Big Cypress: The Smallest of Them All

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) - Sweetwater Strand, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) - Sweetwater Strand, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

The Green Heron is the smallest of our North American herons.  Well, technically it is the smallest of the North American birds with the word “heron” in its name (the Least Bittern, a member of the heron family is much smaller).  Semantics aside, this small heron is also one of our most colorful and always seems to carry a bit of an attitude.

I have always been a huge fan of these tenacious little guys that tend to skulk just above water level, often deep in vegetation or on cypress or mangrove roots.  Because of this behavior, they can often be difficult to photograph.  Yesterday, I found this bird sitting on a log floating on the surface content to sit and fish while I got my gear setup.  Once I was in position, on the edge of the water (well most of my tripod and one of my feet were in the water), he hopped from his log to this moss covered branch.

I stayed with the bird for a half hour or so until my knees simply wouldn’t let me kneel in that position anymore.  In all that time, he never caught a fish, but he never really tried either.  I think he was slightly distracted by the calling of another Green Heron nearby, as these birds, like other herons and egrets, can be territorial around their favorite fishing sites.  I left him happily fishing and keeping an eye out for predators and competing Green Herons.

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Comments

  1. I know these are in our area, but I have yet to get a photo of one. Great shot!

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