Green Heron Bliss at the Portage

Thursday was a quiet day at the Chicago Portage. I met Bob on the trail and we looked for birds while wondering what Chicago Portage Day was going to be like two days later. I will be back with a little report on that event soon. But Thursday turned out to be a magical encounter with a Green Heron and it deserves commemoration.

Song Sparrows are still singing. The one on the left appears to be a juvenile.

We encountered an Eastern Wood-Pewee, albeit backlit. I am happy to report that I have heard this bird all summer and have seen it on several occasions.

It was a good day for butterflies.

Juvenile Indigo Buntings are starting to appear.

And now we are getting glimpses or better of Baltimore Orioles again.

Just when we thought we had seen everything, while we were standing at the bridge closest to Harlem looking out into the swamp, if you will, I saw something move. Directly below us on a narrow log or branch was a Green Heron. Even though it was quite close, it appeared small to me.

We watched it as it fished for dragonflies and aquatic creatures. Occasionally it would pull something small out of the water. I was trying to be quiet and careful not to disturb the heron with the camera lens.

Suddenly one of those Common Whitetail dragonflies appeared within reach. The heron caught it.

It took some extra maneuvering before the dragonfly went down the hatch.

The most amazing thing about this entire encounter is that the Green Heron seemed totally unfazed by our attention. After some people walked by and it did not react, I was able to get a better view at the end of the bridge. Then Bob suggested I try shooting a video. Below is my short movie. (Bob was sorry not to have his own camera handy but he did take a video with his phone.)

Bob was also kind enough to loan his binoculars to a couple young women who stopped to see what was going on at the bridge. An experience like this could turn them into birders. By the way, the heron appeared larger with its neck outstretched.

I was too worn out from yesterday’s festivities to go birding this morning, but I did some work in the yard early. I’d like to go back outside to see if I can capture a hummingbird at the feeder, although it’s turning cloudy and the bugs are biting. Rain is in the forecast the next day or two. I will have to play it by ear. Here’s a quick look at my favorite color combination outside the back door, and though I rarely cut flowers, I had a couple sprigs of Ironweed that begged to be trimmed.

4 thoughts on “Green Heron Bliss at the Portage

    • The heron made it so easy; those dragonflies must have really tasted good.
      As for the color combination, the plants did it themselves. One of my favorite trees had that space but it died two years ago and the ironweed and goldenrod decided to cheer me up.

  1. Some really great shots of “the” Green Heron as he or she catches and enjoys the to slow dragonfly. It was the bird of the morning and offered up some great viewing. Some nice shout outs to this Bob guy! The color is popping put in your yard this week.

    • It was the closest and longest encounter I’ve ever had with a heron and that much better to share. I will never see another Common Whitetail dragonfly the same way, either. As for the garden color, it’s my reward for letting it go wild.

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