Saturday, July 14, 2012

Green Heron, juvenile, Rock Cut State Park

Juvenile Green Heron, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 7/6/2012.
I spent three hours in the 100 degree heat looking for wildlife a week ago. As I was scanning a shallow lagoon at the southeastern end of Pierce Lake in Rock Cut State Park for water birds, a caught glimpse of a shadow of a bird against the algae-covered water at my feet. I realized that this bird was out of my sight, sitting on a low branch behind a larger tree trunk that was stretched out over the water's surface.  Since there was nothing too interesting on the water (Mallards, Canadas, & Coots), I waited patiently to see if this bird would pop out from behind the tree trunk.  And sure enough, it wasn't long and there he was (Above), peaking over the trunk - a Green Heron. It seemed rather small for the Green Herons I've seen, and by the streaks on its neck, I guessed it was a juvenile. It didn't have the dark reddish neck of an adult.
Juvenile Green Heron, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 7/6/2012.
This juvie Green Heron took turns hopping back and forth on the branches that extended from both sides of the tree trunk.  It's too bad that the branches on the side closest to me were in the shadows (Above), while the branches hidden by the tree trunk were in a nice photographical sunlight.
Trying out its ability to hunt,Juvenile Green heron, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 7/6/2012.
Periodically, this young Heron would test its hunting skills (Above).  I snapped a lot of pictures, and there is no way he didn't know I was there.  I was only a matter of ten feet away, and was not hidden. I even had to retreat my zoom lens (Sigma 150-500mm) to its lowest telephoto power to get a full body pic of the guy. I was still surprised how close I was and it did not fly away. Even after a couple of noisy hikers walked by, it still did not make attampt to flee. It just rehid behind the downed tree trunk, and soon reappeared after a minute (Below).

A juvenile Green Heron pretending I was not ten feet away, Rock Cut State Park, 7/6/2012.
A juvenile Kingfisher (yesterday's post) and a juvenile Green Heron were highlights of my Rock Cut hike on a 103 degree day.

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