Heron fishing

I believe this is a Green Heron who was fishing along the edge of Woody Pond at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.  I watched as this bird was concentrating hard and would periodically thrust his beak into the water and come back up with a small fish.  They must have amazing eyesight because I certainly couldn’t see anything through the reflections coming off the water.

Harris Neck is a beautiful wildlife refuge just south of Savannah, Georgia.  The peninsula was once the home of an Army airfield which was abandoned after World War II.  The area was taken over as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1962 and is home to a wide variety of  birds and other animals such as alligators.  The alligators were definitely out and about when we were there.  We saw some small ones and could hear the adults bellowing in the swampy areas.  You do need to be aware of your surroundings out here.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
McIntosh County, GA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
500mm @ f/9 – 1/640 sec – ISO 320

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Heron on the hunt

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

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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