Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

See that? That is yet another reason why I should get the new Pyle guide. doesn't grow on trees, ya know.

It's a Green Heron. But--check your field guide if you aren't familiar with what a Green Heron is supposed to look like. Dark chestnut, slate, and dull greenish, not pale straw-colored.

When I encountered this bizarre Green Heron along the Upper Santa Ana River, I was bewildered. In addition to being oddly pale, it is very worn--check out those stringy, tattered wing coverts. From some angles, a few patches of more typical slate-colored feathers were visible.

My hypothesis? I believe it is a second-year bird (meaning it hatched spring/summer 2009) molting into adult basic plumage. If it has been wearing those feathers since last summer, it's entirely possible that they've simply bleached and worn to that odd straw color.

I would be a lot more confident if I had a copy of Pyle II spread across my lap. Heeey, my birthday is coming up!

Hint, hint.

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