We were almost at the end of the boardwalk and back into the woods when we saw him. It was busy preening and its feathers were all askew. I didn't think we were going to see a Great Blue Heron today. A parting gift as we left the marsh.
After looking for information on line, I found that both males and females are anywhere between 3.2 and 4.5 feet. Their wingspan is 5.5 to 6.6 feet.
They are absolutely wonderful to see in flight. I remember seeing one of these beautiful birds flying over our house years ago. The local birds were not happy and worried it until it flew out of sight. I think it might have been nesting time. Great Blue Herons can cruise from 20 to 30 miles an hour.
They hunt alone but typically nest in colonies. They prefer tall trees, though sometimes build a nest in low shrubs. Despite their size, a Great Blue Heron weighs only 5 to 6 pounds, due to the fact that their bones are hollow, just like all birds.Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb this "powder down" with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen. Applying the powder to their underparts protects their feathers against the slime and oils of swamps.
The oldest recorded Great Blue Heron was found in Texas when it was at least 24 years and 6 months old.
My information and more was found at this website.
I also found a lovely nature blog called 'Nature for my Soul'. Its host is Sharon and she takes such neat and interesting photos. You can find Sharon's blog here.