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Natural Highlights: Green Heron

  

Collins Dillard, a graphic designer and Conservancy supporter, recently captured these nice images of a Green Heron foraging in the wetland along the Epping Way Greenway.  Like other herons, the Green Heron is a wading waterbird, which patiently stalks fish, frogs, tadpoles, small reptiles, and other aquatic life in wetlands and along lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.  Green Herons are quite common in this area in the breeding season, returning to the Gulf Coast and southward in the winter.  Though their population numbers are still good, consistently fewer sightings have been reported year after year during the annual breeding bird survey.  This could be because they depend on vulnerable wetland habitat which continues to be converted or damaged.  Fortunately, the Wolf River Conservancy's conservation mission prioritized wetland habitat along the Wolf River.

The presence of a top-of-the-food-chain predator like a Green Heron is a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem containing an abundance and diversity of smaller species, which are in turn supported by organisms such as plankton, algae, microbes, and plants.   The Epping Way wetland was, until about two years ago, a derelict collection of tennis courts left over from the property's days as a country club in the '70's.  Though it is still a newly established habitat, created as part of the Wolf River Greenway trail construction project, the wetland is already welcoming an abundance of insects, small fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. 

For more information on the Green Heron, follow the links below:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Green_Heron/id

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/green-heron

  

Posted by Cathy Justis at 11:32 AM