Friday, August 6, 2010

Green Heron

Along with the numerous Great Blue Herons at Fernhill Wetland, I have been observing Green Herons regularly also. They tend to be even more elusive than the Great Blues though as they are smaller and tend to lay lower in the tall grasses along the edges of the ponds.
As I walked past the Northeast shelter along the main pond, I heard an occasional load sound kind of like a 'crack'. I didn't know what it was, nor quite where it was coming from as the sound was quite short.
I continued slowly along the service road just past a mid-sized tree when what looked like a Green Heron flew out of the tree, followed by another from along the pond. They both landed near by, so I turned back to see if I could find them.
I first walked along the edge of the pond peeking over the edge to see if I could either of them. Sure enough, one was there, but it flew off before I could spot it. I then looked around a bit when I noticed one standing in the open on the other side of the service road.
It didn't seem to mind me being there so I was able to take several pictures.
Later that night, when I looked at the images on my computer, there seemed to be something not quite right about birds. I have seen Green Herons before, but not a lot and not usually so close. This one seemed slightly different though. For a bit I thought maybe it wasn't a Green Heron and tried to convince myself that it was a Least Bittern, but it's overall features more closely resembled a Green Heron, especially it's back and wing coloration.
One of the things that bothered my is that the front of its neck was more striped than others that I've seen, though during all other sightings of the bird, they not have their neck extended as far as this one. The other thing is that its beak was much bright yellow. Typically Green Heron's beaks are darker.
Then I noticed a few white puffs on its crest. They appeared to be down feathers. It was then that I decided that I must be looking at a juvenile. That would also explain why it was more tolerant of my presence.
Notice that in the center image it has a Dragon or Damsel Fly in its beak.

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