I love finding new critters at the cottage, especially when they are ones that you don’t typically get to see often. When we took the canoe into the marsh beside the cottage to look for frogs, we spotted a Green Heron at the end of the bay. The Green Heron is rather special because it is one of the few bird species in the world that uses tools. It is quite the fisherman and creates fishing lures with objects like twigs and feathers or actual food like insects and earthworms. It drops them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.
I don’t know if there is a nest at that end of the bay. It is so marshy that we can’t easily get there, so it would be a good spot for a nest. The male picks the site to build a nest and starts building before it pairs up to breed. They like a secluded site, often on or over water and will often pick a fork of a tree that has branches that conceal the nest. The male gathers long, thin sticks and gives them to the female to shape them into a nest. Sometimes they will renovate an old nest or take sticks from old nests for their new nest. Nests are 8-12 inches across and 2 inches deep, so large enough to spot if I had better access.
Although Green Herons are not rare, they are harder to spot that the Great Blue Heron. Larger Herons tend to stand on the edge of the rushes in open parts of wetlands or by the shore standing on rocks or in shallow water and you can spot them if you look closely. Green Herons prefer the edges where the water is very shallow and stay concealed in vegetation. I wouldn’t have spotted this one if it had not been in the tree.
When it spotted us it flew off to hide behind the branches. We didn’t see if fly far. Apparently they can hover briefly to catch prey. That would have been interesting to see. Now I know a place where it likes to hang out I will have to keep my eyes open and check to see if it is there another time. I am fairly sure that I have heard it there and not known what it was. Listening to the call I now recognise it, so I am hopeful that this is a place it frequents and I will see it again.