Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Caching Amongst Nesting Herons

Have you ever considered whether herons nest on the ground or in trees?
 
This past weekend our geocaching adventures took us to the "Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve" in Chilliwack, BC. As it turns out, they nest in trees!

This location is quite easy to access, ample parking, and a nice selection of geocaches for the family on very well maintained walking trails. 

You can use the multi-cache "The Tower" as your reference point on the Geocaching website to navigate your way there, but it's just a few minutes off of the Trans-Canada highway.

It's important to know a few things before you go:

  • The trails are open dawn to dusk all year
  • The interpretive centre is open 10am to 4pm daily with free admission
  • Some trails do NOT allow dogs :-(

Only a few of the 130+ nests here
In addition, it's helpful to know that "parts of the Heron Colony Loop Trail and Discovery Trail are closed in the spring to allow lots of room for the herons to forage and nest undisturbed." This doesn't seem to impact the trails along which the geocaches are placed, so that's great news for geocachers.

All of that said, the experience this time of year while the herons are nesting is absolutely amazing. To see these giant water-striding birds glide gracefully into their tree-top nests at the peaks of huge cottonwood trees is stunning. 

Heron in it's tree-top nest
Our visit took us on one of two possible looping trails to pick up geocaches, but by taking the "westward" loop from the interpretive centre we were able to observe the 130+ heron nests from a distance that was safe for the herons and that our geo-hound Piggy was allowed on.

Spending some time afterward in the centre chatting with one of the staff we learned that this reserve is the largest heronry (group of heron nests) in the Pacific Northwest and that the number of returning herons (on average) has been quite steady the last several years.

Visiting the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve is not only great way to not only spend the day out geocaching, but also to learn more about these amazing indigenous birds in their natural habitat.


Resident eagles guarding their food source
Geese with a gosling nearby





1 comment:

  1. Good write up, like that you focused on the area rather than the caches themselves....it appeals to the reader as a destination and a good place to visit. We enjoyed our visit there a while ago but we are probably due for a return visit to the refuge and the area in general as it is now saturated with caches.waiting to be found.

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