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September 1, 2012 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Green Heron

The Green Heron is a small heron that breeds across most of the United States and migrates in the winter to the southern US and as far south as Venezuela. They are usually found around the shorelines of oceans, lakes, rivers and ponds. They are often difficult to spot because they stand motionless, blending into the grass, while waiting for a fish to come within striking range.

Green Heron

Earlier this summer while attending a program on Purple Martins we spotted a young Green Heron hiding in the grasses at the edge of a pond near where we had assembled. We all trained our binoculars on him, got a nice look, and went back to watching the program on the martins.

About 10 minutes later we heard a squawk and the heron went sailing past us and landed on a roosting bar in front of the martin house, apparently miffed that we were no longer paying any attention to him. He walked back and forth on the bar for a few minutes. Some of the martins flew away but many of them just watched him. I have seen martins attack and drive off a hawk, but they let the heron sit with them until he was ready to go.

This was the first time I had ever seen one perched up in the air. They are usually hiding in the grass on the shore pretending to be invisible.

The photo above gives an idea of the size of the bird. The martins are the birds roosting on the bars below the house. Compared to the Great Blue Heron, the Green Heron is much smaller at about 18 in or 45 cm in length. They do have green feathers but the bright sun that morning washed out some of the color making it difficult to see.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise / Sep 1 2012 1:45 am

    How wonderful of him to pose for you so well! He’s an attractive fellow. I think I saw one of these standing in a tree in Texas last year.


    • Leslie / Sep 1 2012 3:29 pm

      A group of 25 people didn’t bother him at all. And he stayed up there for about 5 minutes.


  2. Dragonflydaydreams / Sep 1 2012 3:21 am

    Your first photo has him striking a very majestic pose. The greens may be washed out, but his stripes are very clear and distinct.


  3. Paulita / Sep 1 2012 5:39 am

    I love the close-up photos, but that one of him on the purple martins perch made me laugh. He looks like he’s trying to get someone to play with him. Great shots. Here’s Mine


  4. BermudaOnion / Sep 1 2012 5:49 am

    He is just gorgeous! I can see where his coloring would blend right in with the grass. What a great sighting by you!


  5. Mary / Sep 1 2012 6:03 am

    I live close to a small river and see a blue heron from time to time but I’ve never seen a green heron. Beautiful photos, Leslie.


    • Leslie / Sep 1 2012 3:23 pm

      They tend to step back into the grass. I don’t usually spot them unless I’m looking with the binoculars.


  6. Trish / Sep 1 2012 6:18 am

    What an interesting bird! I’ve never heard of this kind of heron before. Its coloring reminds me of a sandpiper.


  7. Christine Harding / Sep 1 2012 7:35 am

    They are wonderful pictures. I’ve seen herons, years ago when I lived on a boat on the Thames, and more recently here in Tamworth, but I’ve never managed to get a decent photo. My Snapshot is at


  8. Melissa @ Melissa's Bookshelf / Sep 1 2012 8:02 am

    Fantastic pictures! The detail in that first one is so interesting. I’ve never seen herons that look like that one.


  9. Valli / Sep 1 2012 8:09 am

    Green Heron looks fascinating! I love the second photo.


  10. laurelrainsnow / Sep 1 2012 8:14 am

    Gorgeous! I love that martin house, too. I adore birdhouses. Thanks for sharing.



    • Leslie / Sep 1 2012 3:38 pm

      That is the newest martin house on the property. The nesting compartments are large and roomy, they slide out for easy cleaning and the entire house is on a retractable pole so that it can be brought down the ground for maintenance. It is the ultimate bird residence, and every unit was occupied! Plus it’s adjacent to a pond and beautiful golf course. Lucky birds!


  11. Susan / Sep 1 2012 8:24 am

    What beady little eyes!


  12. Book Savvy Babe / Sep 1 2012 10:05 am

    well, apparently the Green Heron believed he was much more interesting than purple martins 🙂 Great photos, thanks for sharing! Book Savvy Babe


  13. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Sep 1 2012 10:50 am

    That was a fun story about how he ended up monopolizing your attention! I’ve never seen a green heron before (at least that I know of).


  14. Gina, book dragon / Sep 1 2012 10:57 am

    fabulous! I don’t have the patience for bird watching and envy those that wait for pictures like that!

    I posted about what I did this summer.


    • Leslie / Sep 1 2012 3:26 pm

      I got lucky with this one. He just flew up to the perch as if to say “look at me!”. So everyone with a camera ran over there to get a photo.


  15. Sim@chapter1-take1 / Sep 1 2012 11:15 am

    I could seriously look at herons all day long. They seem so intelligent.


  16. Bev@My Reader's Block / Sep 1 2012 11:20 am

    What great pictures! If you hadn’t told me this was a heron I would never have guessed. I think of much longer legs when I think of herons. He’s a gorgeous fellow.

    Here’s my Snapshot.


    • Leslie / Sep 1 2012 3:27 pm

      The Great Blue Heron is the one with the long legs that most people think of when they hear “heron”.


  17. Barbara / Sep 1 2012 11:54 am

    I just love your bird photos! Birds are so challenging to capture.


    • Leslie / Sep 2 2012 12:49 pm

      Thanks. It usually takes a lot of patience, hiding behind trees and flowers and waiting. I got lucky with this one, the bird came to us and showed off!


  18. Wrighty / Sep 1 2012 11:57 pm

    Your photos are beautiful!! And what a great story to go along with them! We only have a river nearby so I don’t see many water birds. I enjoy the information you provided as well. 🙂


    • Leslie / Sep 2 2012 12:50 pm

      If the river banks are grassy you might find them hiding there too.


  19. stacybuckeye / Sep 2 2012 8:59 pm

    That first pic is so beautiful.


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