Great Blue Heron on a Rainy Beach

(Saturday, October 1, 2011, 8:10 a.m. EST, 61 degrees F)

It’s been raining off and on this week, and this morning we went to the bridge overlook in the pouring rain to make our weekly video. Usually we take our videos on Sunday, but tomorrow a half marathon road race will close roads and make it impossible for us to get to the bridge.

What a difference a week makes—last week the beach (and bridge) were totally socked in with thick fog. This week, it was a beautiful, albeit wet, view. We timed our arrival with very low tide in hopes of seeing and recording some seabirds, and we were not disappointed. If you look above the tree on the left, you’ll see a Great Blue Heron (GBH) standing in the water.
But wait for it—at about the 17-second mark the GBH takes flight. It took me a few seconds to figure out why. And then I saw a dog, running down the length of the beach chasing the bird. The dog’s owner comes into sight a few seconds later. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that I didn’t get a longer look at this beautiful bird.

Meanwhile in the garden….we haven’t had a hard frost yet (which will kill most of the vegetables) so we are still harvesting the few non-blighted tomatoes, peppers, and beans. Swiss chard will survive a hard frost, and we’ll be harvesting kale until it’s buried in snow (and if it’s like last year, it will survive until next fall!).

We also had a surprise! A small crop of late new potatoes—which we combined with green pepper, spring onions, eggs, and cheese to make one of our favorite breakfast scrambles!


  1. I once got to see a huge nesting ground for the herons in Ohio. They are absolutely incredible birds, with such big nests! And those potatoes look great. 😀


  2. Lynn Benoit says:

    Love the Heron. It reminds me of the visitors we get to our backyard pond. I am in awe of the bird while at the same time, worried about the resident frogs and fish!

  3. Barb Riley says:

    At first it sounded like bacon sizzling (*giggles* I haven’t eaten breakfast yet and you were talking about egg scrambles, afterall…), but then when I saw the umbrella and heard a car drive by, I hoped you didn’t get splashed on the backside from the car going through a puddle!

    I need to investigate what kind of bird hangs out with the geese in the cornfields by my house. They totally look like they’re in the heron or flamingo (yes, they’re big) family, but they are a stoney brown color and they camouflage right in to the crops. Any idea? Sometimes I (and my coonhound) mistake them for deer.

    Glad your harvest is bountiful! We just had our first frost last night. Eek! I didn’t do anything to protect my tomato plant. (I’ll have to google what ‘blighted’ means.)

  4. Ashlee, I am so jealous! I’ve always wanted to go to a heron nesting grounds! It must’ve been incredible! And, yes, the potatoes were a great (and delicious) surprise!

    Lynn, I can imagine how it could be worrisome for the frogs and fish–still the herons that close up must be beautiful! What’s so funny is that I was worried about the heron being chased by the dog… it’s all about perpective, I suppose! How lovely to have a pond in your backyard! Thanks for your visit to my blog & for your comment!

    Barb, Ok, FIRST. Come back TOMORROW when my post will be all about BACON — yes, really!! (too funny you would mention it today, must have ESP!) I didn’t get wet yesterday but I did today when we were out walking the dog — still raining! As for the bird in the cornfields — I’m *guessing* it’s a great blue heron — they can look pretty brown (and maybe moreso when immature). You could look at this bird site:

    Otherwise, not sure! Would love to read a post about your coonhound, by the way! And eeks here to the frost, too, can it really almost be winter?

  5. Wow, it is so beautiful where you live! Amazing! And nothing tastes better than fresh, homegrown ingredients!

  6. Yea for fresh potatoes! I bet they’d be great in an olive oil-based potato salad too – yum!

  7. I saw a blue heron yesterday in Flagstaff and though of you, Julia! Still salivating over your yummy veggies (but know just HOW MUCH work is involved in planting and maintaining that garden). So great that you’ve been able to harvest so long.

    PS My mom has 20 watermelons in her garden and has no idea what to do with them. Want some? Want to drive to PA?

