Wet, Still and Feisty

Howdy folks. I have good news. Brad has checked in and thanks to a harrowing escape from a very agitated splinter tribe of the Baka, he’ll be returning to home base soon yeah! Best of all, he has digital cards full of future post fodder sure to entertain our readers. I’ll have to wait to hear the full office report out – dodging poison darts sounds like some serious popcorn munching stories. Linda and I are heading out into the field ourselves. Just a week stint for us, although I contend it feels a lot longer with limited amounts of sleep in Sin City. Expecting a big boost to my current Average Year count (link here) currently sitting at a respectable 210 thanks to two recent visitors to our feeders. Just to set the schedule, this will be the last post of the month from me in order to give me a chance to respond to comments etc. before we jet out. Brad will then take the helm to close out what is left of February and the first post or two in March.

With the admin work out of the way, how about we get to today’s featured feathered friend.

Green Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2022

Completely opposite the sun soaked issues I had to deal with in the previous Cattle Egret post, today’s series is more of a literal drenching. Rather than having to battle the exposure gods to keep from blowing out the brilliant whites of that Egret, I found myself trying to suck in all the light I could to pull this Green Heron out of darkness. Rain had just passed, the sky was still thick with overcast and the waters around the South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center (and now Alligator Sanctuary) had taken on a dreary tone.

Hit the jump to see a few more pictures of our rain soaked shore hunter.

Green Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2022

To be honest, I actually enjoy shooting during…eh, make that immediately after a good rain as you generally get a rather pleasing, rich coloring. The namesake deep green of this Heron gets slightly lost in this setting, but the lush chestnut on the neck down through the breast really stands out. I also like how the yellow highlights in the eyes, on the lores and underbill are easily seen in its adult plumage.

Green Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2022

For those not familiar with the SPI Birding Center, it happens to be my second favorite place to bird in all of South Texas and into the Rio Grande Valley area. Located on the southern end of the barrier island, this center sits on the Laguna Madre side. A location with a mix of salt marsh, tidal flats, mangroves and related coastal habitation that present a strong pull for an incredible selection of birds and other marine life.

Green Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2022

One such bird I can always guarantee a visit with is the Green Heron. They are definitely not a “rare” bird for those of us that are able to live/visit the eastern half of the US (during breeding season) or the west coast/southern border year round. Their range extends south covering all of Central America and the northern part of South America. Every once in a while, I’ll encounter one hanging out at the pond in the state park just down the road (link here). The advantage of SPI is they are quite accustomed to the parade of people passing by on the extensive network of boardwalks. Photographers appreciate “conditioned” birds as they are incredibly tolerant of having long barreled missile launchers pointed at them. This particular specimen couldn’t care less I was standing a mere 10 feet away – the ones around here will illicit their boisterous call – can’t really explain it accurately so I’ll go with Cornell’s SKEOW sound. I liken it to an Ogre choking on a Bunny Rabbit, but granted, that may be difficult to visualize.

Green Heron found at South Padre Island Bird Viewing and Nature Center in January 2022

I also appreciate this Heron’s hunting style, Sure the Great Blue Heron can wait patiently, but the Greens bring a whole new level of dedication. Pick a spot and stare at it, continue staring, stare some more, {Bri checks watch}, still staring, {Bri’s arms tiring from holding The Beast}, yes, still staring, {for the love of god, please give me a different pose}, nope, just gonna sit right here and continue my staring contest with my reflection. To get the first two shots I had to move.

Ron can attest, I am not the most patient birder, especially when it comes to subjects I have the pleasure of seeing multiple times a year. This one finally decided to check out what was causing the Tricolored Heron to dance the Watusi (link here) down the way. As Green was passing it gave me the “and you can mosey your butt down the boardwalk in the opposite direction” look. A bit feisty today, surprised I didn’t get the raised crown as an added emphasis. “Fine, I’ll leave but just because my arms are tired” – never give them the satisfaction of bossing you around.

I should probably get packing. Short on interesting tidbits for this Heron, but I do have more in my previous feature (link here). In that post you will learn more about their use of fishing “tools”.

See ya’ soon, take care everyone and give Brad a hearty welcome Brad!

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