Saturday, June 27, 2009

Adult Green Heron at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Reserve (near Hilton Head Island, SC)

Birding Hilton Head Island and Pinckney Island NWR…continued from Friday's post on Wood Storks
The Wood Storks continued to pant as the temps rose higher. They would make strange noises every now and then and walk from branch to branch, but mostly they stayed put and rested and panted high in the pines. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about that Green Heron, wondering if he had speared anything. Finally my curiosity won out and I abandoned the Wood Storks for the Green Heron. I couldn't find him at first. He was once again in statue mode and his coloring camouflaged him very well, but then I saw him. He had moved about 3 feet away from his original location and was standing on a little clump of mud.

He walked slowly and cautiously around his tiny 
island. Always watching the green, green water.

Slowly he shifted his gaze to the left...

...and wham! He picked up something....

...but then let it fall back down. He then spent a little time 
moving this little green thing around. I know Green Herons 
put out bait to attract fish. It seemed that was what 
he was doing...arranging his bait, setting a trap.

After a while, he shifted his gaze out. I did too and immediately 
saw a beautiful Snowy Egret about 15 feet to the right. 

I looked back and forth between the Snowy Egret and the Green Heron, trying to decide what to do. Should I wait and watch the Greenie fish, or walk a little further and study the dainty Snowy Egret, or go back and watch the Wood Storks a bit more? What a dilemma!  I can tell you...I'm never faced with these sorts of decisions in Cincinnati (except maybe during spring migration, but the warblers usually abandon me before I ever have to decide to abandon them!).  Can you guess what I did? I'm sure you know...

34 comments:

Elaine said...

Once again, gorgeous photos! It must have been fascinating to watch the heron fishing, but I imagine you couldn't resist going on to catch a photo session with that snowy egret. Your day just kept getting better and better! Wow!

Sue said...

It's a shame we can't be two places at once!
The photos are wonderful...you have me in suspense.

JPT said...

That's an impressive bird - I love it's eyes.

Kelly said...

Elaine...thank you! It did. It was like I was pulled from one bird to the next. It was nice that they sort of organized themselves into little neighborhoods also.

Sue...I wish I could have. The birds just kept coming!

JPT...I love his eyes too...yellow and intense!

Laure Ferlita said...

I would be very surprised if you didn't move on to the egret, but this heron is outstanding! Beautiful!

Vickie said...

There's nothing more intriguing than watching a bird's behavior, its natural way of engaging its world. These images are outstanding. I'm enjoying one of my favorite coastal areas and its birds through your ventures! Things do tend to happen this way, a moment of abundance!

Kelly said...

Laure... :-) Thank you! Between the baby from the earlier post and this adult, I was quickly falling in love with these birds. In Cincy, they are not as cooperative as here. I miss Pinckney!!

JKoenig said...

Boy, another outstanding bird and the snowy egret to look forward to!

I love the way his side feathers seem to be edged in a contrasting color.

Have you ever wondered, if you were to design a bird, how could you come up with something more unique or beautiful that you have seen on your trip?

Ginnymo said...

Great shots of the Heron Kelly. It must be fascinating to watch all those birds near the water. I hate when I have to decide which critter to take a picture of when one is in front of my living room window and one outside of the bedroom window..Ha! Decisions, decisions. I know how you feel. Even though my area is so small.

hip chick said...

We don't get them here in New England. At least I don't think we do. We have the bigger blue herons. they both beautiful.

Roy said...

Heh, heh! Don't you love it when all of your birds are just standing there doing nothing? What they're really doing is waiting for you to make the next move!

E said...

Great pics, dear Kelly, very lovely details, colors, light, and timing; a wonderful trip you had full of these beautiful creatures. Congratulations, 10+ !

Steve B said...

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions. Nice posting.

Warren Baker said...

Decisions, decisions! I am exactly the same, I missed a raptor today, because I was chasing down a butterlfy, then left the butterfly to find the raptor, and got niether!

Clever little Herons you have over there! your pics are really amazing today kelly.

Philip said...

WOW! a great sequence of shots one of my favorite Birds Kelly nice work :)

The Old Gray Egg said...

That green herons use bait to attract fish is another example of avian intelligence. Like the corvids that make and use tools. Who knows what else lies behind their minds? What kind of camera do you use? Lenses? I wish that everyone could reveal the technology behind their wonderful photos. Perhaps in your profile so that you wouldn't have to restate it in every post?

Nature As Is said...

Lovely Heron Kelly I have never seen on like this before sooooo beautiful I totally love the colors.

Abe Lincoln said...

Wow. Impressive Heron. We used to have them in the ditches near Greenville, Ohio when I was young but I have not see one in many years. Your photo of him captured all the magnificent details and colors that we seldom see when we say, "Oh, look, there's a heron."

Roy said...

Lovely pastel colours on this bird Kelly.

holdingmoments said...

What a beauty he his Kelly.
Smart too, using bait to catch his food.

Matt Latham said...

Brilliant stuff kelly - that really is a dilemma but you stuck with the Green Heron and got the results to show for it. Well done.

Cindy said...

