Were you aware that there is a Great Blue Heron nature reserve within a short drive of Vancouver, British Columbia. We were delighted recently to visit and explore this great outdoor reserve which is easy to find with lots of activities for young and old alike.
The Great Blue Heron is an easily distinguishable bird as it is the largest heron in North America. They are so elegant and majestic especially in flight as they seemingly float through the air with their wide wingspan. We are most fortunate to see them often both at the seashore and fishing at the local rivers as well as along the side of highways searching for supper.
Information on the Great Blue Heron
- Found throughout B.C. and North America
- Their plumage is a distinctive gray blue and they may have a dark patch on their heads
- Male and female herons look similar
- Herons live in fresh or salt water habitats
- Great Blue Herons breed in southern Canada and mostly build nests high in trees
- The adults share nest sitting and parenting
- Chicks leave their parents at 10 weeks of age after they learn to fly
- Diet consists of frogs, fish, insects and small mammals
- Herons can be 5 feet tall with wingspans of 6 feet
- They can fly at speeds of 30 to 50 KPH
- Herons usually weigh less than 10 pounds
Not only is the reserve bountiful with herons, on our trail walk we saw many migratory game birds as well as sign of a beaver who had been chewing trees at the waterside but no evidence of a beaver dam. There are blinds set up beside the walk trails offering an opportunity to view the wild life.
We also noticed that the banks of the waterways have been restored to increase the habitat of the endangered Western Painted Turtle not to be confused with the introduced Red eared Slider turtle which is a non native. We plan to return with our grandsons when hopefully we may see some turtles basking on a log in the sun.
- There is a tall tower for viewing the reserve and local mountains
- There are several blinds in the reserve for wildlife watching
- Approximately 100 heron nest each year on the reserve
- There are many well marked walking trails through the reserve and connecting to the Vedder River
- Spawning channels have been built to increase the habitat for returning salmon
- There is an Interpretive Centre at the Lodge
- The reserve and its amenities (including trails) are wheel chair accessible
The lodge is conveniently located at the entrance to the reserve with entrance by donation. There are many interesting exhibits and information, all well worth a visit with family or friends. A scenic spot to visit and walk through the many kilometres of trails. Fun for bird watchers and those who love the peace and quiet and beauty of our province and its wildlife. Well worth a visit and remember to bring your camera.
Links & References
- More information on the Great Blue Heron
- Join the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve Society to support wetland conservation, or as a volunteer
- Western Painted Turtle recovery program information email WPTRecovery@gmail.com
- Consider joining the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Coalition to keep our waterways safe and clean
- To learn more about this ecosystem check out the Chilliwack Field Naturalists organization which is affiliated with the BC Nature Federation
- BC Wild Safe - safety tips, wild life sightings - helping to avoid human - cougar conflicts