There are a number of species of herons, each having its own preferred prey and approach to fishing/feeding. This article shares a selection of photographs of a green heron fishing along with some observations about the fishing style of this species.
You will typically find green herons along the shoreline of shallow ponds. They perch close to the water in low bushes or on low hanging tree branches over the water.
When they spot a target fish they slowly move closer to the surface of the water and coil their bodies, preparing to strike. Like other herons, green herons have long necks but they usually only extend their necks when striking at some prey.
When they catch a fish a green heron will very quickly draw its neck back in towards its body. Since green herons are fairly small birds they usually catch smaller fish, and will sometimes eat insects and other small prey.
Using a fast continuous auto-focus (AF-C) frame rate works well with green herons. They seldom have a lot of vertical body extension movements once they catch a fish, keeping their necks contracted instead, as you can see in the next three images that follow.
When green herons are successful finding a productive fishing spot they tend to stay put for a while…even if they drop the odd fish (the bird did quickly retrieve it).
Green herons often swallow the small fish they catch very quickly. Sometimes the only way you’ll know that a fish has been swallowed is by witnessing a slight bulge in their throat disappear, as illustrated in the next two images.
Like many birds that are in a hunting mode, green herons become almost like statues as they wait in a rigid pose for their prey to draw near. This is an ideal time to zoom in tight to capture a detailed image of these wonderful, little birds.
All photographs were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images in the article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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