Readers’ wildlife photographs: Green heron and hooded merganser

Reader Pete Moulton took these lovely bird photos in Arizona. The notes below are his, and you can click on both photos to enlarge them.

Here are a couple of photos from my home patch in Phoenix that you might like. The little Green Heron is my all-time favorite avian subject, which I’ve probably mentioned before. The duck is a drake Hooded Merganser, which has been present at the same pond for about the last three weeks. He’s a bit of a rockstar, and dozens of birders have been to see and photograph him.

Green heron (Butorides virescens):

GRHE.6-29-13_Papago Pk_8914

Hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus), male. Now that’s a duck!

HOME_12-21-13_Papago Pk_3772

I’ll add a photo of the female merganser (from Wikipedia) to show the striking sexual dimorphism:

800px-Hooded_Merganser,_female

17 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I love that Green heron shot!

  2. Pete Moulton
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks, gbjames. They’re every bit as expressive as Roadrunners, but more colorful and a lot easier to find and photograph.

  3. JBlilie
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Very nioce ones Pete! What equipment did you use? Cheers!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Thanks, JBlilie. I took these with my trusty old Canon T1i and image-stabilizing 100-400mm lens. Both are full-frame shots at less than 300mm focal length.

      • JBlilie
        Posted January 8, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Very nice, you really got close! Thanks for sharing the data.

      • JBlilie
        Posted January 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a green heron in the pond behind our house (both with SIGMA 150-500 with OS, maxed out, Pentax K-5, range about 80 feet, hand-held, cropped):

        Green heron

        Green heron

        In the second shot, he/she’s on the turtle island I made to give the turtles a safe place to haul out:

        In this shot, after winter’s ice messed with it. it’s upside down

        In this one, there are sixteen turtles on it!

        • gbjames
          Posted January 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          cool!

        • Pete Moulton
          Posted January 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Great shots! That’s definitely a herd of turtles!

  4. Rob
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Wonderful heron pic.

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted January 8, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Rob.

  5. Posted January 8, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Nicely done!

    What part of the Valley did you find them? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one of those ducks at the Zoo, but I don’t recall seeing the heron.

    b&

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted January 8, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Ben, these are both from the Papago Park ponds between the Zoo and the Botanical Garden. The little herons seem most numerous and easiest to see at the middle pond of the three. The merganser can be on any of the three ponds, but lately he’s been at the one nearest the Zoo most often. He’s a diver, so it may take some patience to find him.

      • Posted January 8, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Ah — right next to Hole-in-the-Rock, one of my favorite parts of the Valley. Haven’t been there in a while…this could be a good excuse to make a pilgrimage….

        Thanks!

        b&

        • Pete Moulton
          Posted January 8, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

          Exactly right, Ben. Enjoy your trip!

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Very lovely!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted January 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Diana!

  7. Richard Olson
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen these birds until now, and lately it seems the same couple of dozen sparrows are the only feathered friends flying around outside my window. I’d love it if these beautiful (and unusual in my experience) flyers came ’round for a long visit.


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