Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby Green Herons at Pinckney Island Rookery

Birding Hilton Head Island, SC and Pinckney Island NWR 
I don’t know how long I just stood there listening to all the sounds and trying to take in the sheer volume of birds in this small area, but it was a while. Eventually I walked down a small hill to a well-worn path under a willow tree that lead to the water's edge. The water was sooooo green there and covered in what looked like the duckweed. I don’t know much about alligators, but it seemed like the perfect place to hide (and that scene from Crocodile Dundee where the heroine is leaning over to refill her canteen popped in my mind…Yikes! I quickly scanned the shallows looking for hidden nostrils and non-blinking eyes, but all was clear). About 10 feet away in the roots of a tree half in and half out of the water, I noticed movement, and there among the knobby protuberances were two juvenile Green Herons climbing up and down and around, practicing their hunting postures, and when they felt sure-footed, searching for food in the mucky green water. I don’t know how old these two Green Herons are, but they still have baby fuzz on their heads, and I don't know if they could look any cuter!









40 comments:

Chad said...

Holy smokes, what absolutely amazing pictures.... you do a great job! Green Herons are very nice looking birds, I have only seen a couple.... On the Ibis, this past spring I was in Orlando at Animal Kingdom where I saw my first large group... just as I walked in there were tons of them that came in to roost nightly.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gorgeous, Kel... I love those green legs!!!!! ha.... The Herons are just beautiful birds. I'm SO impressed.

I would have been afraid of alligators too. By the way, did you need bug spray back there in that area????? Where was Rick???? Were you by yourself????

I'm SO glad you saw so many neat birds.

Have a wonderful weekend. Happy Father's Day.
Love,
Bets

Tabib said...

Beautiful hair style!

Kelly said...

Chad....thanks...cool. Isn't it amazing to see them in these large groups.

Betsy....the bugs were not too bad here. I think because we were surrounded by saltwater marsh and there was a fairly strong ocean breeze, they stayed away. However, I went to a preserve inland on Hilton Head Island (which I will talk about later) and only lasted 15 mins...dodging swarms of the nastly little bloodsuckers!

Rick and Matty were playing tennis. Yes.....we know who the real birders are in my household. I tried to get them to come out then next time for this amazing sight, but Matty and Cody wanted to skimboard and Rick...tennis. I'm not one to stay at home, so I just went off by myself. The place had tourists, so I felt very safe there. Usually Rick or Matty come with me, but I guess the lure of the Lorelei (in our case the ocean and a tennis clinic) was too great for the boys.

Tabib....haha! Didn't it make you laugh. I loved seeing those fuzzy little heads...

NW Nature Nut said...

I love the head "fluff"....adorable! What a site to see!

Elaine said...

These are so adorable! The head fluff is so cute. Very nice photos.

Kelly said...

Nature Nut and Elaine....isn't the fluff the greatest. When I saw it I flipped...so cute.

Kallen305 said...

Excellent shots Kelly. I have been trying to get decent shots of Green Herons for a while now and always fail miserably!

NatureStop said...

Wow! Lovely shots and that fluffy haistyle looks great:)Amazing place and birds.

HBFG said...

Amazing pictures Kelly! Especially the first two, they look like paintings. So nice!
Those birds look so funny...
:))

Roy said...

Well Kelly, I am glad it was only juv Green Herons. Great images and a deft piece of manual focussing as well.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos Kelly, such sweet youngsters!

Vickie said...

Awesome images! I love that baby fuzz too and you got so many great views. I always think about that for art, you need the details from all angles. Its so much a part of their personalities.

I hiked alone once while visiting Aransas NWR and walked within a few feet of a small alligator, meaning about 4 ft long, bathing in the sun beside the trail. I took a couple of images and gulped, glad he wasn't inclined to move.

Kelly said...

Kim...head down to SC...they sit and pose for you there! I was never able to get a shot of a Green Heron in Cincy!

Nature Stop...thank you!

Farmgirl...thank you...they made me laugh also!

Roy...thank you very much...

Songbird...thanks! The next trip I went on there I stumbled across an adult. The photos are coming.

Vickie....so true. When I finish writing and posting all the photos from the trip, I need to paint a few of these images. (I did see an alligator, about 4 hours after seeing these little guys. He was in the water on the other side of the pond...hidden. Probably about a 3-footer. I have a photo...

holdingmoments said...

Great pictures Kelly.
What a place that is. Every turn producing something more exciting.

Kelly said...

Keith...every turn does produce something new and exciting. It totally spoils you!

Montanagirl said...

Terrific photos! You do such a good job with your photography. Love their little fuzzy tops.

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, I forgot if I've asked you: What camera and lens do you use? You get such fantastic photos! Thanks for the info. I'll check back here for your answer. You should write a field guide and use your wonderful photos!

Gabrielle said...

