.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. Dave Astor says:

    So many beautiful spaces in the region where you live, Rebecca! Thank you for showing them to us in such an appealing way!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      You have a wonderful way with words, Dave. Thank you!! What I have learned over the past months is that we never really travel in our city because we categorize them as a place to live, work, conduct our routines. We think of travel and adventures as someplace else. We love to wander, but as T.S. Eliot says:

      “We shall not cease from exploration
      And the end of all our exploring
      Will be to arrive where we started
      And know the place for the first time.”

      During the months of COVID-19, I am seeing Vancouver as if for the first time.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I love being reminded of those wonderfully wise lines by T.S. Eliot.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. PaulAndruss says:

    Such a lovely place- nature regnant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much Paul! A beautiful and perfect word: regnant.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Such a lovely spot! We’ll see a blue heron from time to time in an estuary, but it’s a fairly rare occurance. I always have to hold my breath whenever I see one so I don’t disturb its meditation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Liz. I was able to capture a short video of our local Blue Heron, which confirms their ability at meditating. Every step he took was precise and very, very slow. He would lift his long legs, hold the position as if he were a tai chi master and then gracefully move to the next step.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. As soon as you started describing the steps, I thought tai chi!!

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I loved learning re the eagle. Amazing. And they’ve come back! Lovely post. There were herons used to fly to a neighbour’s garden where we lived before. They had a pond with heron statues. But sometimes when you looked out real herons had flown in. (Unless of course the statues had come to life or were secretly real herons. ) Quite a sight though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      We have a Blue Heron in our neighborhood. I have watched him from a distance and find that he has an amazing ability to stand still for long periods. He simply does not move. So, I am not surprised that herons that fly into your neighbor’s garden appear as statues, even when they are not statues. Most of the Canadian population of Blue Herons is here only during the breeding season, but I read about Henry, who remains year-round at Beacon Hill Park. Shortly after being hatched, Henry happened to fall out of the nest onto the ground below (a long long distance to fall). Miraculously, he survived and was tended to by the park stewards. Kindness and friendships are universal! Sending hugs, my dear friend.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And I am sending them right back my special friend x

        Liked by 2 people

  8. The waterfall photo takes my breath away, Rebecca. What a stunning place. I can almost hear the sounds of nature. Then I really can with the video! 😀 Thanks so much for this lovely stroll. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you joined me, Teagan. There is so much history attached to Beacon Hill Park. Emily Carr lived on the border of the park. In 1909 she painted a watercolour of Beacon Hill Park, a gentile landscape that would appeal to Victorian sensibilities. How her work would change over the years, which is a reminder that we are always in transition, always learning, even when we think that we are standing still. Sending back hugs and more hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you for saying that… because standing still is exactly what I feel I’ve been doing. 🙂 More hugs

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I so enjoyed reading this…such a beautiful and serene place!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you joined me. We may be on opposite sides of the world, but we are travelling the same pathway.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Liz says:

    A sublime post, Becky, thank you. Let me add one of my most favourite poems – The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Sending many hugs across the ocean as always! xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I cry every time I read this poem, just as I am now. Every day the anxiety of a complex world comes to us, and yet “For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” I am grateful that we are sharing the present timeline in history and that serendipity and technology continues to bring us together. Much love and many hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Liz says:

        The incredible power of a few words on a page. As you know, I don’t ‘do’ poetry as much as I would like, but poems like this pierce right through the soul with their stunning truths.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Rebecca, thanks for this peek inside your lovely province. Interesting how the eagle nest had protected the herons. We have plenty of eagles here in our neck of the woods but no herons, although I understand there is a nesting population of great blue herons on the southwest coast of the island. I would love to see them in person!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I read that the great blue herons were on you side of Canada, but didn’t know their exact location. I share your surprise that the eagle was a protector. I would never have known this to be the case. We walk this earth with amazing creatures and we are only just beginning to understand them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to learn bird language. Sending hugs from the other side of Canada.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Many amazing creatures indeed. And what we don’t know about them far exceeds what we do know. I would love to know bird language or any animal language for that matter. Hugs back from the east coast!

        Liked by 3 people

  12. Carolyn Page says:

    A very interesting post, dear Rebecca. It is strange and wonderful to learn about nature and the way in which creatures live and coexist..
    I have an image of a beautiful blue heron in our kitchen. It’s a magnificent reminder of nature, and the bird itself is exceedingly handsome. It was taken by a wordpress friend you may remember – Helen of Tiny Lessons Blog. Helen hasn’t blogged since May 2019. However, the gift of her beautiful nature images remain, for me, a delight I am reminded of every time I wash the dishes…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for the introduction to Tiny Lessons Blog https://tinylessonsblog.com/ I did not follow Helen’s blog but I have now read her most recent posts, which is a testament to her love of nature. Sometimes people take a break from blogging so I have followed the blog awaiting for her return. Nature reminds us all that we are part of a huge narrative, like a library of books where we have only time to read a few columns. Joseph Campbell says it best: “Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” But what a privilege to be here for part of the movie. Let’s make our scene vibrant!!! Hugs coming with my thanks for you lovely comments. Say hello to the blue heron in your kitchen for me.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Resa says:

    This is a super interesting post.
    Nesting eagle VS non nesting eagles, what a crazy thing, but it sure worked for the herons.
    Is there a nesting eagle there again…now. Is that why the Herons returned?
    On another note, out forefathers sure loved to NEST on land that belonged to others.
    i know we can’t turn back time, but I think and believe we should be doing more to stop this. I mean … we say okay… this land is yours…. then we take it away for our prosperity.
    I’ve seen it since my childhood. What kind of posterity have, and are we creating?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Nesting verses nesting!!! I was surprised by this interesting connecting between species. It seems that all creatures that walk this earth or fly in the sky have experienced some form of disruptions. You have brought up an interesting point about migration, which will continue unabated in the coming year exacerbated by climate change. John Haywood’s book “The Great Migrations From the Earliest Humans to the Age of Globalization” is an excellent resource. His words “Migration is one of the defining features of the human race. No other species has ranged so far or colonized so many different environments…Human migration has also been incessant, with the numbers of people on the move increasing constantly, keeping step with the growth of the human populations. It is its ceaseless nature that makes migration one of the great driving forces of world history, spreading technology and ideas, and creating and destroying nations and empires.” No Resa, we can’t turn back time, but we can ensure that we live with compassion for others and with a spirit of generosity.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Resa says:

        And/yet we are still fighting to deal with compassion for others and with a spirit of generosity. Count me in!
        Capitalism has many inroads.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Resa says:

    On another note:
    Rebecca! Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm on my most recent Art Gowns post!
    It should be an interesting and fun winter. I bought 2 more art pads today!!!
    HUGS!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      What a grand adventure, Resa! Brilliant writing, great structure, and a marvelous cliff hanger. Still writing up the template!!! Hugs and more hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply to Carolyn Page Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.