I know it seems a bit early to be thinking of spring and nesting....but it seemed prudent to try and get this in the minds of NJ birders earlier than later. The following is a request from the NJDEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program. They are looking for information on where in the state herons are nesting and it seems that no "colony" is too small.
Christina Kisiel (see contact info below), has indicated to me that NJDEP is very much interested in ANY Great Blue Heron nesting sites, especially, in Cape May and Cumberland Counties. Note that NJDEP is looking for NESTING locations not foraging or roosting locations. I'll let you read on for further details.
"The New Jersey DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife is seeking information on inland nesting colonies of herons. Colonies located on marsh islands along the Atlantic coast are easy to identify and monitor, but those in inland areas are more difficult to detect. Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) is therefore seeking information on these colonies to improve the understanding of the distribution of these species throughout the state.
Of special interest are Great Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron colonies (especially in the northeast portion of the state). A colony is defined as having one or more pairs of nesting birds so please don't hesitate to report locations that have a small number of birds utilizing them.
Anyone with information on heron colonies should submit it to Christina Kisiel at ckisiel AT hughes.net. Please include details on the species using the site and directions to the site."