Saturday, February 1, 2014

This Week's Crops & Clips: Life in a puddle

Sometimes a rain puddle can hold a pleasant surprise. On my way back from observing the Bald Eagle in our neighborhood I noticed a heron flying towards a vacant area in front of a school along the busy boulevard. Since school was not in session, I pulled into the driveway.

IMG_1059

Despite the traffic noise and all the distractions of power poles and traffic signals, I found a bit of solitude. A Tricolored Heron was foraging in a large rainwater puddle in its seemingly haphazard yet purposeful manner.

 Tricolored Heron leaving wake 20140125

Tricolored Heron actively foraging 20140125

Tricolored Heron actively foraging 2-20140125

It was accompanied by a Snowy Egret that likewise moved rapidly about in search of prey. The reflection of a red stop sign outlines its head.

Snowy Egret 2-20140125

Snowy Egret 20140125

A lone Lesser Yellowlegs appeared, and waded out to the middle of the puddle. Like the other species, it was catching and eating prey of some sort, possibly small insects.

Yellowlegs 2-20140125

Yellowlegs 20140125

Although this puddle has been present since midsummer, it almost dried up a couple of times and also has swollen during rainy periods. It does not connect with other wetland areas, so it is unlikely to harbor fish. Both of these heron species are known to eat insects, amphibians and crustaceans, all of which are likely living here. The recent dry spell has concentrated the prey.

Watch this one minute video of the herons' active feeding habits. See how the egret stirs the water with its "golden slippers" to scare up prey. If the video does not show in the space below, click on this link.





17 comments:

  1. Pretty shots of the Heron and Egrets. Loved the video! Happy weekend!

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  2. just awesome birds and stunning reflection shots! i would love to see a tri-color!

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  3. Oh, wow, these are wonderful! I'm partial to egrets, but the shots of the lesser yellowlegs is pretty darn amazing.

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  4. HI Kenneth That place looks lovely and peaceful for the birds and great stills and video of them

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  5. Beautiful birds and lovely reflections.

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  6. Just gorgeous photos! Wonderful reflections!Gosh, I haven't seen these birds in their natural habitat, to see them in a puddle, just blows me away! That sure is a big puddle

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  7. In the middle of suburbia. This is terrific. I love to think that the water birds can enjoy and survive by any means. Which is good.

    A 'rain puddle'....wish we had that here. Still in drought where I live.

    By the way, the stop sign reflection is a super capture.

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  8. How wonderful to find these awesome birds so close to a residential area.

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  9. Super photos and it is lovely to come here and see these beautiful birds I have just seen on our trip to Florida identified.

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  10. Oh I do see. We have green and blue herons on the pond and I get to watch them often, but have never seen an egret in person. And thank you for the tip on the woodpeckers. I have only 9 years into watching and counting birds for Cornell. I should have started with I was younger. LOL.. You also have badges along the side of your blog I want to look into. I am always interesting in learning something new about the wildlife in my yard. Thank you...Michelle

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  11. The Tri-coloured Heron is in superb condition for your photographs Ken. Lovely shots of the Lesser yellowlegs too. Often the most seemingly unremarkable places can turn up birding opportunities like that.

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  12. Great post -- yes, there can be another whole world in a puddle! Wonderful reflection shots as well as textbook perfect birds and a very instructive post on the feeding habits as well. I love this.

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  13. I just love these shots Ken, and the video, and I wish I'd have known about the Eagle nest last March when I was in Miami.
    All the best Gordon.

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  14. love those long legs ... yellows ones too. so nice to meet you through the bird link up "Wild Bird Wednesday" ( :

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  15. Beautiful birds, very graceful.

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  16. I call taht a great puddle. With excellent waterfowl. :)

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