I saw a Great Blue Heron this morning.
This might seem to be an inconsequential observation. One might see herons in every month of the year, so it isn’t as if they are like ospreys: gone in the cold weather; here in the warm. Yet, Kootenay Lake is on the northern edge of the heron’s permanent home in North America and the bird is remarkably fickle when it comes to hanging around us. Indeed, as Cornell Labs notes: “Great Blue Herons generally move away from the northern edge of their breeding range in winter.” This is reflected in the our low frequency of heron observations in the cold months. Indeed, I haven’t seen a single heron this last winter.
This ebird.org graph shows the frequency of observations of the Great Blue Heron locally. It is quite low in the winter but begins to pick up in April.
This morning, a Great Blue Heron flew by, the first I have seen since last fall. They are back.