August 11, 2022

Art & Lifestyle:

Farmers Market @ Airport Aug. 14 -

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Theater Holding Auditions for ‘Clue’ -

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Hoyer Seeking Photos for Annual Contest -

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Shakespeare Heads to St. Mary’s City -

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Great Blue Herons at Home in the Bay

Message from the Cap’n is a compilation of fishing advice, waterman and weather insights, Chesapeake lore, and ordinary malarkey from the folks who keep their feet wet in the Potomac and St. Mary’s rivers.

The Cap’n

They’re called Johnnie cranes locally, sneaking along the shoreline in the summertime. They pierce a soft crab, flip it in the air, send it down the hatch. But they’re not just around in the summertime, they’re in the Chesapeake year-round.

And they are not cranes, they are definitely herons with their S shaped necks and as described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Great Blue Heron is perfectly adapted to life in the Chesapeake. Start with its long, stick legs enabling it to stalk vast areas of shallow water.

Johnnie Crane sounds as creaky as he looks. I’ve been listening to the calls of Chesapeake Bay birds for about 60 years and find none more fascinating than the “kraank”of the Blue Heron. The YouTube link above offers the full repertoire. One can almost imagine being visited by something prehistoric when hearing their wild call when fending off other birds or predators.

Their stealthy hunting has made them very private and singular birds with boundless patience. They like to fish alone, though likely returning repeatedly to favorite perches and fishing grounds. The Cornell Lab is aware of a Great Blue Heron to have live more than 24 years and leaves open the possibility one bird watcher is seeing 28 years of the same heron feeding at his dock.

 

 

We have a heron on St. George Island that uses a cove in the marsh that protects it from the harshest Northwest winds of winter and provides bountiful sunshine for warmth as soon as the sun rises. On many good days a heron posts a lookout from the osprey nest in front of the house, but also frequently on foggy mornings as well. A friend on the Patuxent had a heron that adapted his boat on a lift and was very persistent in feeding off the top of the motor.

They have a relatively long life, and although largely solitary, flock together to nest in the treetops in rookeries. Many nests are almost 100 feet in the air and look rather unkempt but they do the trick in providing a good place to nest. The males usually pick out the nest site.

The Chesapeake Bay Program provides a handy FAQ sheet on the Great Blue Herons, including that they are also night feeders with the ability to wield their precision hunting style in the dark.

We should copy the good traits of these beautiful creatures: Patience, Persistence, and Dedication to fishing.

Till next time, remember “It’s Our Bay, Let’s Pass It On.”

To learn about tours and trips into the Chesapeake, keep in touch with Fins + Claws on Facebook. Catch up on Messages from the Cap’n Member Page. Please visit Cap’n Jack’s lore and share with your social media sites. Or reach him here: [email protected] or 240-434-1385.

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