Wading birds around Chicago ponds

Great blue heron in Chicago, © 2014 Celia Her City
Herons and other wading birds have returned to our ponds.  I just love looking at these birds, which hide in plain sight a lot of the time.  I love the plumage, the carriage, the coloring of the great blue heron.  It’s the tallest of the herons and can often been seen standing in the water near snags.

American Bittern (Chicago), © 2014 Celia Her City

On Saturday, I saw an American bittern for the first time.  This is a much smaller wading bird than the heron.  It’s not uncommon, but it’s hard to spot because of its brown-and-white camouflage.  The bittern has a habit of sticking out its neck, supposedly to make it look bigger than it is.

American bittern, © 2014 Celia Her CityI would never have noticed this bird if a German tourist hadn’t pointed it out to me.

Juvenile green heron, © 2014 Celia Her CityAre there more green herons around the ponds than formerly?  Or am I just getting better at seeing them?  This is a young green heron, identifiable because of the white streak running down its throat and chest.

Young green heron, © 2014 Celia Her CityFrom the side, one can see how undeveloped this bird is.  I love the coloring of the green heron.  Here one can see some of the feathers of his crest, which are often erect when the heron moves.

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