In a recent conversation with Richmond Times-Dispatch staff writer and Richmond Audubon Society member Rex Springston, I was told that the great blue heron rookery is most active are just after dawn and just before dusk. This is the time of year when they have most likely already mated and are brooding their eggs. They switch on and off, with one sitting alone in the nest while the other is feeding in the river.
We’ve also got a Pipeline Rapids rookery update from JRNH’s eye in the sky, Jim Alexander:
When I starting my count this Saturday morning, my attention went to the osprey circling at track level between Riverside and the rookery. In the tower nest stood another osprey, I think they’re a couple, yet I’ve yet to see them in the nest together.
I’m convinced the rookery’s colony has stabilized between 60 and 70 heron. There is an uptick in nest refurbishing, the new nest, though smallish, had a heron nestled with mate standing over, before flying off for another building material gathering. There is almost constant movement into and out off the rookery now – about a flight or so every minute or two. More herons are fishing along the banks as well. At any given time a handful or so are visible along the North bank of the island, and among the rapids.
This morning, Sunday, after my count, I saw my first bald eagle circling over the river around the west bank of the rookery … with an osprey harassing it. A simultaneously awesome and humorous sight, I couldn’t help but chuckle. The eagle landed in the upper branches of the white tree on the west bank of the island, the osprey flew south. I looked to the nested osprey atop the tower. A moment later, the eagle took flight going upriver, and the nested osprey went harassing. They continued West to the Manchester bridge, eagle continued West, and osprey returned to nest. Territory protected I reckon.