I saw a Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve. I had no idea what it was.
The color was all together different than the more familiar shore birds. It made noises similar to a cross between a chicken and a duck. I could only describe it to others as a "gooney" little bird.
Green Herons are seasonal residents of tidewater marshes. They are much smaller than the Great Blue Heron (22 inches tall, 26 inch wingspan) with similar taste in fish and crustaceans. They have bluish-gray wingswith a body and neck that is a molted brown and white. They take on a purple-like tone when breeding. This bird nest in secluded shrubs and trees along the edge of marshes.
Green Herons are no strangers to York River State Park. I have photographed them in the freshwater bog at Croaker Landing. They frequent Taskinas Creek and can be found around Woodstock Pond. The birds can be found at any of the shoreline access points such as the seining area and Fossil Beach. Adventurous hikers may spot them from the observation deck at the end of Pamunkey and Riverview Trails.
It is possible to get close to this bird. Careful stalking and a quiet paddle will not spook them too badly. Use the telephoto function on a point-and-shoot camera or a 200mm lens on a DSLR for a photograph. Binoculars and spotting scopes are great for viewing the "gooney" Green Heron as well.
Come on out to York River State Park!
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.