Green herons forage along the shore. They have long necks, but to get a good picture – especially close up – is pretty rare. My dad and I were walking the boardwalk at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers this winter. It had been a good day already. We saw baby gators as well as an up-close piteated woodpecker searching for grubs.
As we approached Otter Pond we couldn’t see or hear much. It was early in the winter and there was still deep water in the pond that evening. We looked over toward a protruding tree stump. “What’s that,” my dad asked.
“A Muppet?” I replied.
“That” was a green heron, neck fully extended with its crown fully out. Talking to naturalists later, we figure there must have been something in the lake – likely an alligator – that spooked the heron and caused it’s surprised look. Either way, we feel fortunate to have seen it in such a colorful posture.
(See below for what the green heron looks like with its neck tucked in.)