Swooping in with wings extending out ward some six feet, the great blue herons are an impressive sight as they soar to their nesting colony on Green Island in the Lower Laguna Madre.
Nesting season is in full swing for the herons on the 35-acre Audubon Sanctuary which is northeast of the Arroyo Colorado.
Just a few weeks ago, the yuccas were only beginning to bloom on the protected island, but now they are in full flower. Solitary herons that were recently seeking mates have paired up, and some are already incubating eggs tucked down in the base of their bulky nests.
The perimeter of the thickly wooded island is dotted with blossoming yuccas and sprinkled with bright yellow wildflowers. Thorny brush replete with spiked agaves and a variety of cactus protect the herons, as they land near their nests on the interior of the island.
Throughout the day, great blues come gliding in with nest material. Sometimes it seems to take them a little bit of searching to find the appropriate spot to land, but eventually they find home and touch down with their building material clenched in sturdy beaks.
Despite all this nesting activity, some herons still have not garnered a mate and pose stoically with their fancy plumes billowing in the breeze as they await a willing female.
For now, the great blue herons have Green Island all to themselves, but any day now, they will be joined by many more species of colonial waterbirds.