Heron on the hunt

A juvenile Green Heron looking for lunch at Gibbs Gardens lily ponds

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We made a trip up to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia this weekend.  Around the water-lily gardens many flowers were in bloom and there is always a variety of wildlife around the ponds.  We saw turtles, frogs, butterflies and dragonflies a plenty.  This was not at all unexpected but, then we saw the hunter.

At the edge of the lily pond was a bird inching along, his eyes trained on the water, taking small-careful steps as he tracked some unseen fish.  It is common to see birds flying around the gorgeous landscape here but this is the first time spotting a heron. It was really neat to watch him patiently follow the potential prey.

The first time I had seen a bird like this was at Sanibel Island, Florida.  The Green Heron (Butorides virescens)  is deep green on the back with a rich chestnut breast and neck. I think this may be a juvenile since adults do not usually have the pale streaking on the neck seen on this one.

While their cousins, the blue herons and snowy egrets are common sights in coastal Georgia and Florida, the green heron is more shy and harder to see so, we were very lucky to spot this one.  This particular bird seems to be a regular visitor at Gibbs Gardens since one of the employees saw my camera and asked me if I had gotten a picture of the heron as we were heading out.  I will have to be sure to see if he’s still around the next time we visit.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens)
Gibbs Gardens
1987 Gibbs Drive
Ball Ground, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
300mm @ f/6.3 – 1/100 sec – ISO 200

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