The Nesting Heron Colony of Black River

Great Blue Heron nests in the cottenwoods along Black River in Renton

After all day on the computer, I took a solitary drive to the Black River in Renton. My mom and sister had heard about the largest great blue heron nesting colony in Washington and it was only ten minutes from my home so I wanted to check it out.

How wonderful that this region protects nature amid all the corporate build-up. Here is 93 acres is permanently protected Open Space for these birds and all the animals living in the wildlife sanctuary. Next door to this is the offices of – how congruent.

It drizzled on and off as I walked down a cedar chip trail to a where the Black River opened up to a small lake with cattails, birch trees and mammoth cottenwoods. It was in this expansive forest of cottenwoods that the herons nested high up at the tops of the trees. It took a bit of looking for the first nest, but once spotted, my eyes became accostomed and I found about five, each with herons on them or perched on a branch nearby. I saw two perhistoric-looking herons as they winged to a nest with long branches in their bills to help build a nest. A herons call sounds like a dinosaur – think of an eagle cry but deeper and hoarser. While I saw about 15 herons, plenty for me, a photographer I met – the only other person I saw during that hour – told me she saw the sky blanketed with herons about 30 mins. prior as they were heading back to their nests.

I also saw a Merganzer, a mallard and a cottentail rabbit. Perfect way to end the day!

More info about this great blue heron colony at

Merganzer in the widening of the Black River; Heron nests high above


~ by enchantedvalley on April 3, 2010.

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