GREEN HERON

Once again, I have been assisted by the IL birders to identify this bird that I saw fly into a tree at the south end of the pond. It was late, I was facing west into the very low sun, so mostly it was a “What the heck is that?” moment for me.

Here is that video I took. Yes, it’s a bit shaky as I wasn’t expecting to flip my camera into that mode so quickly.

Green Heron flying to a tree on the south side of the pond.

Based on its flight and the very long bill, I knew I would find it in the Heron section of the AllAboutBirds.org site, and there, instantly I saw the pronounced neck striping of the American Bittern. I made sure that none of the other herons had that distinct stripped pattern down the neck. Yep. It’s a Bittern. Cool. What’s a Bittern? I only learned they existed a few months ago when another member of the IL Bird group posted some videos he shot of one that was hunting. It was amazing. But, I still didn’t know they might exist in my neck of the woods – or pond as the case may be.

It’s a Bittern! But, then I looked up photos of Bitterns (just an image search at Yahoo where there are dozens of photos that meet the search criteria displayed instantly.) Not one of the birds had this amazing crown of top feathers that the bird in my photos presented. So, I sent them off to the list and almost immediately began receiving replies.

“Green Heron”

“It’s a Green Heron.”

“This is a Green Heron.”

What? I looked at the Green Heron and it didn’t look anything like my bird. Then, a few more answers from the list members came in.

“From the pictures this looks like a juvenile Green Heron…”

“Looks like a classic, immature Green Heron….”

Well, the Bittern photos I examined seem to show a nice, long necked, seriously striped bird and the Green Heron photos tend to present a bird that keeps his neck well tucked into his shoulders and markings that don’t have any stripes. I’m not going to be upset that I failed to identify another new bird properly. I’m excited just to have observed it here on our property – showing off its long neck and its amazing headdress. And, I hope that nice group of informed birders don’t tire of my avian ignorance any time soon!

Here are a few other photos I took of this young, Green Heron.

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