Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mostly about the Green Herons I Have Met

I haven't met very many Green Herons so every occasion is marked forever in my memory.  I am sharing them (and a few other critters) with Eileen, who today publishes her 160th post for Saturday's Critters, the meme she hosts.  She has remained a loyal and consistent blogger over the years, showing the wildlife she loves to photograph in her backyard and during excursions near and far.  Her meme is a wonderful opportunity for critter enthusiasts to see just about every critter known to mankind from places all over the world.

My first ever Green Heron sighting was on the 12th of August, 2012 at Deboville Slough.  My bird book tells me females and males are similar, with females a bit smaller and with more muted colouring.  I would guess this and most of the ones I saw to be males, but will leave it to experts to identify genders if they choose.
 I couldn't resist showing a few other critters spotted the same day as the Green Herons.  This was an osprey we saw that day.
 We were so excited about several of our sightings at Deboville that we returned three days later and saw this Green Heron with a frog fighting, futilely, for its life.
The very next day, we were back again. We knew there were bears in the blueberry bushes along the slough, and I hoped to see my first ever bear in the wild.  Again, we saw a Green Heron, and this time, it gave me a reflection shot.
I was very excited to see a bear and her cub at quite a distance.  This is taken with my long lens (125-500mm) and I cropped the photo to show a bit of detail.
 That day, I also got a shot of this dragonfly.  I didn't realize at the time that they are also part of a Green Heron's diet.
 Another bear.  This one shows the blueberry fields.  The bears spend a lot of time in those fields.  We were very cautious, never ever approaching the bears, but I confess I was beginning to feel a little too confident that they would not bother us.  I was sure they were so interested in the blueberries that people would be of little interest to them.  It was a shock to learn that a young girl was seriously mauled by a cub this past August (three years after we had visited the area).  That cub's mother had to be shot and the cub put into a wildlife refuge.  Clearly, this next..
shot, taken with my long lens, may have been pushing our luck.  The bear was walking along the road.  We followed at what I thought was a respectful distance when it turned and gave us an intense stare.  I have a huge respect for wildlife and thought I was not harassing the bear but the more I learn, the more the feeling is cemented in my mind that animals are being squeezed out of their natural habitat and forced into human territory.  We all, myself included, need to question ourselves about the integrity of our quest for wildlife interactions.
We spotted this frog that day..
 as well as several dragonflies.  This one gave me quite a stare as well.
Bill became very ill in 2013 and I mostly stayed close to home, but one day, he suggested I ride my bike to McCleery Golf Course to see the Green Herons I had read about on line.  Bless his heart, he had to come get me, as I took a very long route home and finally realized I wouldn't make it before dark without his help.  That was the last trip out for a while so this next set of Green Heron photos were my last until 2016.  They sure were active that day.  
 I loved the "bad hair day" images. :)
 When they are on the hunt, they seem to be able to traverse land or twigs..
 with equal ease.
Walking on twigs. :)
 Again, more confirmation that frogs are an integral part of their diet.
Moving ahead three years to June 22nd, 2016, I discovered a Green Heron in the creek by Olympic Village, not far from our apartment.  Never before, had I seen one at that location.  I could see that his bill was broken and called Wildlife Rescue.  They answered the phone call but because I wasn't able to send a photo (no smart phone at the time), they decided, I guess, that the rescue would be impossible.  I sent an email with photos when I arrived home, but never heard back from them.  I was disappointed, but have to conclude they had good reasons for this.  Wildlife Rescue is an incredible organization that does invaluable work rehabilitating wildlife.
 I was glad to see that the heron was interested in hunting, despite his injury.
 Here's a closer look at his bill.
 And another look, straight on.
Four days later, I went back, hoping to spot the Green Heron again.  Instead, I saw many dragonflies.
 I took a ton of photos, but still hadn't caught on..
 that they are part of the heron's diet.
A few weeks later (July 18th, 2016), Bill and I were happy to see the same Green Heron.  It was clearly surviving and I caught a video of it catching dragonflies.  I love this video most because of the excitement in Bill's voice.  You have to listen carefully and turn your volume as loud as it will go to share in the fun.
Poor dragonfly, but I was happy the heron was surviving.
 He also seemed to be catching tiny eel-like fish.
 Another hapless victim, but again, good news for the heron.
 He was having a lot of success that day.
My last sighting of the heron was on August 13th, 2016.  He caught one of the little fish, and I thought he appeared to be thriving.  We went back many times after that, hoping to spot him again, but finally had to conclude that he had either moved on, or worse, hadn't survived.  I guess we'll never know the ending to his story, unless, by some wonderful chance, he makes a reappearance next year.  If he does, I promise to let you know. 
I watched herons when I was alone and when I was with Bill.  Perhaps, you can guess that the most wonderful times were the ones shared with him.  Here, he waves to me from the community garden where Black Jack loves to walk.  He was keeping her amused so that I could concentrate on getting photos.  
A critter post without a photo of Black Jack wouldn't feel right, so here is a photo of her that I took this morning as she basked in the morning sun.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you will find a little time to check out Eileen's Saturday Critters as well.  Thank you so much, Eileen, for hosting!


