McKenzie Marsh Aurora Ontario Great Blue Herons Moved In, Cormorants Moved Out?

McKenzie Marsh Aurora Ontario Great Blue Herons Moved In, Cormorants Moved Out?

For some time now I have stopped walking to the McKenzie Marsh boardwalk on the St. John’s sideroad. We never make it as Matthew prefers the community Arboretum, entrance on the intersection of Industrial Parkway and St. John’s. I don’t blame him – on the way home we visit three playgrounds – at the Optimist Park, Northern Lights Public School and Thompson Park.

However, that one day when we did go to McKenzie Marsh we encountered many Great Blue Herons. Firstly, they were flying around as something was about to happen. It was close to the lunch – so may be it was their hunger flight. They were setting themselves up, at least five of them.

Great Blue Heron, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

One heron flew very close to the boardwalk and stood on the dead tree roots, usually where the red-ear slider turtles are found. I took many pictures of the heron and he didn’t mind. I am assuming that with so many photographers now visiting the boardwalk and even the constant traffic noise from the road, herons are adapting.

Many other birds flew over the body of water, but that day the herons were definitely dominating the McKenzie Marsh. And I was glad. Sometimes it is nice to have one species around so I can observe them closely.

Great Blue Heron, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

In the past, we used to have an interesting crowd of the cormorants, but looks like the population of them declined over the years. They mainly occupied the landmark tree on the East side of the boardwalk. They are still around. I saw two on the tree the other day, but this is nothing compare to seeing about fifteen of them.

The cormorants are interesting birds, not to mention they are also invasive. I am sure that now with less of them hanging around the Great Blue Herons are having a blast. They can now hang out on the landmark tree.

However, on this side of the McKenzie Marsh I have never seen a cluster of them. Herons always like to sit by themselves scattered in all directions. One somewhere on the back of the marsh, one sitting on the landmark tree, the other one on the stump, then one hiding on the willow tree across and of course this one on the pictures fishing very near to the boardwalk.

Great Blue Heron, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

Beside Great Blue Herons as always there were Canada Geese and ducks. Seagulls were flying over. Mind you I miss the Caspian Terns. They usually fish on the South side of the St. John’s (Atkinson Wetland). They can be mistaken for seagulls. Look for the distinct red beak and interesting fishing technique.

Great Blue Heron, McKenzie Marsh, Aurora

About the Author

Anna Lozyk Romeo

I am living in Aurora and this is my photo journal blog. A picture says 1000 words - but not always, so I write. You don't have to travel 1000 miles to find a treasure - all I have to do is zoom through my lens and I will find it for you here in Aurora.


  1. Anna, I have also stopped at the McKenzie Marsh and observed the Great Blue Herons this year. The most I have counted roosting in the old tree is 9. I hope they stay around for a while.

  2. Steve, thank you for dropping by. I think the Blue Heron population did increased. It is also possible that many were hiding on the back where the new boardwalk is, and now we can see them more. It is quite a striking view to see them in the group, especially because they are larger birds. Anna :)