Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin July 10, 2014

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron fishing, feeding and resting at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Photographs were taken on July 10, 2014. It has been a real treat to view and photograph this rare visitor whose normal range is the southeastern US.

Resting

Resting

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Binomial name: Nyctanassa violacea

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 24” long, 42” wing span

Weight: 1.5 Lb.

Hunting

Fishing

Fishing and hears  something its right side.

Fishing and hears something its left side.

Catching the crayfish!

Catching the crayfish!

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

And down it goes!

Fishing with the reflection of a Ring-billed Gull in the water.

Fishing with the reflection of a Ring-billed Gull in the water.

Resting

Resting

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Killing the crayfish after another catch!

Killing the crayfish after another catch!

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Hunting

Fishing

Hunting

Fishing

Back view

Back view

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing

Hunting

Hunting

Green Heron at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin July 9, 2014

Green Heron fishing, feeding and resting at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Photographs were taken on July 9, 2014.

Capture of the crayfish!

Capture of the crayfish.

Green Heron

Binomial name: Buborides virescens

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 18” long, 26” wing span

Weight: 7 Oz.

Habitat: Breed in areas of woods or areas with thick vegetation near ponds, marshes, rivers, streams, reservoirs and estuaries. They stay at coastal areas and mangrove swamps in the winter months.

Diet: Green Herons consume fish as their main diet, but also eat amphibians, insects, crustaceans, snails, reptiles and rodents. They catch their food standing still at pond, lake, swamp, creek, marsh, or river edges then darting out with their head snapping up its prey. They also spear their prey with their sharp bill. They usually hunt in waters of less than 4” deep. Deeper waters are usually visited by larger heron species with longer legs.

Nesting: Start of the construction of the nest is done by the male. After a pair is formed the female helps in the nest building. The nest is usually 8-12” across with a bowl of about 2” deep with no lining. The nest is usually located over water at ground level to 30’ or more above the water, but can also be located up to distances of a half mile away from water. They also are known to fix up old nests and during the breeding season they continue to add sticks to their nests as necessary.

Cool fact: Green Herons are known to use bait like insects to bait their prey. In some images below a Green Heron used a fly to try to attract a small fish to eat. It repeated this a couple of times as I stood there but was unsuccessful that time in getting it’s fishing trick to work that attracts fish or other prey, to then snatch up.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

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Killing the crayfish.

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Killing the crayfish.

Just before the swallow!

Just before the swallow!

Hunting and waiting.

Fishing and waiting.

The catch!

The catch!

The catch!

The catch!

Hunting

Fishing

Hunting

Fishing

Going for a fly to be used to bait a minnow.

Going for a fly to be used to bait a minnow.

Catching the fly!

Catching the fly!

Setting the fly in the water to attract a minnow.

Setting the fly in the water to attract a minnow.

Changes plan and takes the fly to a new location to be used to bait a minnow.

Changes plan and takes the fly to a new location to be used to bait a minnow.

Takes off to a new location.

Takes off to a new location.

Catches a crayfish after hunting for a while.

Catches a crayfish after fishing.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Killing the crayfish.

Swallows the crayfish without notice!

Swallows the crayfish without notice!

Going down!

Going down!

In the process!

In the process!

Hunting

Fishing

Resting

Resting

Resting

Resting

Resting

Resting

Hunting

Fishing

Hunting

Fishing

Beautiful back view of feathers and colors!

Beautiful back view of feathers and colors!

Fishing

Fishing

Resting

Resting

Fishing

Fishing

The catch!

The catch!

Killing the crayfish

Killing the crayfish

Resting after swallowing the crayfish!

Resting after swallowing the crayfish!

Snowy Egret at Fort Atkinson in Jefferson County Wisconsin May 29, 2014

The ride paid off for the report of the Snowy Egret at Fort Atkinson in Jefferson County. It was still present when I arrived at 3:25 pm far off the road in a flooded field. This location is just east of the city on Hwy 106, south side of the highway. A life bird for me which made it exciting. Images were taken on May 29, 2014.

Great Egret - left, Snowy Egret, right.

Great Egret – left, Snowy Egret, right

Snowy Egret

Binomial name: Egretta thula

Category: Bittern, Herons, and Allies

Size: 24” long, 41” wing span

Weight: 13 oz.

Habitat: Typically they are found on most coasts of the US and Mexico but sometimes can be found breeding inland in wetland areas, mudflats and beaches. They forage in both freshwater and marine habitats preferring shallow sheltered estuarine areas. The breeding range is from the lower Great Lakes and southwestern US to South America.

Diet: Fish, crustacean, insects and smaller reptiles.

Nesting: They nest in colonies, usually with other wading birds. They like platform type nests made of sticks in trees or shrubs. The nests are flat 14”-18” across, 8”-13” high, lined with rushes, grasses, sedges and twigs. 3-4 eggs are incubated by both adults before the young leave the nest which is 20-25 days.

