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Green Heron on Lake Ballinger

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As summer closes I have been reminiscing at some of our adventures and I am reminded that some of our best memories happened only five minutes from our home. Living in the PNW, we are lucky to be surrounded by water and in the summers we get to spend time enjoying the scenery in a variety of ways. One of my favorite summer activities is Stand Up Paddle boarding! We have the inflatable variety which makes it really easy to pack and go, and we are lucky enough to be near this great birding spot at Lake Ballinger. Lake Ballinger is named for Judge Richard Achilles Ballinger, who was also for a period Mayor of Seattle and Secretary of the Interior under President Taft. See the notes below for more info.

Not only is the lake a great spot for SUP, it also is home to a variety of bird species. Hall Creek feeds into the park from the north and near the creek are a few ponds with many opportunities to see ducks, geese, and herons. There are also many varieties of sparrows, finches, and woodpeckers near the creek and ponds. We also saw a Western Painted Turtle on this visit – photographed in the gallery below.

On this day we got to enjoy a closer look at this Green Heron from the water, though I was a bit nervous to take my nice camera out a good dry bag helped ease my worries and I was able to quietly approach Edmount Island where he was resting. Keeping a safe distance and in a seated position I spent some time observing this beauty. Green Herons are smaller than Great Blue Heron’s and hard to spot. They tend not to stand out in the open like Blue Heron’s often do but will be near the shore often hidden in vegetation looking for fish to eat. Green Heron have a unique skill in that they use tools to fish – I have yet to see this but they are known to drop pieces of bread or small feathers onto the water to entice the fish to the surface where they can snatch them up.

On the lake you can find Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Belted Kingfishers and many other water-fowl all year long. It is a great park for birding, you can see 15 to 25 different species in a day if you stay long enough!

Things to Note:

  • Edmount Island where this Heron was spotted had a large fire back in 2009 and long before that it was home to the lakes namesake Ballinger family, check out this interesting article about Judge Ballinger by My Edmonds News.
  • Bring insect repellent, it’s a lake, with ponds, there are insects!
  • Please check out our resources page to learn more about the equipment we used to take these shots!

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