Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green Herons

This green heron, along with two others we saw nearby this evening, was hanging about at the mudflats next to one of the marshy ponds east of the soccer fields in southeastern Northfield. We walked there last night and saw two of these herons; we came this evening with camera and spotting scope, but it was bit too late for optimal lighting. We'll have to try again during full daylight, but they may be shyer then.

Still, you can get a nice idea of the striking coloring and (in the top photo) the crest of this smaller (16-22") relative of the great blue heron we are more used to seeing. Green herons can be found throughout almost all of Minnesota during the summer, but their low profile and somewhat secretive habits tend not to make them an everyday sight. These birds we saw today and yesterday make up only about the third green heron sighting I've ever had.

Green herons are known to use bait to catch fish, dropping insects, twigs and other items onto the water to attract a nibble. Look at the size of that beak!

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dAwN said...

one of my favorite birds..I really enjoy watching them as they stalk thier prey and change shapes...its amazing home much bigger they are when they stretch that neck out.

Christopher Tassava said...

What an amazing-looking bird! I looks like it's wearing a nice bright vest or something. Is this the same individual? (It looks like it, since it's in precisely the same spot of marsh.) If so, why do they raise and lower their crest? Randomly?

forestal said...

great pictures - this is a bird i have yet to see myself

Penelope said...

Christopher - Yes, it's the same bird. Apparently they raise the crest if alarmed or excited. I wasn't sure either; thanks for the prompt to do a little quick research.

Mary S. said...

This is the first year we've seen the green herons on the pond. We've spotted them several times this year -- perhaps there are more of them than in the past.