Great blue heron count climbing in Pipeline rookery

Great blue heron count for the rookery downtown at Pipeline Rapids (Photo from April 2010)Here is an update as of Monday morning on the great blue heron count for the rookery downtown at Pipeline Rapids, provided by Jim Alexander, a resident of downtown Richmond:

This morning, 7:35, I counted 38 heron, and at 9:10, my wife counted 21 … she says several were kissing – technical term I suppose. The rookery is bit more active these days with a few herons moving about every several minutes or so. They seem to be vying for position / mate / nest … not quite sure what, yet they are purposeful maneuvers of some sort. More twig snapping and nest work. Between 4:15 and 5:15 we counted in succession 35, 52, 59, 58, and finally 47. Pretty sure the loss of light reduced our final count.
We are using both hand-held field binoculars, and more powerful tripod mounted binoculars. We kind of validate each other’s count, and coach ourselves to look thru the trees, fix on objects that don’t look like tree parts, for slight movements, study each nest checking for herons laying vs. standing, and pausing on heron “blobs” to discern whether it’s a single or pair (more often than not, it is a pair).

Saturday is the second rookery tour with the James River Park and Richmond Audubon Society. Spotting scopes and interpretation provided. Bring cameras and binoculars. Dress warmly. Site on Pipeline (“Trestle”) Trail near 12th and Byrd Street has a short ladder. Special Parking at Whitewater Boater’s Lot at north end of 14th Street Bridge.

WHEN: Feb. 26: 10 a.m. to noon — $5 adults/kids $1. Sponsors: Richmond Audubon Society and the James River Park System (Richmond Recreation, Parks & Community Facilities) – 646-8911 –


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