Tag Archives: green heron

Rollin’ on the River

Some tubers were floating down the river this afternoon.  They, obviously, only get to visit for a few days at a time and don’t get to watch the river as much as we do.  We overheard him saying “there were more rapids the last time I was here.”  lol – If you don’t live on this part of the Alsea River you might not notice the tide’s effect on the level.  After all, who’d think the tide had any effect 12 miles up the river?  This photo is about mid-tide.

Kayakers
Kayakers

A big willow branch broke off, drifted downriver and snagged on this rock (below).  Now it is growing!  If you enlarge the above photo you can find the same willow branch to compare the tide level to the low tide below.

Willow branch growing
Willow branch growing

Green Heron are usually pretty shy but 2 of them have been working the river pretty steady for a week or so.

Green Heron on river rocks
Green Heron on river rocks

Here’s a closeup of the Green Heron.

green heron on alsea river
Green Heron is annoyed by photographer

C’mon!  I’m not close enough to annoy you!  That’s the look my family gives me when I want to take their photo AGAIN!  LOL

The last thing to roll up the river today was Sneaky Pete (I named him for his behavior):

Harbor Seal
Harbor Seal

At high tide, in the summer, the Alsea River can look so still it looks like a lake.  The seals don’t spend a lot of time up here and most of it is spent under the surface.  We could tell by the water movement that something big was wandering around under there; although it seemed to move very slowly.

harbor seal in alsea river at tideater
Sneaky Pete in Alsea River

Like a lot of wildlife, although large, they can be very stealthy when they want to be!  And when they are fishing, they are in stealth mode.

I wonder if I could talk Sneaky Pete into goosing a tuber?  🙂

All photos were taken a few miles downriver of Blackberry Campground.

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Fall Colors – Green Heron

While I’m not so sure we’re going to get the normal fall colors out of the maples this year, this Green Heron is displaying his colors nicely.

green heron on alsea river
orange leaves, red berries, green heron

They are as fun to watch as the blue heron but they aren’t as common.

green heron on alsea river
Stealth Mode

They also aren’t as big and they don’t stretch their neck out unless in flight.  He makes a nice reflection in the river though.

green heron on alsea river
Toes as long as his nose

Look at how long his toes are!  He must be really stable.

green heron on alsea river
sneakin’ up

He stays in the shadows to sneak up on his prey.

 

The Ebb and Flow of Alsea Wildlife

As the wildlife young are growing up, we are seeing more of them along our part of the Alsea River (about 12 miles east of Waldport).

Osprey - adult
Osprey – adult

We must not have an Osprey nest close by because we haven’t seen one here since the chicks hatched in the Waldport High School nest.  I’ve heard there is also a nest at Eckman Lake?  If you’ve spent time near an osprey nest their call is forever imprinted on your mind; as was mine after the summer we spent workamping in Sam Owen Campground near Sandpoint, Idaho.  I thought I’d never miss their calls again.  The young are relentless in their loud, high-pitched, begging for food.  They are either begging or sleeping and seemed to be no in between.  But I was excited to hear this one last week.  Oddly enough, the otter alarm call sounds so much like an osprey to me; only it is a single chirp instead of three.

Mom with Otter Kits on Alsea River
Mom with Otter Kits

I’m convinced that we are seeing several families of otters now and I can only tell them apart by how many are in the group (if they get out of the river long enough for me to count).

Great White Egret on Lint Slough
Great White Egret on Lint Slough

The Great White Egrets are showing up on Lint Sough, on the east end of Waldport.  Their stark white body really stands out against the forest greenery.

Kayaking Lint Sough
Kayaking Lint Sough

Did you know there used to be a fish hatchery up Lint Slough?  Word has it (from a local old-timer) that their return rate was over 90%!  The slough winds way back into the forested canyon.  If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one or get a guided tour in the summer through Labor Day at the Kayak Shack on the Port of Alsea.

5 Elk Calves
5 Elk Calves

Back up the river, most of the elk calves have lost their spots.  Maybe that’s what they are looking for?  No, I don’t have them.  Ask your mother.

With their ears leaning forward and that furry neck, they almost look like a lama to me.  The elk, like all of the wildlife, come and go from day to day.  We don’t see them for a few days or weeks, then we see them everyday for a week at certain times of the day.  I’m sure they have a route they travel but I don’t think they are on a schedule.  Tides and hungry cougars will alter their route I’m sure.

Wildlife tracks on the Alsea River
What kind of tracks are these?

Speaking of hungry cougars…what kind of tracks do you think these are?  I really don’t know.  If I’d been smart, I would have checked our side of the river when I saw these.  I’ll do that the next time I see something I can’t identify from a distance; in case they crossed the river.

Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River
Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River

We saw 2 Green Heron land under the willows at the same time last evening.

It’s funny how, once you see and identify a bird or other wildlife, you seem to see them all the time.  Or, maybe, it’s that ebb and flow thing again?  Like the tides, the wildlife comes in and it goes out.

Green Heron Fishing

We saw an osprey fly by so I went out to see if he’d landed anywhere close to fish the Alsea River.  He had and I sat and watched for a while.  He eventually flew straight toward me and I missed the shot!

Green Heron
Green Heron

So I went back out to see what else might drop by this evening and, what do you know!?  A green heron flew in and spent about 20 minutes fishing in front of me.

green heron stalking
Merganser: You have to dive to catch anything, stupid.

5 Mergansers are napping on the river rocks.  It’s like they’ve never seen a green heron before.

green heron caught fish
Merganser: Huh

Green Heron are the ones who’ll use bait to catch their prey.  But this one isn’t having any trouble just reaching in and snatching his dinner.

green heron strike
Gotcha!

Those fish don’t have a chance!

green heron on alsea river
Green Heron on the Alsea River

They are usually a very secretive bird.  This one was fishing out in the open but it was almost dark.

These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground, east of Waldport, Oregon.

 

Green Heron

The Green Heron is a “solitary and secretive” heron.  A smaller, heron-looking, bird caught my eye as it flew down the Alsea River and ducked quickly under the willows.

Green Heron
Green Heron

I got the binoculars out to see what it was.  The drizzling rain and dark cover made it hard to see.  So I zoomed in as far as I could and snapped a few shots; not knowing for sure if I was even aimed in the right spot.   The auto-focus sometimes focuses on the rain so that added to the challenge.

But, sure enough, my friend Shawn/US Fish & Wildlife, and an Audubon Master Birder (Rebecca in Seattle) confirmed that it is a Green Heron!

Green Herons are one of the few birds who use tools to catch fish.  Read more here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/species/birds/bitterns_herons_egrets.asp