Where: Richmond, VA • James River
Notes: The riverfront that runs through the heart of Virginia's state capitol has become an unexpected favorite of mine to go birding. While sitting on a rock at the edge of the rapids that morning, I had become mesmerized by several of these sizeable Herons (about four feet tall with nearly a six foot wingspan). They were fishing in the waters adjacent their nesting colony or "rookery". Each bird seemed to have claimed a small portion of the river as their own fishing spot. One bird would chase off another, if it crossed what seemed an invisible property line. One Heron in particular caught my attention when it began leaping head first into the river from the bolder it had claimed for a perch. It used this Kamikaze approach several times and with good success. Normally a "Great Blue" will spear fish while wading in the water, keeping its plumage dry. Never had I seen a Heron of any kind dive completely into the water like this and certainly not into swiftly moving current.