Great Blue Heron, BraeBurn No. 6, October 17, 2017
A common, but still spectacular, wading bird at BraeBurn is the Great Blue Heron.  This largest regular resident bird at BraeBurn sports a six-foot wingspan and is most commonly seen fishing off the bulkheads of lakes on the front nine.  It is distinctive not only because of its size but also for its loud croaking as it flies very slowly with its legs trailing behind.  You can often see it standing alongside a Great Egret or a smaller Snowy Egret.
 
But those are egrets and this is the Great Blue Heron, the largest heron and the tallest bird at BraeBurn, even taller than our sometimes visitor, the incomparable Bald Eagle.  Its 72” wingspan is smaller than only a handful of other North American birds including the California Condor (109”), White Pelican (108”), Magnificent Frigatebird (90”), Whooping Crane (87”), Bald Eagle (80”), Brown Pelican (79”), Golden Eagle (79”), and greater Sandhill Crane (77”).
 
I have found the Great Blue Heron to be watchful, shy, and somewhat quick to move on if I get too close.  Great Blue Herons have a wide range reaching from southern Canada during the summer; throughout much of the US (including BraeBurn) and Cuba year-round; and into Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Venezuela during the winter.