I went out yesterday to check out the Great Blue Heron Rookery off Loudoun County Parkway in Ashburn and was excited to count over 70 nests – with some herons still building nests, others standing on their masterpieces declaring their territories, and others clearly hunkered down likely sitting on eggs.
It was a windy chilly day and I was photographing through my spotting scope so the photos are not the best but do tell the story of this thriving rookery. We started observing this rookery in 2007 and back then there were 40-50 nests. It’s been wonderful to see the rookery expand and grow to its size today.
But what of its future?
As you know, the One Loudoun Stadium/the Hounds plan to set off fireworks during the nesting season and while we recommended that there be restrictions such that there would be no fireworks during the core nesting period of March 1 through June 30, the developer and President of the Hounds plans to proceed with them and we expect that on April 3rd, our Board of Supervisors will approve that.
It’s a shame because we’re quite sure that baseball fans are going to the games to enjoy baseball, and this small compromise would not diminish that experience. If you’re a baseball fan, let us know – would you still go to a baseball game from March though June if there were no fireworks? or is that a deal breaker for you? would you sacrifice fireworks for a few months knowing that you would be helping the birds of this rookery raise their young?
I think as a community we should consider these values.
While the rookery still thrives today, I’ll continue to go out with my spotting scope and watch these majestic birds as they build nests and raise young.
The photos I got yesterday were a little blurry due to the wind so I’ll head over again in the next day or so to try to do a better job at documenting this county treasure.
If you’re interested in seeing them, grab your binoculars (you need binoculars or a spotting scope to spy into their world) and drive over to Loudoun County Parkway. There’s a small pull-off where the parkway intersects with Marblehead Drive, and you can watch them from there. It’s a lot of fun.
The beauty of nature surrounds us….for now.