[Tweeters] Black River Riparian Forest

Mike Hamilton mikeham44 at comcast.net
Tue Jan 27 22:13:54 PST 2015

There was big news at the Black River Riparian Forest in Renton today. At least for heron aficionados. I am a heron and a Black River aficionado. I have made almost weekly trips to Black River for about 12 years now. That means I have spent well over 1,000 hours there taking many thousands of great blue heron photos, along with many other critters. Many won’t be familiar with Black River. With beginnings in the 1980s, a great blue heron colony grew there to become the largest in the King-Pierce-Snohomish county area, reaching over 120 nests by 2007. And then an eagle pair moved in next door. Being raided mercilessly for four years, the herons gave up the site and have not nested there since. Today we saw what is likely the return of the heron to the site.

Beginning in late December we began seeing three or four herons. As of today it has ramped up to fifteen in the staging area just west of the old colony site. This afternoon, in the gloomy mist, one heron left the others and landed within the colony. Then, one-by-one, it was joined by six or seven others. The first one went to one of the remaining old nests, now quite decrepit. The others were distributed nearby, but several went to the old eagle nest tree....actually, the site of the original Black River colony. When the colony was active, it was typical to see the herons go to the nests, then return to the staging area the next day, then return again, and do this several time over a couple of weeks before staying. I expect that to happen this year. But hopes are now quite high that we are seeing the rebirth of the Black River colony.

By the way, the location of Black River is in western Renton, at the corner of Oaksdale Ave. and Monster Rd. My photographic style was cramped by the gloomy mist, but there are photos from today’s BR visit on my website at:


Mike Hamilton
Sammamish, WA
mikeham44 at comcast.net

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