It was a fine early summer day! A weather front came through the region last night and pushed away 90+ degree heat and high humidity. Sunshine, fresh breezes, puffy clouds, and comfortable warmth ruled! With the day off I decided to pay a visit to the Medina County Parks’ Wolf Creek Environmental Center and go hunting for dragonflies. I bagged something more than expected.
As I wandered the grounds I enjoyed viewing the small ponds dotted with blooms of water lilies and buzzing with dragonflies. Red-Winged Blackbirds scolded each other and me from their treetop perches. I made my way towards the extensive boardwalk that extends into the area’s largest pond when a bird shot into the sky and made its way into more distant trees. At first I thought it was an unfamiliar type of duck but no, its beak was long and sharp. Once it perched, I studied it as best I could through my camera’s 200mm telephoto lens and wished I’d have brought the 400mm! Is that a duck? A Kingfisher? No… A Green Heron?! The bird let out a shrill cry and took off into the woods. I thought I’d seen the last of it. More enjoyable dragonfly hunting followed with lily flower photography thrown in for good measure. I wandered back to a smaller pond but heard that odd call in the trees ahead — the mystery bird had returned! So as I continued my stroll I paid attention to the infrequent screeches and when I saw that same feathered friend dart down towards the board walk, I knew that I, too, would go there again.
I crept down the path and on to the wooden walkway, all the while watching the shallows for my quarry. Seeing nothing I continued until I spotted it and froze where I was. The bird, smaller than I’d expected, was also strolling along on the boardwalk ahead of me and around the bend! Suddenly it struck into the water just off the deck and, thrashing, bounded back up with a sunfish in its beak. That bird was using the boardwalk to extend its fishing range!
I followed the little guy for a while, being very quiet and slow in my movements. By now I knew it was, in fact, a Green Heron — smallest of the herons and renowned for its intelligence. I squeezed the shutter release regularly and the bird seemed to grow accustomed to my presence. I’d never photographed a Green Heron before and I wanted to get the best images I could. The skittish little smarty would, however, only allow me to get just so close. When I was satisfied I’d gotten the best shots I could from where I was, I tried moving even closer — the heron walked farther away. Rather than spook the bird and spoil its hunt, I turned heel and headed off the boardwalk.