Juvenile Green Heron

Driving on Rookery Road along the shore of Lake Martin, I almost missed spotting a bird walking on a submerged log in the heavy shade of a cypress tree. When I saw it, I immediately told my birder/chauffeur Donnette to stop the vehicle, then aimed my camera at it. However, when I looked through my viewfinder, I realized that some foreground object was blurring part of the field of view.

7DI_5038-1Canon EOS 7D (600mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO6400)

As Donnette pulled forward a bit, we both got a better view, and she identified the bird as a juvenile Green Heron. But when we stopped, it immediately turned around and started walking away from us.

7DI_5044-2Canon EOS 7D (600mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO6400)When it got to the end of  the log, the heron turned its head and seemed to look back at us. At this point, with its long neck extended, I figured it was getting very nervous and would quickly fly off.

7DI_5049-3Canon EOS 7D (600mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO6400)Instead, however, the heron turned around and seemed to relax a little. It then allowed me to take several profile shots like the one below. It never flew off while we were watching it.

7DI_5063-4Canon EOS 7D (600mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO6400)A Green Heron, even one this young, has impressive contrasting colors. The heavy shade produced by the cypress tree (whose buttress is shown in the left background above) certainly mutes the colorful features of the bird. On the other hand, I think these photos show how well camouflaged the heron is in this shady environment and why I almost missed sighting it.


The location from which these photos were taken is shown on the map below. Zoom in for more detail.

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