Friday, May 1, 2009

Green Heron

What a difference a week can make. Last Friday I decided to run out to a few of my favorite local spots to see how the spring migration was going and hopefully take a few pics. I was happy to see quite a few darner dragonflies zipping around, darners migrate south for the winter, but was disappointed in the lack of birds to photograph. I saw a few birds, mallards, geese, egrets, robins, red-winged blackbirds, song and white-throated sparrows, but there was really nothing new.

Fast forward to today, one week later and the first day of May, the dragonflies were no where to be seen but there were birds all over the place. I saw all of the same birds that I had the week before plus wood ducks, pileated woodpecker, and a Cooper's hawk, all of which I have already seen so far this year, plus a few new ones for this year including yellow-rump and palm warbles, tree swallows, solitary sandpiper, killdeer and green heron.
Now these are not pictures that I took of the green heron that I saw today. He was not in a very good spot to take a pic, I would have had to shoot into the sun or wade through a pond with out my hip waders, so I did not waste the space n my card.
Everything is starting to green up here but it is not close to being this lush yet. These pics where taken at the Maplewood Nature Center back in August of last year.
Maplewood Nature Center is great habitat for green herons. The shallow lake is perfect for foraging in. Their legs are long enough that they can walk through much of the lake in search of prey. Their diet consists mostly of frogs, bugs, invertebrates, and small fish.
Besides foraging through the shallow waters green herons often catch food by ambush. When prey is near by they will stand motionless, blending into their marshy surroundings until the prey gets with in striking distance at which point they lash out with their quick sharp beak and nab their prey. Sometimes they will use tools, like sticks, feathers, or bugs, to help lure the prey into range.

Happy May Day

5 comments:

madcobug said...

Great shots. I used to see these birds a lot while fishing but never knew what they were called since they are so much smaller that the Great Blue Heron. Thanks for the info. Helen

Aluajala said...

He looks a little bit crazy with those curious mad eyes :)
Great shots!

Chris said...

Great shots of the green heron. This is a beautiful heron!!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Very nice series of shots!

Judy said...

There is often a green heron in the catchment basin nearby. I usually see his rear end, as he flies away from me and the dogs. Thanks for showing me what he looks like up close!