Since I often hike along the Long Island Sound in an area which has marshes and a protected bird sanctuary I am fortunate to see many shore birds. Herons are particularly adapted to hunting in the water with their long-legs and necks and so I have found many of them to photograph not only locally but all around the world.
Costa Rica is especially rich in its variety of herons and its “cousins” – egrets and ibises, and similar to those I met in the Galapagos there are not shy of humans so I could get some nice close up shots without having to strain my zoom lens. There are about nine different species of herons – let me share some of them with you.
The top photos is of a yellow crowned night heron. This bird had an affinity for the pool on the property of our lodge in Tortuguero so was often found in the mornings taking a drink and walking around. He even had a little dust up with a local hovering bee but besides an annoyed look so damage was done to either party:
Other herons also stopped by for a drink and a look at the human standing in the rain with a camera- I believe these are juvenile night herons –
Along the shores of the canals there were other herons walking among the grasses looking for insects and fish like this little blue heron:
LITTLE BLUE HERON
I love this shot showing even a bird has” bad hair days” when it is constantly raining:
The tiger heron is one of the larger and most unusually colored herons. They wait motionless for a long time at the water’s edge, sometimes with their necks outspread diagonally, waiting for a meal that might include fish, crabs, frogs, and insects.
While the herons are often solitary, their cousins the white egrets are more sociable. Egrets are actually herons, but herons are not egrets. Egrets are really just a type of heron. The herons are more variant in color, and while both are large birds, herons have the largest species (they also have smaller versions). Egrets traditionally like standing in the shallows more often than herons which prefer to be perched on a higher spot. While this has been true of true of the egrets I have photographed at home and in other countries (Africa, Vietnam, Galapagos) the egrets I spotted in Costa Rica seemed to prefer roosting in trees:
Another gorgeous wading bird cousin is the ibis: Unlike the herons and egrets, the ibis is not as social and is usually found on its own foraging for insects, fish and small shellfish.
I recently saw an inspirational post about herons and I think it is applicable to all of us as we wade through life so I will end this post with these thoughts:
WADE INTO LIFE
KEEP A KEEN LOOKOUT
DON’T BE AFRAID TO GET YOUR FEET WET
LOOK BELOW THE SURFACE