Green Heron reacts to a Broad-winged Hawk

/, Florida, Green Herons, Pinellas County, Sawgrass Lake Park/Green Heron reacts to a Broad-winged Hawk

Green HeronGreen Heron – Nikon D200, handheld, f5.6, 1/320, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

One morning in 2008 I photographed this Green Heron at Sawgrass County Park in Pinellas County, Florida as it perched and preened on broken branch that was laying in the water. The Green Heron seemed oblivious of me as I photographed it from the boardwalk. In fact It didn’t often even look in my direction. The people walking past me as I laid flat on my stomach on the boardwalk with my lens poking through the slats paid me far more attention than the bird. Of course they were probably wondering what I was doing period.

A very alert Green HeronA very alert Green Heron – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/200, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 260mm, natural light

Suddenly the Green Heron stood up, stretched out its neck, raised the feathers on its head and appeared to stare up into the sky. It really struck a chord in me because the bird looked funny but I kept photographing it and watched as it hunkered down on the branch. I was curious about what the heron was looking at so I raised my lens to the sky.

Juvenile Broad-winged HawkJuvenile Broad-winged Hawk – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

High overhead I could make out the shape of a raptor that had flown over the Green Heron and realized that the bird was a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk. It is a terrible photo but I kept it so I could remind myself why the heron struck some odd looking poses.

When I go out photographing I go with the thought that I never know what amazing things I might see and those wonderful moments happen more than I can keep track of.

Life is good.



  1. eric c11 August 26, 2013 at 7:04 am

    very nice this heron, with a good attitude on second shot, well captured mia, bravo =))

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

      Thank you Eric, I did love the heron’s reaction to the hawk.

  2. Loekie van der Wal August 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Welcome to your “new home” and I’m really happy that your move went pretty smooth. As usual I love these pictures from the Heron and even the Hawk I find pretty good. But I know you as a fantastic photographer is always very critical. Did you have a chance to go to Montana, or did the provider move kept you home?
    Sorry I put my wrong email down. This is the right one.

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 5:07 am

      Thanks Loekie.

      The move had me staying very busy and I had hoped to go up to Montana this week but the weather is forecasted to be rainy so I will wait for better weather.

  3. Kathie August 24, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Mia, welcome to your new home. I am glad the transition went well. I love these shots. Green herons always amaze me with the way they can transform themselves!

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 5:04 am

      Kathie, thank you, it is so nice to be on a host where my blog works and I don’t have to struggle all the time with hosting issues. Green Herons are fun birds. There have been at least two spottings of them here this summer, one near Farmington Bay and the other at Bear River. I didn’t get to see those though I wish I had.

  4. Elephant's Child August 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Wow. Love the green heron – and his attitudes. The more I watch birds, the more I learn. And I too do ‘mad woman with camera’ dances as I watch…

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks EC. From one mad woman with a camera to another 🙂

  5. Merrill Ann Gonzales August 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I really appreciate a post like this. Having kept the whole sequence intact you make it possible for me to be in the field with you and to get a glimpse of nature in action.
    In the first photo there’s a lovely rhythm to the feathering that almost gives you a feeling of the motions the bird took just before the photo was snapped. Just lovely. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks Merrill, I like it when people feel they are there with me when I took my images!

  6. Montanagirl August 24, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hello there. I found my here via “Viewing Nature With Eileen”. I love your blog and your photography is fabulous and I’m signing on to follow. I know what you mean about those pesky power lines. I would invite you to visit my blog sometime as well. Have a great weekend.

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 4:59 am

      Hi Montana girl! Thanks so much for visiting my blog and for your comment. I have added your blog to my RSS feed and look forward to reading your posts!

  7. Stu August 24, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Great Heron shots! And also the reason why he was stretching up..I am forever trying to know what birds are thinking. Thanks Mia.

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 4:54 am

      Thanks Stu, there is so much to learn from birds.

  8. judy watson August 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Wow, Mia! Beautiful photos of the Green Heron.
    Wayne and I got to see one recently at the bird refuge. I was so thrilled.

    I’m so happy to see you back!

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 4:53 am

      Judy, they are handsome herons, aren’t they? I am so happy to be back too!

  9. patty chadwick August 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Great sequence…really tells a story. Love pose, detail, composition of first frame and “What the heck is that? I’d better make myself look big and scary!” pose in the second. Your idea of a “lousy” shot would be my idea of one of my best!

    • Mia McPherson August 26, 2013 at 4:50 am

      Thanks Patty, I love the “what the heck is that pose” too. I wish the hawk had been in better light but I was still happy to know what caused the heron to look so silly.

  10. Steve Creek August 24, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Great captures Mia! Your absolutely right about never knowing what amazing things we may encounter while outdoors. I enjoy you sharing what you see in your part of the country.

    • Mia McPherson August 24, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Thank you my friend! I love looking at the images you share from your neck of the woods too!

  11. Sonja Ross August 24, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Well done on capturing both. The middle image made me laugh!

    • Mia McPherson August 24, 2013 at 5:03 am

      Sonja, I laugh about that middle image too! Thanks.

  12. Eileen August 24, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Cool shots, Mia! His feathers are raised. I love the Green Heron! Happy weekend to you!

    • Mia McPherson August 24, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks Eileen, happy weekend to you too!

  13. Bob Bushell August 24, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Beautiful Green Heron, especially the the first one, superb.

    • Mia McPherson August 24, 2013 at 5:02 am

      Thanks Bob, they are such colorful birds.

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