Thursday, June 17, 2021

Tricolored Heron, bigger than life

Although rather common in the local open marshes and along our back yard lake, the Tricolored Herons in our neighborhood are quite timid and often do not permit a close approach. This week in the Wounded Wetlands as I stood on the peninsula in the lake, watching the sunrise and listening for owls and Chuck-wills-widows, two Tricolored Herons flew by. One appeared to be chasing the other, perhaps competing over feeding territories. 

The "chaser" suddenly abandoned pursuit and settled down quite nearby on the exposed rocks of an extinct levee:

The sky was overcast and it was only 20 minutes after sunrise, so my photos were not very sharp. However, it was the heron's foraging behavior which commanded my attention. Not sure whether it was more interested in eating bugs or lizards or fish, it darted about haphazardly:

(I could go on and on, but your eyes are probably glazing over.)

John James Audubon's stylized depiction of this species, then called "Louisiana Heron," is acclaimed as art but does not do justice to the living bird. Audubon collected (shot) his subjects and draped their bodies on a framework of wires, reconstructing  postures to make them appear alive, but also fit the confines of the folio on which he painted them.  

© Courtesy of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Montgomery County Audubon Collection, and Zebra Publishing, reproduced for personal and noncommercial use only.

Grossly exaggerated plumes suggest that Audubon's bird was in breeding plumage, but at which time its bill would be blue rather than yellow as depicted in the painting. Here is my photo of a Tricolored Heron in breeding plumage in March, 2019:

The Tricolored Heron has an imposing presence, but when seen with other herons it is actually quite small. Here is one next to an immature Reddish Egret which visited us back in 2011:

The Tricolored Heron seemed to be imitating the Reddish Egret's erratic foraging style:

This Tricolored Heron was following a Wood Stork in our back yard lake in June, 2019:

This immature Tricolored Heron plumage displays "three colors" more prominently than does that of the adult (June, 2018): 

We are now transitioning to the wet season. Storm clouds were gathering up ahead on June 6 as we headed home from the Wounded Wetlands:

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Linking to:

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday


Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display


  1. Beautiful photos..poor light or not..You got him in many different poses..Striking..

  2. It's an impressive bird, and you made great pictures of it, Ken. For me, your pictures are always one of the most beautiful things on Nature Thursday. Thanks for participating.

  3. Am making the rounds about my new blog. Things went haywire, and the troubleshooting took way too long for me, so I ended up deleting my blog (still have the originals of the pics I used. My new one is (one word)
    living between two realms (.) wordpress (.) com
    and my username is Jeshie2. This is one of your stunningly perfect posts, Ken have a lovely weekend!
    Jeshie 2

  4. so many beautiful photos of that heron - love them all!

  5. Beautiful photos and study of the Tricolored Heron. It's interesting to compare the Audubon artwork to the real thing!

  6. Yet another fantastic bird series

  7. Those storm clouds are gorgeous! What a beautiful bird!

  8. Lovely shots of the Heron. Great control over your camera.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    .:: Alex's World! ::. -

  9. Gorgeous collection and fantastic photography!

  10. Greetings and Salutations! What an image of the sky as the end photo! Beautiful.

  11. They are skilled hunters and fun to watch.

  12. Hello Ken,
    Beautiful collection of Tricolored Heron photos. It was one of my favorite birds to see while in Florida. They seem so plentiful there. The shot of the Wood Stork and the Tricolored is great, amazing to see the size difference. Beautiful sky shot. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend! PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  13. The bird is beautifully captured in this series. Love the cloud shot too!

  14. Hi Kenneth, beautiful photos of the egrets. I don't see the tricolor in the Netherlands. Greetings Caroline

  15. Hello brother Kenneth! I am so happy to be back here on your space! That beautiful heron on its breeding plumage looks so perfect! I really like herons, egrets, and cranes, they look so graceful to me!

  16. It is so neat to get to see it in so many poses! Very elegant and beautiful!

  17. As usual, your photos are stunning!

  18. Hello Kenneth
    Very nice photos and great explanations, learned something again
    Greetings Frank

  19. The overcast sky definitely intensifies the beauty of the heron!!!
    And, as always, your linking up with us birders is greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  20. What a striking and beautiful bird!
    Thanks for joining us at and for sharing your lovely photos.

  21. That's a beautiful bird. Your photos are wonderful.

  22. Beautiful photos. Thank you for the comparison shots as I had assumed it was much bigger.

  23. Ken, those are wonderful Heron photos. We have them here also, but they are a skittish bunch and hard to get close to.

  24. This is a superb series of photographs, Ken!

    As you point out, I'm always struck by the similarity of the Tricolored Heron's foraging technique as compared to that of the Reddish Egret.

    Love those storm clouds! We need the rain.

    (Prednisone and pain free for three weeks now!)

  25. gorgeous series. it is so interesting to observe birds' behaviour.

  26. Well Ken, another series of images that capture this bird beautifully. As ever finished off with a rather stunning landscape. Top work.

  27. Wow, that is a magnificent bird! Your photos are fabulous, too.

    It's nice to see your link this week at 'My Corner of the World'!

  28. Thank you so much for sharing this post, I appreciate your work.It was a great informative post.Go so many useful and informative links. Loved your writings also. Concept of the topic was well discussed. Love to come here again.

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