  8. amyisaman says:

    I love the sound of the rain in your video. After the bird flew, I shut my eyes and just listened to the rain pattering on your umbrella. I live in northern Nevada, and we don’t get much rain. It’s such a peaceful sound – great way to start a sunny Sunday! Thanks.

  9. Pet says:

    I’m starting to get addicted to your ?#%$ beach! 🙂

  10. Emma Pass says:

    Lovely video, and your breakfast sounds delicious!

  11. dosweatthesmallstuff, Thank you! And that’s one of the reasons I make these videos, so I stop and NOTICE that it’s a beautiful place — otherwise, it’s just my life, in *a* place! Glad you enjoyed the video!

    Jen, I know what you mean, those potatoes would be amazing in an olive-oil-based potato salad — if we get enough more, we may try that! Great suggestion!

    Melissa, So glad you saw a GBH — must have been BEAUTIFUL in Flagstaff! Wow! As for the yummy veggies in the hard-worked-maintained garden, there’s a good reason I take one tiny photo at a time. Believe me the garden is A MESS right now 🙂 Still, as you say, it’s great that we’re still harvesting. And the watermelons? Wow! One of my favorite fruits ever. I am very very tempted….

    Amy, I’m so glad you enjoyed the rain! I agree, I absolutely loved the sound of it on the umbrella, too. It’s one of the reasons I love camping in the rain! Glad you got a rainy start to your sunny day in Nevada! Thank you for the comment & for your visit to my blog! Nice to meet you!

  12. Pet, YAY — my plan is working — get all my blog readers addicted to my ?#%$ beach!! 🙂 Glad you enjoy!

    Emma, So glad you got to (finally) see it without fog, and happy you enjoyed it! (and yes, the breakfast was delicious, I admit! 🙂

  13. Beautiful potatos, Julia. I’ve never grown chard, and had no idea it was so hardy! What do you do with it? Never eaten it before, myself.

  14. Hi Cynthia, Thanks–the potatoes were a wonderful surprise this late in the season! I steam the (roughly chopped) chard in a flat covered pan, with just a little water, then when the chard is just about done (in a few minutes) I take off the lid and sear it lightly, sometimes with garlic. DELICIOUS! We also make soups and also just steamed. It really reminds me of my grandmother who used to make it all the time. If you try it, hope you like it!

  15. I love that you’re growing new potatoes! Are they difficult to grow? I’d love to grow those myself. I throw chard in soup a lot or use in place of spinach in a stir fry. I can’t believe it’s fall!

  16. Leah, Potatoes are a little complicated in technique (you need to keep piling dirt/compost on the plants as they grow so the roots grow underground) BUT they are incredibly EASY to grow! And here’s something you may already know (but I didn’t): new potatoes are any potatoes you harvest before they are fully mature!! That means we grew 6 different varieties: yellow, white, red, and purple, and we harvested all of them as new, small potatoes! Crazy, huh? I agree, chard can be used in place of spinach, yum!

  17. Ann says:

    Julia – your garden is amazing! It has really given you a bounty this year! I can’t imagine harvesting in the snow! I’m glad you pointed out the heron and the dog. I have to say – I liked the dog part best….

  18. Ann, It’s so much fun (and so delicious) to be able to harvest our food from our own backyard! I promise I’ll post photos when we harvest kale in the snow! Glad you enjoyed the dog running down the beach — I do think this week’s video had lots of “action” in it!

  19. Julia – Loved the video of the blue heron. What a magnificent bird. You’re so lucky to see one up close. I know we’ve got some around here, but they never come to my suburb.

    How delicious to harvest potatoes from your own garden for a yummy omelet. Enjoyed hearing about your garden. :~)

  20. Milli, The GBH is definitely a personal favorite — always wonderful to see one! And the garden is winding down so that now we’ll be waiting for next year for those first wonderful potatoes!

  21. Lisa Ahn says:

    I love the sound of the rain on your umbrella. So peaceful and soothing.

    When can I come over for breakfast?? 🙂

  22. Lisa, The rain was very peaceful and soothing (but also a little nippy to stand out in!!). Breakfast is at 8 on Sundays, hurry over! 🙂