Oh wow! I know I'm always saying "This is my favorite bird" or "I love this bird" to everything, but I really do love green herons. You are so lucky to have gotten to see this!

You've got enough fantastic reference photos just from this trip to keep you busy painting for years (hint hint).

Shellmo said...

These blew me away!!! Gorgeous!!!

Warren Baker said...

Stunning photo's Kelly. Lets hope they don't end up getting eaten by the crocs.

Kelly said...

Mona...I use Rick's camera (which basically has become mine). Before I started blogging Rick took a lot of bird photos for me. Now I take them all... It's a Nikon D700. I have a Nikon AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm 2.5G 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. On of these days.....

Gabrielle....I'm definitely itching to draw these birds. I can see the paintings in my mind.... I'm going to start with sketches. Hopefully I'll be there in 2 weeks. It might take me that long to post everything from the trip! Thanks!

Thank you, Shelley!!! Your photos always blow me away! :-)

Kelly said...

Warren...you snuck in on me while I was answering the other comments. I saw one alligator when I was there...he was small (about 3 feet)...I assume he had a mama or papa somwhere around, though. I hadn't even thought about the 'gators getting the birds. yikes...

Steve said...

Wonderful Heron shots Kelly. They don't look very old do they!

JPT said...

Not very attractive creatures are they!?
Only a mother could love them.

Chris said...

Really good pictures Kelly!!! Very funny shots of the youngs!! I love them and this is a bird that I'll never see here

Ken Browne. said...

Hello Kelly.
Nice photo's of the juvenile Green Heron's, just don't go too near the waters edge.
We would hate to lose such a pretty blogger.

Tammie Lee said...

oh my, you have captured the wonder of new life!

Roy said...

Great shots, Kelly! We have Green Herons around here, too, but I've only ever managed to get adults. Good work!

BTW, check my post for today; you've been awarded!

Busy Bee Suz said...

a gorgeous scene and pictures too. Love this post!!! I am so used to alligators now..they are like squirrels:) OK, may NOT.
Suz

Jayne said...

Awwww.... too cute they are with their fuzz!

Jenny said...

Fab photos Kelly. I think I like the last one best. It just seems to be going about its business, not worried by you being there. Great!

dAwN said...

Ha..they are adorable with the fuzzy wuzzy up top..
great shots!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Very nice pics, Kelly. How cute are they with their fuzzy heads!

Kelly said...

Steve....thank you...it's amazing how quickly they mature. Within a day or so, the fuzz will be gone.

JPT.... :-) I guess they are in their ugly duckling phase, but I kind of like that gawky-ness (and they look cute to me--but I always root for the underdog). The fuzzy crazy heads...I just love it!

Chris...thank you...they did look funny carefully climbing around on the roots...

Ken...haha! Thanks...I watched that water very closely....

Tammie...thank you! ...more babies to come...some looked to be just out of the eggs!

Roy...thank you.....and thank you for the award! It's an honor!! :-)

Busy Bee! Hahaha! I bet you are used to them...you probably see them everywhere. That's what I'm going to say from now on when people ask "weren't there alligators there?" I'll say, "yes...but they're just like squirrels, so no worries..." :-)

Jayne...my sentiments exactly....

Jenny....thank you! I liked that one too.... He was so carefully slipping around on the roots. Very cute...

Dawn..... :-) You made that rhyme pop into my head....we can change it just a bit... "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Heron, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair on?" bad....

Adrienne...than you! I think so too...

Kelly said...

Steve....thank you...it's amazing how quickly they mature. Within a day or so, the fuzz will be gone.

JPT.... :-) I guess they are in their ugly duckling phase, but I kind of like that gawky-ness (and they look cute to me--but I always root for the underdog). The fuzzy crazy heads...I just love it!

Chris...thank you...they did look funny carefully climbing around on the roots...

Ken...haha! Thanks...I watched that water very closely....

Tammie...thank you! ...more babies to come...some looked to be just out of the eggs!

Roy...thank you.....and thank you for the award! It's an honor!! :-)

Busy Bee! Hahaha! I bet you are used to them...you probably see them everywhere. That's what I'm going to say from now on when people ask "weren't there alligators there?" I'll say, "yes...but they're just like squirrels, so no worries..." :-)

Jayne...my sentiments exactly....

Jenny....thank you! I liked that one too.... He was so carefully slipping around on the roots. Very cute...

Dawn..... :-) You made that rhyme pop into my head....we can change it just a bit... "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Heron, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair on?" bad....

Adrienne...than you! I think so too...

Cicero Sings said...

Such a find ... to stumble upon! I really do need to get out there with my camera ... but I have such an aversion to biting bugs.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

This is a fantastic series of shots Kelly.

Heather said...

Oh Kelly, these guys are too cute! What is it about the fuzzy heads that gets us every time?!

nefaeria said...

Those are adorable! I have never heard of Green Herons, thanks for the intro. :)

Laurel