The number continues to grow. The Little Blue Herons continue to multiply. What was four in July is now seven in Hanover Township’s Melanie Lane Wetlands. Two Little Blue Herons were at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits in July. Today, there were four as seen in the photo at the top of this post. Finderne Wetlands in Somerset County has had one to two throughout July and August. Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve had a pair in late July. This would barely raise an eyebrow in coastal locations but is unprecedented for inland Morris and Somerset Counties where one during an entire year is newsworthy.
An adult Little Blue Heron spent most of April at Loantaka Brook Reservation in Morris County. All of the Little Blue Herons seen this summer are juveniles. An excellent breeding year? Is there a viable explanation?
Why are juveniles white? Little Blue Herons are the only member of the Ardeidae family that shows age-specific dimorphism. Birds of North America Online (Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologist’s Union) mentions the following benefits for white coloration of the juveniles:
1. Reduces heat stress (dark Little Blue Herons frequently forage in densely vegetated, shaded locales).
2. Advantageous for getting prey when least experienced at foraging.
3. Ability to integrate with other white ardeids reducing predation.
4. Enables them to forage near Snowy Egrets for greater success.
The above information and much more is found here, but a subscription is necessary to read it.
Finderne Wetlands continues to host at least one Snowy Egret along with 13 Great Egrets, 2-3 Great Blue Herons, 1 Green Heron, 1 Glossy Ibis, Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpipers (Vicki Schwartz).
Two Black-crowned Night-Herons (one juvenile), a Green Heron and Wood Ducks are at West End Pond near Green Brook Park (Walter Blenderman).
From Ken Hart:
Six Bobolinks were present at dusk at the Robert Stahl Natural Area in Bedminster. They were originally just southwest of the silo, occasionally flying as a group, circling, and landing again in another section of the fields. Much of the north field has been recently cut.
Along the very low ponds: Wood Duck, Green Heron (2) Killdeer, Solitary Sandpiper
(2), Great Blue Heron. Also, 11 Chimney Swifts.