24 comments:

  1. Hello Carol, I am so happy to see a post from you. I was worried something happened. I hope all is well. I love the Green Heron images, you captured them beautifully. Especially the reflection shots. Cool dragonflies, the bokeh is beautful. Love your sweet Black Jack and always nice to see Bill. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

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  2. PS, I wish you all the best in 2017. A happy and Healthy New Year to you, Bill and Black Jack!

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    1. Thank you for the lovely comments, Eileen! You are such a wonderful host and blogger!

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  3. Wow, great shots, each so interesting, especially the green heron ad dragonflies.

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  4. You have a way of writing that makes your blog very interesting, and you have certainly had good luck spotting abd photographing Green Herons!

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    1. Thanks, FG! I feel the same about your writing. Green Heron sightings have been few and far between compared to Blue Herons. I still get excited when I spot one. But then, I still get excited about Blue Herons as well. :)

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  5. Wonderful shots, I didn't know there were such birds as green herons. You live and learn :)

    Diana

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Doodles. Yes, I'm still living and learning too. I meet SO many new birds at this meme. Now, the trick is to keep them in my memory. :)

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  6. Hi Carol,
    What to see a beautiful post.
    Great that you could shoot a bear, that we do not see in the Netherlands.
    The osprey is really great, also the heron have captured perfectly.
    I enjoyed your blog.
    best regards, Irma

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    1. Thank you so much, Irma! We were lucky to see that bear and get a photograph. I've only seen a few in my lifetime.

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  7. Hello Carol. tahnk you for visiting my blog in Ensland. i am so pleased I came over to see your pictures and to read your lovely words. You are quite right that we all need to show the greatest respect for wildlife but also allow them room to thrive. Love the Osprey picture and of course the Green Herons. Like you, I hope "broken bill" survives but he/she has proved at first hand how adaptable our birds are.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Phil! We share our love and respect for birds and all wildlife. I've joined the throngs following your blog. :)

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  8. Wow! So many interesting shots!

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  9. I enjoyed every photo. Lovely story and great shots of the Green Heron, dragonfly and of course your Bill and Black Jack. Have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. I am now following you and invite you to follow me too. Thank you.

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    2. Thanks for your kind words and for following me, Nancy. It will be a pleasure to follow you as well. Have a wonderful week!

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  10. I too love the green heron!! Especially when they fly/takeoff/land and the beautiful crest feathers rise. Either way, they're beautiful.

    Love the bear portrait where it stopped to stare! Wow...incredible.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Anni! I haven't yet caught a good open-winged shot of a Green Heron. Something to look forward to :) I won't forget that bear. :)

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  11. A nice series of nature shots, Carol. Dragonflies are mesmerizing because of their gorgeous wings. However, I see they are also a delight when a slightly disadvantaged heron is looking for its next meal!

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    1. Thanks, Maria! Yes, I only figured out after all these years that herons eat a variety of insects, amphibians, rodents, and fish. I'm sad for the dragonfly but hope the end was quick. :)

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  12. Hi Carol, thanks for visiting my blog today. I popped over to visit you and am I glad I did! I loved this post with all the Green Herons (especially the one with the broken bill) I also loved your words and reiterate that we humans need to show even greater respect for wildlife and their habitat. I'm going to follow you. Greetings Jo PS Is Bill your husband? He seems an incredible person!

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    1. Hi Jo, Thanks for following me and for your kind words! Bill has been my partner for 9 years and 4 months and 9 days - he is indeed incredible and the love of my life!

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  13. What amazing heron photos, Carol! And dragonflies! And bears! We are forcing wildlife into our areas by destroying their habitats. We really need to think about preserving habitat for animals and plants!

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