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September 5, 2012 - 9:11am

Green herons & great blue herons: creatures of the marsh

The green heron pictured above appears to be doing its hunting in a grassy field but that is probably not the case. Never one to venture far from their favored haunts, the small stream barely visible behind the heron is probably where it was hunting before being disturbed.

After taking flight, the heron flew only a short distance before coming to rest on some dead branches.

Dead tree limbs overlooking marshy confines and surrounded by thick brush or cattails makes for a preferred hunting location for the green heron.

The heron has something in its sights and begin to crane its neck forward.

Its neck fully extended, the green heron is on full alert.

Great blue herons, along with great white herons, are the largest of the heron family. Mostly seen wading the edges of small streams and marshes, this great blue heron opted for an aerial view from a dead tree.  

This is the marsh bordering the hedgerow of dead timber where the heron is situated. Whether he's simply resting or watching for prey, it has a great view of its wetland haunt.

Ever vigilant, the great blue looks to the west...

before looking to the east...

with nothing in sight, it takes a moment for a bit of preening.

James Renfrew
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Thanks for identifying that Green Heron. I've had one in my pond from time to time and didn't know what it was, though obviously waiting for fish very patiently.

Great Blue herons are also seen here on occasion. Where I almost always see one is when biking along the canal between Holley and Albion. They often hold their position even as I ride by real close.

Jennifer Ross
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Thank you for sharing these awesome photos!

JIM NIGRO
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James & Jennifer - you're welcome and thank you both for your comments.

James - speaking of biking and wildlife, on Labor day I was biking in the local countryside and came across several Redtail hawks, some perched on roadside utility poles, others right on the wires. In each instance the hawks let me get close before taking wing and alighting off in the distance.

Mardell Lamb
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Hi Jim,
Great photos! I've always loved Blue Herons but never heard of green ones. Amazing what we learn here @ the Batavian. Thank you! :)

Kyle Couchman
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Its funny you mentioned that Jim, Last weekend I was back in Ithaca for a day (actually friday) and as I was walking a trail between Collegetown and Easthill Shopping center a Redtail hawk landed on the horse pasture fencepost not more than 8 or 9 ft away. Stared at me for a good few minutes then took off for a perch across the field on an old powerpole. Very impressive raptors when viewed up close.

John Woodworth JR
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Kyle that is cool. We have an individual who is hired by the Airfield Management Office to scare off sea gulls and other birds from the airfield. He has an Harris Hawk, Redtail Hawk, Great horn Owl and two Falcons. I was able to hold the Redtail, Harris and Falcons. Amazing grips and a lot lighter than I expected. Birds of Prey are awesome.

JIM NIGRO
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Thanks, Mardell!

JIM NIGRO
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Kyle - thanks for sharing. And you are one cool customer! If I had a Redtail come within 8 or 9 ft. - and if I had a camera with me - I would snap a few pics and then, if after several minutes it hadn't flown off but was glaring at me with that intense stare, I think I might have started jumping up and down or waving my arms just to let him know I wasn't his lunch!!

Kyle Couchman
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LOL Jim I was cursing the fact that I didnt even have a camera phone as for the rest I did not move on until he did, and was about to start jumping around. Something bout that stare though just shot right through me, couldnt help but be fascinated.

John Woodworth JR
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Jim as always great photos.

JIM NIGRO
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Thanks John - I'm thinking the individual you referred to is a falconer?

Jason Crater
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Speaking of red tail hawks, I've seen at least 3 on a regular basis on my daily thruway commute between Batavia and the Lockport/Depew exit. I also saw 6 deer this morning on my drive, and regularly see wild turkeys.

Kyle Couchman
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I know since I moved to Batavia from Ithaca that 490 from the Bergen exit all the way to 390 I used to see several (meaning at least 5 or more) Red tailed Hawks perched in the trees on the edge of the median and such, even recall sadly seeing what looked like 2 or 3 Hawk roadkills as well, though how a hawk n car cross paths I cant figure out.

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