A couple of Great Blue Herons nesting in Bimini Bay have produced 3 chicks this season. These are the first to appear out of 6 7 active nests. The most popular spot for the rookery is high up in an Australian Pine tree bordering Fiske Bayou. Two nests are in other pine trees across the bayou.
The Australian Pine has been demonized as an exotic, invasive species in Florida, condemned because it crowds out native undergrowth, has shallow roots, and ostensibly is prone to blow over in strong winds. It is the target of systematic removal by the local authorities. In this location it appears to be the tree of choice for these nesting herons, and has been for several years.
Another nearby heron nest, which was built on low growing mangroves, was abandoned soon after starting, possibly due to disturbance by the presence of boats and fishermen. Mangroves are protected from trimming and removal.
Even though the chicks are moving around frequently, they will not be ready to fledge for at least another month.
The other nests do not have any visible chick activity yet.
Update March 5: 2 more chicks have popped into view, in 2 separate nests.