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

2 Great Egrets - left, Snowy Egret, right

2 Great Egrets – left, Snowy Egret – right

Great Egret - right, Snowy Egret, left

Great Egret – right, Snowy Egret – left

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret, down under!

Snowy Egret, down under!

Snowy Egret, left, Great Egret, right

Snowy Egret – left, Great Egret – right

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Horicon Marsh, WI August 13, 2013

Photographs from Horicon Marsh, Fond du lac/Dodge County, Wisconsin taken August 13, 2013.

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

Common Moorhen with young

Common Moorhen with young

Red-necked Phalaropes

3 – Red-necked Phalaropes (background)

Spotted Sandpiper

Spotted Sandpiper

Juvenile Stilt Sandpiper

Juvenile Stilt Sandpiper

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

To view the full gallery of images, please click here.

Horicon Marsh, WI July 29, 2013

Photographs from Horicon Marsh, Fond du lac/Dodge County, Wisconsin taken July 29, 2013.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Baby Common Moorhen

Baby Common Moorhen

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelicans

Juvenile American White Pelican

Juvenile American White Pelican

Juvenile Black Tern

Juvenile Black Tern

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

To view the full gallery of images, please click here.

Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret is one of my nemesis birds this year. After many miles of driving through areas where Cattle Egrets had been reported, this was my first real chance to photograph one. This time it did not disappoint me. I saw not one bird, but two.  They were in a double pasture with cows just northeast of Horicon Marsh on Stumpf Road in Fond du lac County, Wisconsin.

I’ve also included images of some Wilson’s Phalaropes (Phalaropus tricolor) from Horicon Marsh.

Photographs taken July 23, 2013.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Binomial name: Bubulcus ibis

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Description: White plumage with cream-colored feathers on its chest, head, and tail during breeding season.  Yellow bill and gray legs.

Size: 18”-22” long, 35” – 38” wingspan

Weight: 9.5 oz. – 18 oz.

Habitat: Pastures, grasslands, meadows, and wetlands

Diet: Insects (grasshoppers and crickets), spiders, amphibians, and worms

Nesting: Cattle Egrets nest in colonies, typically near a body of water.  Both males and females build the nest; males collect twigs and sticks while the female assembles them into jumbled pile in a tree or shrub.  It is common for these birds to steal nest materials from others.  The female will lay 1 to 5 eggs and raise 1 brood each season.  Both parents incubate the eggs.  Chicks are born with down feathers but are still helpless.  The fledglings leave the nest after about 45 days.

Notes: Cattle Egrets are appropriately named as they tend to forage for food near cattle or other large, grazing animals.  They eat insects and other vertebrates spread by these animals.  The birds have also been known to forage behind farm machinery.  Farmers may welcome these birds to their pastures as Cattle Egrets will help control fly and tick populations among cattle.

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Wilson's Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope

To view the full gallery of images, please click here.

Great Blue Herons nesting and raising young near Pewaukee in Waukesha County Wisconsin in March of 2009

I discovered a roost in Pewaukee Wisconsin back in 2009. I followed it for a couple months. During that time I watch some of the nest building, adults sitting on eggs and feeding the young. I found out adults bring sticks and branches to the nest as maintenance continues on the nest until the young leave the nest. Food was being bought in from nearby lakes and steams as I watched the adult herons come with food from all directions to the roost area. In that spring I counted 34 nests in this rookery, 18 active. A couple of years later I returned to the area and it had changed drastically. Many of the trees had fallen and the area was no longer being used by the Great Blue Herons.

Great Blue Heron in flight just before landing at the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing to the nest

Great Blue Heron

Binomial name: Ardea herodias

Category: Bitterns, Herons, and Allies

Size: 46” long, 72” wing span

Weight: 5.3 lb

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Great Blue Heron bringing in a small branch to the nest that must be in need of repair or made stronger or bigger as the young grow

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Great Blue Heron just spending time by the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing near the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing near the nest

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron near the nest

Great Blue Heron near the nest

Great Blue Heron near the nest looking around

Great Blue Heron near the nest looking around

Great Blue Heron near the nest stretching

Great Blue Heron near the nest stretching

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron feeding the young with a fish from a nearby lake or stream

Great Blue Heron feeding the young with a fish from a nearby lake, river or stream

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron with young

Great Blue Heron near the nest just watching the young

Great Blue Heron near the nest just watching the young

Rookery from a distance

Great Blue Heron rookery from a distance

Rookery from a distance

Great Blue Heron rookery from a distance

Great Blue Heron rookery from a distance

Great Blue Heron rookery from a distance

Great Blue Herons watching the eggs

Great Blue Herons watching the eggs in the nest

An airplane flies overhead and the young Great Blue Heron just look up and wonder

An airplane flies overhead and the young Great Blue Heron just look up and wonder

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing at the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing at the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing at the nest

Great Blue Heron coming in for a landing at the nest