Great blue herons are gorgeous birds, very stately and elegant. Pictures on this page were taken at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Parrish Park Titusville, Space View Park, Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary, Venice Rookery, and Fox Lake Park. Most of these locations are in Brevard County, Florida; except Venice Rookery which is in Venice, Florida. The text on this page represents my personal observations of Great blue herons.
Great blue herons can be found in most states of the U.S.A.  It is one of the species that most visitors recognize right away.  All of the birds photographed here were seen in wetland habitats.  They tend to feed alone while other egret and heron species will often be seen feeding in mixed flocks.  I have seen them consuming everything from small turtles at the edge of canals to fish, snakes and other birds.
The GBH pictured above was gulping down a snake as I spotted him at Spaceview Park in Titusville.  The picture to the right is of the same bird. 

The Great blue vigorously shakes its prey then dunks it in water before trying to swallow.  Three different times I have watched a GBH with a snake.  One nearly gave up, but after about 20 minutes managed to toss it in the air still wriggling and then swallowed it head first.  It took a while for the heron to gulp it down.  The picture above shows nearly the end of the meal.  The heron then lurched its head up and gulped at the same time, letting gravity help draw the snake down.
This GBH had just landed on a grassy area in Ulumay when I spotted him.  I noticed slight differences in the birds that were showing breeding plumes.  I have yet to find the reason for the bill and other color differences I have seen.  Possibly it is a matter of maturity and timing in the breeding season for each individual.
Colonial nesting appears to be favorable for great blue herons as well as egrets.  At the Venice Rookery we saw not just herons and egrets, but also anhingas.  They all had young on the nest at the same time and didn't seem to mind their neighbors.

I was amused watching the fuzzy chicks seem to mimic the adults.  Notice the adult to the left preening, the chicks appear to be preening too.
To the left, a chick nearly ready to fledge, begs a meal from the adult.
Below you see a Great blue stalking in Fox Lake.  It is actually a composite of one individual, not 3 herons together.  The bird to the right was also seen at Fox Lake in Titusville Florida.
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