Birdwatching At Home – Green Heron

Watching birds from our backyard/backdoor is becoming quite interesting. Our latest visitor to the water’s edge is this Green Heron. He caught our attention this morning, again, while we were having breakfast. Of course, by the time I got my camera on, he flew off. The Joys and Disapointments of birdwatching. These photos are cropped so that you can see him better. These were taken a few days ago.

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19)

What is so amazing about this sighting is how hard we have searched for them on birdwatching trips. Green Herons (Butorides virescens) are known to be secretive, and because of their colors, stay well hidden in the mangroves and other bushes along the water. When we spot “Greenies” on a trip, it is usally one of our highlights.

“Compared with most herons, Green Herons are short and stocky, with relatively short legs and thick necks that are often drawn up against their bodies. They have broad, rounded wings and a long, daggerlike bill. They sometimes raise their crown feathers into a short crest.” All About Birds – Size & Shape

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

Interesting Fact from Wikipedia: “Green herons are one of the few species of bird known to use tools. In particular, they commonly use bread crusts, insects, or other items as bait. The bait is dropped onto the surface of a body of water in order to lure fish. When a fish takes the bait, the green heron will then grab and eat the fish. When green herons catch large frogs, they will drown them before swallowing them whole.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

I posted this video back in 2013, and thought you might enjoy it again.

“Color Pattern – From a distance Green Herons look all dark. In better light they are deep green on the back with a rich chestnut breast and neck. The wings are dark gray. Juveniles are browner, with pale streaking on the neck and spots on the wings.” All About Birds

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

Here is a previous photo taken at Flamingo Gardens, Florida several years ago. That is the way you normally find them. Not out in the open like our current one.

Green Heron at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

 

Beautiful Frigatebirds Over the Beach

Magnificent Frigatebird over shore by Patrick AFB by Lee

“The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalms 8:8-9 NKJV)

Today while trying to enter Patrick AFB in Florida, we spotted three Magnificent Frigatebirds skimming over the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Wow!! We very seldom spot these birds. The size of their wingspan is amazing and are a sight to see.

Since this was New Year’s Eve day, we discovered that the A1A entrance was closed. So, we had to turn around and go back to the other gate.

Two Magnificent Frigatebird over shore by Patrick AFB by Lee

“Dan, wait while I get my camera out of the case. Maybe, we can spot them again, because they were heading south originally while we were going north.” Yeah! We spotted the three and also a fourth one. These photos were taken through the front windshield while Dan was driving. So, they are less than perfect. But, it does prove we saw them.

Magnificent Frigatebird over shore by Patrick AFB by Lee

I have a Dr. appointment over here, so we came a day or so early. We birdwatched a Viera Wetlands a bit on the way into the area. Plan on covering more of the wetlands before heading back home.

Now for some better photos of this magnificent Magnificent Frigatebird.

Magnificent Frigatebird by NOAA

While checking for information on these birds, I found several interesting articles you might want to check out. The one talks about how they stay at sea for days and weeks on end. They tested their sleeping ability to sleep while aloft. See: Frigatebirds can sleep while flying.

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Female ©WikiC

“The 7-foot wingspan of a magnificent frigatebird is unmistakable. They dwarf other birds as they glide on air currents above coastal Florida. Our state hosts the largest frigatebird species and the only nesting colony in the United States, located in the Dry Tortugas. Their summer breeding season brings the open-ocean species in to the shore where males can show off their distinctive red pouch to potential mates.

Magnificent Frigatebird pair on nest ©Jim Burns

Frigatebirds rarely land on the ground due to their short legs and wing shape. Their thin “bent elbow” wings are ideal for soaring hundreds of miles without a single wing flap, but can’t generate enough lift to get the large birds off of the ground. They land and nest in high places, free diving off of them before catching the breeze and flying on.

It’s just as uncommon to find a frigatebird on the water. Their feathers lack oil that keep their seafaring neighbors like pelicans and gulls afloat. Water would quickly soak the frigate’s feathers and make it nearly impossible to escape.” This is from Nature’s Academy’s article.

We have had several articles here over the years about the Frigatebirds:

Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family

Sunday Inspiration – Frigatebirds, Gannets and the Booby

“F” is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds: “F” Birds, Part 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird