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Thread: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

  1. #1
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Ok I have to admit I have no interest in bird photography (although I admire some amazing bird photos in CiC) but here is a funny story about a good friend of mine. He (or she) is a heron (I think..).

    Last July I spend two weeks in Barcelona for business and of course I was shooting daily, mainly in the afternoons. One day I decided to visit the fabulous Parc de la Ciutadella for some golden hour shots being interested in the huge fountain. I was so absorbed in the process that soon it was dark and I found myself almost lost in the park. Since it closes during night (yes I was locked in) there are no lights in some parts of the park. Trying to find the exit in (almost) total darkness I noticed some ducks in a lake so it was time for my speelight. The results came as a surprise, the ducks were sitting on dozens of boats in the lake which I could not see so I kept shooting. And suddenly the LCD of my camera revealed this little guy:

    Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    I know nothing about birds but is it a heron??

    Being anxious about my way out I just said goodbye to the bird and left to find an exit. Fortunately a rail was missing near the main exit providing an escape.

    The story was repeated two days later, this time shooting the main fountain. The fountain is lighted by almost monochromatic sodium vapor lamps heavily altering the colors of the scene. And there was my little friend:

    Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    This time I knew I could safely find my way out so I tried a few techniques. The bird was near the middle of the fountain about 10 meters from me so I had my 430EX II zoomed all way down to 105mm at full power to get this one:

    Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Not a great photo I know but I was thrilled to find such a bird near the center of a big city.
    Last edited by MilT0s; 5th September 2012 at 04:31 PM.

  2. #2
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Hi Miltos, in answer to your question regarding Herons and cities...yes they can. The bird you shot appears to be a Great Blue Heron. Very interesting images, nicely done.

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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    As Joe says. They can be found anywhere there is water and a food source. Interesting shots btw.

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    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Joe and others bird experts I need a bit more help with that.

    According to wikipedia the Great Blue Herons can be found in North America with little records in west Europe. So not only I found a heron in the center of a big city but also found a rare vagrant to Europe??
    Last edited by MilT0s; 8th September 2012 at 04:33 PM.

  5. #5
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Hello Miltos, from what I read it appears you did photograph a rare vagrant. The bird is definitely a Great Blue Heron.

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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Are we sure about the Great Blue Heron. Don't want to be a spoil sport, but with the lighting I think it is very hard to say that this is not a Grey Heron, which is a much more likely sighting. I can't even track down any in-the-field diagnostics, because the ranges just don't overlap. I can't find any rare bird alert sites for Greece in English, but if it were a GBH then I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to get near it for "twitchers" - or whatever the Greek equivalent is. Miltos - you could check out local birding web sites?

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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    I feel like Joe is right and that is a great blue heron. I like the fountain shot best.

  8. #8
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Joe, Dave, James thank you for your help.

    Dave I shot the bird in Barcelona last July during a 2 weeks stay, not in Greece.

    According to Wikipedia:
    "It is a rare vagrant to Europe, with records from Spain, the Azores, England and the Netherlands.", however Barcelona is East Spain. Unfortunately during the second shot the lighting was predominately yellow sodium-vapor lighting enhanced by my flash so the colors are heavily altered. In the first shot the bird was at a great distance and unfortunately I don't own a telephoto lens.

    In any case I am very happy meeting him or her.

  9. #9
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Hi Miltos, after reading David's post and looking up the Grey Heron... it could be that. They are very similar differing only in size and where they are found. Also the Great Blue has brown on the shoulders and upper legs. As shown in the image posted below. It is difficut to see in your images.

    Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

  10. #10
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    Re: Can herons be found near the center of big cities??

    Puedo hablar espanol! I'll have a look around Spanish bird sites just in case.

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