My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Stalking the stalker

I know, I used that line about the great blue heron photos from The Big (photo) Dump, the birds, but I like it so I am re-using it for this post. In today’s post, the quarry was a little green heron, but I warmed up on this bird first, a mourning dove.

Mourning dove

Not bad, but I can get closer.

Mourning dove

Not bad, a mourning dove portrait from around 10 feet away.

On to the little green heron. I first saw it on the other side of a local pond. Not only was it too far away for really good shots, but the light was all wrong, as you can see.

Little green heron

But my motto is shoot a few anyway, you may not get a better chance. I wanted a better shot though, so I backed away from the pond and circled it, having noted some landmarks on the other side to go by to help me sneak up on the heron once I had gotten around to the other side. Sure enough, there it was.

Little green heron

Still not great, but I shot a couple more so I would have something.

Little green heron

Still too many weeds in the way, it seemed to be trying to keep weeds between us, as if I couldn’t see it through the sparse weeds.

Little green heron

This won’t do. I noted which way it seemed to be heading as it was hunting, and looking around the pond, I saw some cattails further down that I could hide behind, and let the heron come to me. So I backed away, and crawled into the cattails with just my head sticking out, and camera, of course.

Little green heron

It wasn’t quite as close, but at least it was going about its business and not watching me.

Little green heron

I could tell it was stalking something in the water by slow it was moving, and how low it was squatting down.

Little green heron

You can see that its belly is almost touching the ground, it must be getting close to what it is stalking.

Little green heron catching a fish

I can’t believe I got a picture at the moment of the strike, what luck!

The heron turned and ran up the shore a little way.

Little green heron with a fish

I suppose they run up the shore so if they drop the fish while they are positioning it to eat it, the fish won’t be able to swim away.

Little green heron with a fish

They swallow their prey whole, headfirst. The heron was working the fish around in its bill so it could swallow it.

Little green heron swallowing a fish

As it was swallowing the fish, it noticed me, and turned and headed the other way.

Little green heron

Of course I would have liked to have been closer, but I find little green herons to be very shy or skittish most of the time, so I don’t think these are too bad at all.

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3 responses

  1. Excellent photo sequence! I like how the herons’ crest is up in the one shot. We can’t always choose our angles and shots, but these are fine. Great portraits of the mourning dove as well!

    September 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    • Thank you. The green herons seem to raise their crest while they are walking, and lower it when they are still, but I’m no expert. They are just now beginning to show up in numbers in this area, they used to be very rare around here.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm

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