Thursday, October 24, 2013

This week's Crops & Clips: Tricolored Heron

Around sunrise, a Tricolored Heron flew in and settled on an abandoned dock in the mitigation wetlands preserve next to our South Florida subdivision. It was too dark for decent photos, but I shot a sequence as it landed. They came out soft and blurry (ISO 1600, 1/800 sec at f/5.6) , but because the bird appeared so graceful, I could not bring myself to discard them. After much post-processing I recovered these images.

Tricolored Heron landing 01-20131020

Tricolored Heron landing 02-20131020

Tricolored Heron landing 03-20131020

Tricolored Heron landing 04-20131020

The heron then started to preen its feathers.

Tricolored Heron landing 05-20131020

Here is another photo that needed "doctoring." It is actually an overlay of two photos of the same bird:

Tricolored Heron composite sepia retro 20130928

They were called "Louisiana Herons" in my early field guides, but they are not restricted to that State and they do display three prominent colors: red, white and blue. This youngster has more extensive rufous color on its neck than an adult, but it posed beautifully for me, reminding me of a John James Audubon painting!

Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) immature DPP 20130721

Here is one in nice morning light:

Tricolored Heron 3-20121224

They are common visitors to the edge of the lake at our back lawn.

Tricolored Heron 20131003

Only about 20 feet away from our patio, I often must back up to include the entire bird in the viewfinder, as I do not have a zooming lens.

Tricolored Heron 3-20130801

Insects make up a large portion of its diet. This Tricolored is stalking a Halloween Pennant dragonfly (click on photo to see location of the insect):

Tricolored Heron stalking dragonfly 20131021

The heron crept stealthily towards the dragonfly, but it escaped the bird's grasp.

Tricolored Heron stalking dragonfly 2-20131021

Video:The Tricolored Heron's foraging habits are quite distinctive:

If you see a blank area below, try clicking  HERE 

This video compares foraging habits of Tricolored and Little Blue Herons, side by side. Click HERE here if it does not load. 


  1. i would LOVE to see one of these!!!

  2. HI Kenneth Well I am very glad you did not get rid of the stills because I loved what you did with them. I also loved both videos. In videos you can really see how birds behave and feed. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wonderful post, Ken! Nice comparison with the Little Blue Heron. I love watching these guys hunt. Wish I had their patience.

  4. Beautiful series of the heron.

  5. Love the video.

    And your incoming images of the landing....super.

  6. Great pictures and videos. I have yet to start video - I think I spend enough time in front of a screen already!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Adore both tri-colors and little blues and I'll come back to this video as I get out and about now that we're in the sunshine state. thanks for the lovely post.

  8. They are very beautiful birds indeed Ken. I never noticed the amount of yellow around the eye before, until your 3rd to the end. A lovely close-up.

  9. It is a beautiful heron. I love the second image. It has a certain dancing mode. :)


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