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.
Not bad, but I can get closer.
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.
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.
Still not great, but I shot a couple more so I would have something.
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.
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.
It wasn’t quite as close, but at least it was going about its business and not watching me.
I could tell it was stalking something in the water by slow it was moving, and how low it was squatting down.
You can see that its belly is almost touching the ground, it must be getting close to what it is stalking.
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.
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.
They swallow their prey whole, headfirst. The heron was working the fish around in its bill so it could swallow it.
As it was swallowing the fish, it noticed me, and turned and headed the other way.
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.