The sun fills the duckweed laden pond in late afternoon. The hunter stands motionless on the end of the ‘ll submerged log. From below he looks just like an odd branch or root. Nothing seems to break his concentration. Not even the big blue truck parked on the wrong side of the road several yards away. His body is motionless but his eyes miss nothing. The frogs can only stay under for so long. His joints are locked and he can stand like this for a very long time. All it takes is dedication to his goal.
If you’ve ever heard the grunting call of a green heron in the middle of nowhere you’d swear it was a sasquatch. In fact I’ve seen a few videos on YouTube and even some “documentaries” on T.V. that claim the sound that captured could have not have been “any known creature” when in fact it’s a green heron’s mating call that’s been slowed down and amplified. The great blue herons are even louder and harsher.
The green heron is one of three species of herons that I’m aware of and encountered in my little slice of Appalachia. The others being the aforementioned great blue herons and the American Bittern which I have only encountered once in my life and the picture didn’t turn out well. All three are water birds and all hunt the shallow waters by either waiting in ambush as the green heron in tonight’s feature image is doing or by slowly wading along the edge as the great blue heron in the photo on the right.
A Great Blue Heron stalking the lower Gauley River.
These birds move with such grace and calm demeanor that watching them is almost a spiritual experience.
I continued to watch the green heron on the pond hoping to capture the moment he seized his prey but the single lane road was needed by others and even though I was mostly off the road safety became a concern. But now that I know where he hangs out there’s hope for more shots of this amazing bird.
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