Green Heron

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The swampy parks in Southwest Florida are excellent places to photograph wildlife. They are filled with waterfowl, birds of prey, woodpeckers and other birds, alligators, snakes, deer and even the occasional Florida panther or black bear.

The parks have boardwalks to keep visitors above the swamp and above the gators, making it a relatively comfortable place for photography if you ignore the heat, humidity and mosquitoes. 

I shot this photo of a Green Heron (my photo of the week) standing on the base of a cypress tree trunk during a 2017 visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Fla. The heron was hunting above the water and keeping its eye on an alligator that was patrolling nearby. Moments after I shot this photo the gator turned and started gliding toward this tree. When the gator moved within 10 feet of the tree the heron flew to the base of another tree behind the gator.

The brief heron-gator encounter was memorable, but what I remember most about this specific spot in Corkscrew Swamp was the abundance of wildlife that was in view. There were multiple gators, several Green Herons and Night Herons, anhingas, cormorants, egrets, Great Blue Herons, kingfishers, a few grebes, turtles, frogs and even a raccoon in view. I had never seen that many different animals in one spot in all my years of wildlife photography.

With all the animals in that one area, I guess it’s understandable that alligators would be hunting nearby.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Date/time: Feb. 6, 2017, 12:32 p.m. 
Location: 26°22’26.783” N 81°36’36.402” W (Show in Google Maps)  
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II  
Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/1000th second
ISO: 6400