Friday, June 29, 2012

Let's Go Frogging!

Herons are graceful waders and magnificent flyers and in my opinion, I think Green Heron is the most beautiful one among all. Green Heron is a popular summer residents in most of states. But it's hard to find them because they always stand still and blend into their habitat. In this post, I would like to share with you a "gang" of juvenile Green Herons and how they learn to be the best "froggers" :)

A friend told me she found some baby Green Herons and asked me to check them out
I think this one is about 4 weeks old and barely can fly...he can only walks and hops around :)
 Click on image to enlarge

There's a small pond in a sport's complex off 5 Forks Trickum Rd in Gwinnett County. It was a quiet pond in a hot, late spring afternoon and there was not much going on around here other than few Mallards swimming back and forth and some joggers walking alone paved trail. As I carefully scanned the edge of pond, there were a lot of activities all hidden under a huge willow tree. Pine warblers were singing and I spotted a beautiful Grey Catbird foraging on the ground. As the first heron chick appeared, I got a bit of nervous and thought this chick might fly away if he noticed me. Soon I found out my worry was not necessary because he was just a small, flightless chick. OMG! I laughed at myself so hard and then decided to go back to my car and get my lunch and picnic table out. No, no, I am kidding. Instead, I now could really relax and take my time to get some cool photos!

Adult Green Heron in this photo. Parents are near by watching the chicks ..Click Image to enlarge

After a while, his other brothers and sisters started coming out one by one, hopping around the nesting tree. I have never seen Green Heron walking, they normally stand motionless and stare at water for prey. It was very comical to see these chicks wobbling so much and few times, they almost fell from trees. Suddenly, they started calling and flapping their wings so hard and that reminded me my first time seeing Pileated Woodpecker chicks . I guessed their parents might be around and guess what? I was right!

I had no idea what he tried to do when I took this picture. I thought it's comical.
After about 10 minutes (yeah, it took him a while to vomit, lol),I found out why ...
Parent trying to regurgitate food ......Keep reading and you will see what I saw :)

Both parents feed young. This parent (see above photo) flew down from a tree top, landed on a fence. He stood there for a long time and I told myself "this is great! While this heron does his job watching chicks, I do mine.. snapping more photos!" Then he started turning his neck from the right to the left many times. I was just enjoying his show and not sure what this adult heron was trying to do.  This Green Heron dad (I know it's a male and you will know why in the next post .. ) even raised one of his feet to kick his stomach few times... "Ouch! That's hurt.", I was thinking and quickly snapped few shots of his funny pose.

Suddenly, out of the blue, one chick flew in and touched down right next to the parent ....then I had no clue to what happened in the next 10 seconds except hearing the sound of my camera firing at the speed of 8 frames per second.  When all the actions finished, both birds flew off,  I played back my camera and,wow, I saw something amazing!

You need to have a little imagination to figure out what they are doing....It took me a while, so take your time :)
Parent (the one with the black bill) regurgitates a frog to feed the chick (the one with yellow bill)
Finally, do you remember I said "brothers and sisters"? Yeah! I waited at the park over 4 hours, perspired like a steam engine, just wanted to snap a photo of all chicks. Not only did I photograph their gathering, I found something even more marvelous ... that will be in my next post :) -- Happy Birding! -- Linda

Acknowledgement:
Thanks to my friends Richard and Tali Stone for their kindness and this amazing find so I would be able to share these beautiful herons with everyone! Richard, you are awesome and keep an eye on your owls when they return this winter!

2 comments:

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  1. Beautiful birds and story Linda! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Thanks Trevor :) My new trip photo is coming...have to work Sunday so see you soon!

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