Beautiful bird. I didn't know there was a Green Heron. Love the shade of green.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kel, Another great bird from Pinckney...I'm surprised that Rick got you to leave that place at all... ha

The Green Heron is so pretty.. Love all of those colors. Was he alone? Another other family members around???? Wonder if he was making goo-goo eyes at the egret???? ha ha

Have a great Sunday and stay COOL.
Hugs,
Betsy

Montanagirl said...

What a great day for you. That's definitely a place I'd like to visit!

Kelly said...

JK....thank you very much. Boy! Good question. I guess I was so busy just trying to keep up with the birds it didn't enter my mind to design one. I don't think I could come close with anything!! The colors have been too cool...the shapes, the sounds, the wings, the plumes......thank goodness we can just sit back and enjoy!! :-)

Ginny....it is a tough decision. You basically know if you abandon a bird, it will more than likely not be there when you get back. It's hard to weigh the options. Either way, someone gets slighted...

Hip chick....we don't get many here in Cincy, but they are around. They are just not as tolerant as the SC birds. Being on an island on an island gives these birds sanctuary, and I guess they feel very safe. After all, their little mote is guarded by alligators (and only bird lovers really know about this place). I guess they can safely feel safe with us all around them.

Roy....I don't know what I'm going to do when I actually have to go out and hunt for my birds again :-) South Carolina birds are so obliging (but really just those on Pinckney Island are).

Enita...thank you...the photos keep coming with more cool birds...

Steve...yes......we're actually lucky when we have to!!

Warren....thank you! D'oh! That's the worst...dropping one bird only to find the other subject has already flown!!

Phillip...thank you! He is one of my favorite birds too. I was so happy to catch him putting out the bait. That was really cool....haven't really seen any other bird do that.

Old Gray...Thank you! I'll do that. I'll post my lenses and camera in the sidebar. Until then, here it is:
I use a Nikon D700. I have a Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G lens. I also use a Nikon 2x teleconverter. When something is really far away, I always use a monopod and then crop the heck out of it in Aperture (I'm a Mac person). The lens is nice because it has Vibration reduction, which makes the crops acceptable. That's why I don't have the sharpness of photos taken with a reall 400mm lens. One of these days....

Crista...they are beautiful. He almost looks more blue in certain light. He's very cool...

Abe...thanks. I know what you mean. When we see one from the distance, we don't get to appreciate all the fine details that make up their beauty.

Roy...thank you! I should try to draw it using pastels. I haven't used a pastel chalk for years and years!

Keith...he's the first (and only) birds I've ever seen lay out bait. It was interesting to watch him.

Matt...thank you! I do want to go back to the island for these great photo ops again!

Cindy...I do too. It's very subtle. All of his colors blend together so beautifully.

Betsy...this guy was all alone. The baby Greens I saw earlier in the morning were on the other side of the island. I was looking to see if any others were around, but he had reign over the entire reed bed. However......maybe he was making goo goo eyes at the egret. Those showy little yellow slippers could turn anyone's eye!! :-D

Mona...yes, you would love it....and wouldn't want to leave. Later in the day I felt so antsy leaving. I knew if I kept walking another wonder would reveal itself (but my cards were full, and I could barely walk...and I knew Rick and Matty and our friends were probably getting ready to send out a search party!).

Adrienne in Ohio said...

You did a great job capturing this bird, Kelly. He is a handsome fellow, to be sure!

Heather said...

You're doing a good job holding us in suspense here Kelly! This green heron is just so beautiful. I'm going to guess you stayed to watch greenie fish... but I could be wrong!

Steve said...

Hi Kelly, you're not the only one with Herons today. I got Grey ones. Excellent pictures once again.

Jenny said...

This Pinckney place is a photographer dream come true, except that you have to make those choices....but what choices!!! (-:
Again, wonderful sharp photos Kelly. Thanks for sharing this place with us...is there more?

The Early Birder said...

Hi Kelly. I've just caught up with your various posts on Pinckney. Once again I have been transported to paradise with your words & great pics. If it was me I'm not sure I would know which direction to look next...but just soak it all up. Fab location.

Mary said...

How pretty! I've never seen the feathers on the sides up close like that before. Very beautiful!

Chris Petrak said...

Getting caught up after being away for a week - love your photos of the waders. They are often very cooperative about having their pictures taken, unlike the songbirds. Hope your weather was good. I can count the hours of sunshine we had in Maine - fingers and a couple of toes.

Kelly said...

Adrienne...thank you!

Heather...you were right...until Mr. Blue blew in to town. How easily my head is swayed! :-)

Steve...I'll have to stop over to take a look! Thanks!

Jenny...it is a photographer's paradise...and yes...there is more. At least 4 more posts....

FAB...I'm very much like you because I really didn't know where to turn next. I just started going with the flow. Mother Nature started leading the way! I still have several more posts of this place, but when the photos are gone, I think I will be sad.

Mary...thank you....they are very pretty...

Chris...our weather was perfect. One afternoon it rained about 45 mins. Otherwise it was sunny and hot!

BirdingGirl said...

Wow- those are great pictures! I'm very jealous :)