Gone fishin’ with a Green Heron

Green Heron and Frog by John Heintz

GREEN HERON, photo by John Heintz, Jr.

The entry for Green Heron (Butorides virescens) at All About Birds says (in part):

From a distance, the Green Heron is a dark, stocky bird hunched on slender yellow legs at the water’s edge, often hidden behind a tangle of leaves. Seen up close, it is a striking bird with a velvet-green back, rich chestnut body, and a dark cap often raised into a short crest. These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

Some Fun Facts…

  • The Green Heron is one of the world’s few tool-using bird species. It creates fishing lures with bread crusts, insects, earthworms, twigs, feathers, and other objects, dropping them on the surface of the water to entice small fish.
  • Like many herons, the Green Heron tends to wander outside of its breeding range after the nesting season is over. Most of the wanderers stay nearby as they search for good feeding habitat, but some travel long distances. Individuals have turned up as far away as England and France.
  • Green Herons usually hunt by wading in shallow water, but occasionally they dive for deep-water prey and need to swim back to shore—probably with help from the webs between their middle and outer toes. One juvenile heron was seen swimming gracefully for more than 60 feet, sitting upright “like a little swan,” according to one observer.
  • The oldest Green Heron on record was 7 years, 11 months old.

Read on for more, with various Green Heron calls including the attack call. The Michigan Bird Atlas shows Green Heron distribution in the state.

View the photo bigger and see this heron’s fishing technique in John’s amazing slideshow. FYI, it doesn’t end well for the fish.

Many more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Equinox to Equinox, 2014

Thill's-Fish-Market-by-Jorie-Obrien

 Day Two, photo by Jorie O’Brien

Jorie started her Equinox to Equinox series on March 20th – click the link to follow along until, I imagine, September 23rd.

There’s more from Jorie on Michigan in Pictures including a multi-day profile that’s really worth your time.

PS: This is Thill’s Fish House in Marquette, and excellent place to buy fresh, Lake Superior fish in the Marquette harbor.

 

 

Mr. Brownie, Brown Trout, Salmo trutta

Mr. Brownie

Mr. Brownie, photo by heronwheels

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources page on Brown Trout, Salmo trutta says that Brown trout is something of a misnomer as many Great Lakes brown trout are mainly silver in color. Michigan Sea Grant has excellent information about Great Lakes fish, and their Brown Trout entry says that the they were first stocked in the Great Lakes in the 1880s and:

The brown trout’s scientific name translates to “trout-salmon.” The Atlantic salmon and brown trout both belong to the genus Salmo. Rainbow trout, coho salmon, and Chinook salmon belong to a different genus – Oncorhynchus.

Great Lakes brown trout typically enter tributaries to spawn during late fall. Reef spawning also has been documented in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Although naturally reproducing populations of brown trout exist in Michigan waters, most are maintained through stocking. Unlike Chinook and coho salmon, brown trout do not necessarily die after spawning and can live for up to 13 years in Lake Michigan.

Browns can tolerate warmer water than other trout species, which adds to their popularity as a gamefish in rivers that are not suitable for native brook trout. In the Great Lakes, brown trout stay near shore in waters less than 50 feet deep, which makes them an ideal gamefish for shallow bays such as Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay.

The diet of brown trout varies greatly depending on its environment and available food sources. In the Great Lakes, brown trout prey mostly on forage fish such as alewife, rainbow smelt, and round goby. In rivers, small browns eat a variety of aquatic invertebrates. Larger fish transition to a diet of small fish, large insects, and even small rodents. Big browns are notorious for their wariness and nocturnal feeding habits.

Read on for more from Michigan Sea Grant and connect with them on Facebook. For more information on how and where to catch brown trout see the DNR’s Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them and Better Fishing Waters.

Stacey caught this beauty on the Pere Marquette River near Baldwin. Check this out bigger and see more in her Pure Michigan slideshow.

More fish on Michigan in Pictures, and be sure to check out this brown trout with a happy fisherman from the 1930s courtesy Seeking Michigan!

Judas Carp

Club Carp by docksidepress

Club Carp, photo by docksidepress

Judas test: Will carp betray their own? on the Great Lakes Echo says that University of Minnesota researchers are working to put a new tool in the arsenal of those seeking to thwart the voracious and invasive Asian carp.

The researchers are fitting common carp, or “Judas fish,” with transmitters to lead them to other, larger schools of common carp, the station reports.

“(Carp) seem to be actually exceptionally social, they really hang out together,” researcher Peter Sorensen told the station. “We have to confirm that, but it sure looks that way.”

Watch the report from CBS Minnesota to learn how researchers hope to use the same technique to locate Asian carp populations for extermination.

Check out Matt’s photo on black and see more from Matt on Michigan in Pictures.

More fish on Michigan in Pictures.