Dean M. Chriss
Great Blue Heron, Morning Stalker

The Morning Stalker, Great Blue Heron

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The morning's first light penetrates the mangroves projecting spots of bright light deep into the vegetation as this great blue heron stalks its breakfast. The heron nearly motionless, very slowly and smoothly extending its neck to strike over a period of more than 10 minutes. From my vantage point I never saw exactly what the heron was stalking, but it was probably a frog. In the end it "plunked" beneath the water and the heron walked away hungry.

Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) are found throughout most of North America. Their range extends north to Alaska and the southern Canadian provinces, and south through Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean to South America. With a head-to-tail length of 36–55 inches (91–140 cm), a wingspan of 66–79 inches (167–201 cm), and a weight of 4.5 to 8 pounds (2–3.6 kg), they are the largest heron in North America.