Great Egret Rookery in Waukesha County Wisconsin on July 19, 2018

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to walk into a Great Egret rookery in Waukesha County. This rookery is tucked away on private property and has no access to the public, sorry. The rookery was nothing like I would have expected. It was a full grown mature forest of hardwoods. As I entered the rookery on the forest floor, the sounds of squawking birds was almost overwhelming. High above on the tree tops were at least 6 active Great Egret nests with good size chicks ready to fledge the nest, most where already out on the limbs strengthening their wings and legs for their maiden flights. A few chicks were still just sitting on the nest. A few adults were seen flying over, monitoring the young chicks maybe, but I just did not see any on the edge of the nest. With all the dense foliage above in the canopy, you could see a Great Egret chick above, take 4 steps and struggle to see the same bird from a different location, the foliage was that dense.  Amazing as it may sound, there were also at least 40 plus Great Blue Heron nests, and many of them were active too. Same thing, most birds were at the edge of the nest, some in the nest or on limbs close by, a few feet away waiting for their maiden flight. It appeared some Great Egret nests were a few feet from Great Blue Herons nests and many were perched near each other too. A few interesting observations were made, it appears at least 2 deceased Great Egrets chicks were seen in different nests from below. Also, a skeleton of a Great Blue Heron is seen hanging off the side of a nest. It was an exciting experience to see and so educational as well. A couple images may be of the same nest taken from a different location there. Thanks to who made this visit possible. It was a mild day with temps about 80, full sun, no wind. Images were taken on July 19, 2018.

1st sighting, a pair of  Great Egret fledglings in the nest with a 3rd behind on the left perched out of the nest…

Looking up into the canopy, in a opening is a Great Egret fledgling perched, we had to look hard to see these birds in the canopy above…

A Great Egret fledgling in the nest and another 2 fledglings perched outside the nest on each side of the nest on limbs along with a Great Blue Heron fledgling on the right…

A Great Egret fledgling perched with a nest in front of it and Great Blue Herons fledgling in a nest close by…

A pair of Great Egrets fledglings perched out of the nest waiting…

Great Blue Heron fledglings in their nest with in close proximity of the Great Egrets…

Two perched Great Egret fledglings perched front of their nest with another one on the left near the nest or in it…

A Great Blue Heron juvenile perched above the nests…

Great Egret fledglings perched with another one in the nest on the left…

(Graphic) Skeleton of a deceased Great Blue Heron hanging over the side of the nest…

Two Great Egret fledglings perched high near the top of the canopy which is where they all were in this rookery, one doing some preening…

Great Egret nest did not appear as dense as a Great Blue Heron nest…

A Great Blue Heron is perched on the side of the nest of what appears to be a deceased Great Egret chick in the nest…

Two Great Blue Heron fledglings appear to be looking down at me…

A  Great Egret fledgling in the nest…

A Great Blue Heron fledgling perched on the end of a limb with another one overlooking the situation, it is how they strengthen their wings and legs…

A little off balance here, it is all about getting stronger legs and wings…

More of the Great Blue Heron fledgling balancing act…

Great Blue Heron broken egg shell on the ground…

Great Blue Heron egg on the ground with eye glasses for size comparison…

Broken Great Blue Heron egg from a nest above…

Breeding plumes found from an adult Great Egret placed on a log…

Great Blue Heron nest looking up, appears more dense then the Great Egret nest, maybe bird size?

Another image of the first pair of Great Egret fledglings seen…

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About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

12 Responses to Great Egret Rookery in Waukesha County Wisconsin on July 19, 2018

  1. Tom O’Malley says:

    A beautiful sequence of pictures Jim!

  2. Chris Carlson says:

    This sounded like an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing it in words and photos.

  3. Peggy Lison says:

    Love the opening shot Jim. Splendid photos. I enjoyed these lots. Peggy in Madiosn

  4. Darrell Schiffman says:

    Jim, It sounds like and amazing experience especially for being in Wisconsin, (Nice pictures) . I have been to a number of rookies in Texas and it is amazing to see Great Egrets and Roseate Spoonbills in breeding plumage. As always I enjoy seeing your pictures, thanks again.

  5. Joan Schrinner says:

    Amazing photos, Jim! Looks to me as if the nests are very fragile and could fall apart any moment. Can’t see how the adult would even fit on the nest. Do they lay more than 2 eggs?

  6. Tom Erdman says:

    They usually both lay 4-6 eggs. Interesting stage as our young egrets on Green Bay have already started leaving the colony and are moving about the area following adults.

  7. Pamela S Skaar says:

    I have only seen a heron/egret rookery in the Atchafalya Basin of Louisiana. Yes – very noisy and messy and in the swamp. I didn’t know they nested on dry land. Great photos!

    Is is OK for me to use the breeding plume photo to design a quilting pattern? The lines are quite beautiful and I would use the bottom feather reflected back towards itself.

  8. jls says:

    Soooo amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. Annie says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing your great expedition to the rookery. And telling your story with such wonderful photos including the graphic ones. Circle of life. Thanks

  10. Sarah Stokes says:

    What a wonderful opportunity! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Carl Schwartz says:

    Beautiful photos and quite educational; thanks

  12. J says:

    Thanks for sharing!!! Challenges me to get out birding more often–and not just in Spring.

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