A Year on Clear Lake-Jan 04, 2013

Little Blue Heron – Jan 04, 2013

I found this little specimen patrolling the shallow waters along the lake’s edge. The Little Blue Heron is a year-round resident of the Gulf Coast area measuring about 24 inches and weighing a little less than a pound.

These small herons have slate blue plumage below the upper neck – hence their name. Their heads and necks are a purplish maroon color, especially noticeable during the summer months. Interestingly, the Little Blue Heron isn’t blue at all at birth, but rather a pure white. During those early months it is often mistaken for the Snowy Egret, with which it will often hang out. And while birders may sometimes be confused as to the bird’s heritage, the Little Blue Heron knows exactly what it is, molting into its adult color at around nine months to one year. In the process it is said to display an amazing splotchy appearance of gray and white feathers.

It dines on a diet of fish, crustaceans and insects.

Sadly it is reported that the bird’s overall numbers are declining, attributed to the loss of habitation to farmland expansion, residential development, and recreation, in addition to changes in water levels and flow.