Dean M. Chriss
The Morning Stalker, Great Blue Heron
(Click image to enlarge)
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.