Just a short blog today from another hike at the Community Park near my home in Luzerne County on Monday and my encounter with a green heron. It was a mostly cloudy and warm September afternoon. I decided to take a day off from my search for wild mushrooms. I enjoy my afternoon walks at Community Park and I always seem to find some interesting critters, insects, wildflowers or mushrooms.
As usual I began my three mile hike walking around Lake Irena. My first observation was the disappearance of the pretty blue pickerel weed flowers that grew along the shores of the lake last month. The flowers are gone and the leaves of the pickerelweed plants are already shriveling and brown. Although it is warm, Fall approaches.
The insects and butterflies that these flowers attract have also all but disappeared. I saw a few dragonflies on my hike but the only other active insects were the grasshoppers that jumped from plant to plant as I walked by.
Shortly after I began my walk, I scared a green heron that was feeding in the pickerelweed plants.
It flew off and landed in some more pickerelweed plants.
As I approached it flew off again, to the shallow part of the lake near the bridge where a stream enters the lake. At first it landed on a tree stump in the water,
then flew into the grass along the shore of the lake.
Here, the green heron didn’t seem to mind my presence and began to wade in the shallow waters in search of a meal.
Watching the green heron, I soon learned it doesn’t only feed on aquatic animals such as fish, tadpoles and frogs. I saw it snatch an insect out of mid air. I think it was a bee.
The green heron then continued to cautiously stalk the shallow waters for it’s prey.
It was amazing to watch it slowly move one leg in front of the other peering at the water and looking for a victim.
It soon found one, as I watched it spear the water with it’s long bill ,
and pull out a large tadpole.
I was able to watch, and take photographs,
as it consumed the tadpole.
I may have spent an hour watching this beautiful bird wading in the shallow waters of the lake searching for it’s prey.
I took hundreds of photos, but picked out the best for a gallery in my blog. Here is a link to the gallery on my blog website with 50 photographs of the green heron. Community Park heron September 13 2021.
After watching the green heron I continued my hike in the woodlands,
along the lake.
The only other birds I saw on my hike were a flock of 30 Canada geese that landed on the lake while I was watching the green heron.
There were not many wildflowers in bloom this late in the Summer. There were a few yellow smooth hawksbeard flowers,
and a lot of goldenrod flowers. As I said earlier there were almost on insects on these flowers as there are earlier in the Summer.
A few mushrooms also grew along the trail including a few of these painted suillus mushrooms and,
this brown amanita mushroom.
I left the lake and hiked into the surrounding woodlands.
There were no birds here but I did see a few milkweed tussock moth caterpillars on the milkweed plants. i was hoping to see some monarch butterfly caterpillars but I didn’t see any.
There were some more mushrooms growing in the woods. I love these yellow amanita mushrooms.
I am not sure if they are yellow patches or fly agaric but they are pretty and always remind me of the mushrooms that are pictured in fairy tale illustrations.
There were also some of these species of white amanita growing as well as
some edible birch scaber stalk bolete.
I returned to the lake hoping to see the green heron again but it was gone. Hopefully I will see it again before it migrates further south. The forecast is for Summer like weather for at least another week so it may stay around. And I hope it allows me to photograph another one of it’s hunts. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Community Park September 13 2021.
“Stalking along from log to log, or plunging their long legs in the oozy swamp, two large herons paid no attention to my presence, but occupied themselves with their own fishing arrangements, as if their wilderness were their own.” – Author: William Cowper Prime