Green Heron, BraeBurn No. 5, April 15, 2018
 
A discussion of the Green Heron will complete the color wheel of herons at BraeBurn after BraeBirds has featured Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night-Herons, and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.  At first glance, one might not think green is the right name for this darkest of herons – reddish-brown (neck color in adults) or green-gray (its back color) might have been better.  Whatever it is called, this stocky and smallest (18” long) heron with a long, straight bill feeds in shallow water and so it is likely to be seen in the stream along holes 1, 16, and 18 and in the area of the pond behind hole number 14.  That said, I saw the Green Heron in the photo above on the bulkhead along hole number 5 where it posed for me in the morning light.
 
Green Herons usually sport yellow legs and yellow irises but the individual in the photo is transitioning to breeding plumage that includes orange legs and orange irises.  An interesting fact is that Green Herons have been known to use objects dropped on the surface of the water to lure fish close enough to capture.
 
We are most likely to see the Green Heron at BraeBurn during the spring to late summer (April through September) although the heron’s range map shows that it does winter along the Gulf Coast.