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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 24 Jun 2017 (Saturday) 09:39
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Green heron: how do I get close?

 
MatthewK
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Jun 24, 2017 09:39 |  #1

I've discovered that a Green Heron has taken up residence at one of the local ponds by my place. As with the Great Blue Heron, it's difficult to get close because they are very skittish. Unless I get lucky and one lands close by, I can't get anywhere near them.

I'm thinking that either I have to set up in the pre-dawn and wait for the heron to emerge, or I have to sniper-creep through the tick infested brush in the hopes I can get the drop on him.

Any tips or tactics you all have employed to get close?


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MalVeauX
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Jun 24, 2017 09:51 |  #2

Heya,

Be there before they do their thing and just be present, silent, patient, and you'll get close.

Crawling up they will see you unless you're in the water or something. They're super spooky.

I would just setup a little blind, get there early, and enjoy just watching the sun rise and hang out in your blind. No fuss, no muss, just patience.

I do them with a 300mm on an APS-C these days, instead of my 600mm.

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MatthewK
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Jun 24, 2017 10:02 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #3

Here's the thing: I have a blind I can use, but I'm in a suburban residential area, and I don't think the locals would like a hunting blind setup within eyeshot of their homes :-P Maybe if I get out there before the sun comes up and they're still asleep, I can make it work.

One thing I have noticed is that the heron will fly off to another nearby pond when spooked, but being a creature of habit, will eventually return. I'm wondering if I just stake out for a while he'll eventually come back. But how long would I be sitting there, is the question...


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MalVeauX
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Jun 24, 2017 11:04 |  #4

If you look like an obvious threat, it will never return while you're present. So standing and moving will get you alerted fast.

A small minor blind, it doesn't have to be a full on hunting tent. Just a cover even, something to sit behind, or near in your area at whatever height you want, with your camera on a tripod and ready to go, so you're not waving a big lens around at standing height and getting attention.

If you just lay down some where and wait, you'll be able to get the shots.

Tall, any height, and moving will get you shots of them flying away.

Getting there first is a good idea. They will come in unless they see you stomping around.

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MatthewK
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Jun 24, 2017 17:12 |  #5

I went out to the spot, and posted up on my portable stool. After about 10 minutes, the heron announced his presence behind me in a pine tree. I nonchalantly made my way to a somewhat decent vantage point, and got some ok shots. Would like to have been much closer, but this is what I go so far.


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Jun 24, 2017 19:00 |  #6

There ya go! A greenie in a tree isn't an every day shot; nicely done :) As Mal said, just get there and sit/lay still for a while and it'll come back; figure out its favorite hunting perches and you can stalk those.


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Jun 24, 2017 21:13 |  #7

Thank you, Martin and Eric. It was a good day, as I spent most of it in the pursuit of these guys. The Greens are going to be a challenge, but the Great Blues, I have these guys figured out. They stalk the shoreline, and you merely take up position a few yards ahead of them, and the pictures almost take themselves :)


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IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4285/35384144191_a3705678ab_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/VULZ​iz  (external link) Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias (external link) by M K (external link), on Flickr

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IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Vwdb​Sy  (external link) Great Blue Heron #6 (external link) by M K (external link), on Flickr

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MatthewK
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Jun 25, 2017 08:27 |  #8

I need Arthur Morris to come talk to these greenies for me...


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tomj
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Jun 25, 2017 11:03 as a reply to  @ MatthewK's post |  #9

I've never found green herons to be all that skittish. I've shot them at various locations in southern New Jersey, and they've usually seemed pretty tolerant. I came across this guy yesterday afternoon, close enough to get with 400mm without much crop, and he seemed fine with me. I was able to get lots of shots, he was still sitting there when I finally left.

https://www.flickr.com …4705409573/in/d​ateposted/ (external link)

BTW, nice shot you got Matthew.


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MatthewK
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Jun 25, 2017 12:45 |  #10

tomj wrote in post #18386584 (external link)
I've never found green herons to be all that skittish. I've shot them at various locations in southern New Jersey, and they've usually seemed pretty tolerant. I came across this guy yesterday afternoon, close enough to get with 400mm without much crop, and he seemed fine with me. I was able to get lots of shots, he was still sitting there when I finally left.

https://www.flickr.com …4705409573/in/d​ateposted/ (external link)

BTW, nice shot you got Matthew.

Thank you, Tom. It was a lot of work getting that shot, hopefully someday the heron will come around and be more amicable to his portrait being taken ;-)a

Today though, I got closer! Walking the dog this morning past Green Heron Lake, without the camera... as you would expect, the green fellow is perfectly perched, just hanging out. I basically got closer than anytime in the past few days. Go figure.

So I take the dog back home, grab the rig, and literally run back to the lake. Got this shot to show for it before the heron saw that I had my camera instead of a dog, and took off.


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Jun 28, 2017 10:23 |  #11

Floating blind my be a good option.


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Jun 28, 2017 11:03 |  #12

tomj wrote in post #18386584 (external link)
I've never found green herons to be all that skittish. I've shot them at various locations in southern New Jersey, and they've usually seemed pretty tolerant. I came across this guy yesterday afternoon, close enough to get with 400mm without much crop, and he seemed fine with me. I was able to get lots of shots, he was still sitting there when I finally left.

https://www.flickr.com …4705409573/in/d​ateposted/ (external link)

BTW, nice shot you got Matthew.

I've never found any of the Herons or Egrets to be difficult to get close to. Maybe its your location. Down here I can pretty much walk to within 20 feet or so of most any of them. Heck I had a Great Blue come to me....landed right next to me.

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Most of them just don't seem to pay me any mind.

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Jun 28, 2017 11:11 |  #13

It's been a mixed bag for me. I've had GBH's that got used to me, and would get very close if I waited patiently. Green herons on the other hand, I've not had much luck with, and not for lack of trying,. I spent 3 seasons in my local (RI) trying to get a good set of green heron images, and frankly never did.


Then 10 years later I was in Bellingham Washington and stumbled across a young group just out of the nest and got dozens fo shots of them exploring the trees they were nested in. They were too young to be skittish.


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MatthewK
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Jun 28, 2017 12:04 |  #14

Yeah, these greens here are on high alert for anything resembling a camera. Well before I arrive at the pond, I slow down and keep cover behind the tree line, and scan the shoreline for birds from afar. Nothing should be able to see me, but those herons do. I saw that thing fly away and I wasn't even in sight of the pond yet. Seriously, they can sense me from a mile away.


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Jun 28, 2017 22:21 |  #15

I had had very poor luck with green herons as well. Then we rented a condo with a pond/waterfall at the front entrance. There were two heron couples using the thick bushes as a rookery. They didn't care one bit when I was around. I got lots of photos of them and their chicks. We even watched the parents teaching them to fly... got to see their first attempts, etc. It was great fun.

So.. like so many other things: location, location, location.

Oh.... and luck doesn't hurt. ;)


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Green heron: how do I get close?
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