Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Paul sent some photos of, and I quote: “my favorite of the Herons, Butorides virescens”. This is the Green Heron, and Paul’s captions are indented:

One of the most successful of the 64 recognized species of Ardeidae is the Green Heron (Butorides virescens).  These guys are highly successful at T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area in Brevard County, Florida and are a blast to study, watch and photograph.

At T.M. Goodwin, I have been lucky enough to watch an individual through the nesting, brooding and fledging stages.
This nest was within 5 meters of the access road and slightly over a meter above the marsh.  I took one image and moved on to minimize stress

The incubation period is 18-21 days followed by 14-17 days as a nestling.  When hatched they are mostly helpless but have open eyes.  After leaving the nest, they stay quite close for 7-10 days (my observations… not sure if that time period is universal)
 25 days after initial sighting of nest

30 days

The Green Heron can be found on the edges of the marshes, in shallow water or concealed in heavy vegetation.  They are a tool using bird species.  I have watched a Green Heron carefully position a dead dragonfly in the water in front of him, wait motionless for 3 minutes, then reposition the lure until a small fish investigated and was snatched up in one incredible motion.  I’m told they also use feathers as lures.
The heron stood motionless for 3-4 minutes then lunged at the fish.  Notice the deep cavitation.  Usually the Green Heron hunts in shallow areas of the marsh leaving deeper areas to longer-legged herons.

The heron shakes his head as he brings up the minnow to clear water and, I suppose, stun the fish a bit.

The Green Heron has a velvet green back, a chestnut body and a dark cap which is sometimes rather comically raised in a short crest making the heron look like a punk rock devotee.

You never quite know where these guys will be.  In the trees, on lily pads, or watching the traffic go by.  Always one of the most fascinating and fun species to observe at the marshes.

 

 

25 Comments

  1. Terry Sheldon
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Great shots. Thanks!

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Very good photos. I see many Great Blue Herons and some Black Crowned Night Herons in the midwest but do not think any of the Green Herons.

  3. Posted March 11, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Love the photos from behind the branches. Almost feel like I’m intruding on a private conversation.

  4. Posted March 11, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Nice photos! We have green herons nesting on the pond behind our house every summer and we see and hear them all the time.

    But I’ve never seen one raise its crest!

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Great pics Paul [pvp]. I read on Wiki that they don’t stun frogs – they drown them instead before swallowing.

  6. Barry Lyons
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I went to All About Birds and looked up Green Heron. So weird that the bird sounds like a dog:

    https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron

    • Posted March 11, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      If there are birds (parrots) that sound human, why not one that sounds like a dog?

  7. CAS
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Beautiful bird pictures.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Such dinosaurs!

  9. Posted March 11, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Great pictures and info! I had thought this species is pretty elusive. About a year ago, though, I came across one just sitting in a kind of drainage ditch next to a busy parking lot. That was a surprise!
    Thank you for sharing.

  10. Kenneth Averill
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photos!

  11. Posted March 11, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Absolutely fantastic.

  12. Debbie Coplan
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Wow! Great photos!

  13. rickflick
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Well done. The green heron is definitely a great bird to watch and photograph.

  14. Joe Dickinson
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Very nice.

  15. Glenda Palmer
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos and captions. Thank you.

  16. Posted March 11, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Nice pics. BTW, credit where credit is due, the taker is not this Paul.

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted March 11, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry. Self promotion was never my forte. I should have inserted a blurb asking people to participate and donate to the citizen science platform, eBird. My old mind couldn’t even remember to do that.

      Thanks for all the kind comments and I hope Green Herons have some new fans.

      Paul Peed aka “Paul Techsupport”

  17. Frank Bath
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    What a striking bird. I would love to see one.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 11, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      If you’re not already involved, I’d suggest contacting your local birding organization. They’ll know where the greens hang out.

  18. Mark R.
    Posted March 11, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I was always a fan of the Green Heron (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the wild); now I’m even more of a fan. I feel like it can’t be my favorite heron since I’ve never observed one…maybe an honorary fave until I do.

    I saw a video on WEIT of a heron (was it green?) that was fishing with a feather. It would even grab the lure off the water if the fish going for it was too large for the heron to eat. That awareness was extra special to me.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 11, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      If you’re not already involved, I’d suggest contacting your local birding organization. They’ll know where the greens hang out.

  19. Posted March 23, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful bird, heron chick make me smile.


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