The Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron was part of the wading bird mix in the receding waters of this pond last week. Despite their name we do see them out during the day hunting while the hunting is good.
His shorter legs did not slow him down as he worked the water along with the other birds looking for food.
The mud, however, is more of an impediment when most of your legs and feet are in it.
Here is view of a cleaner bird after he flew into a tree for a safer vantage point of the pond activity.
The Black-crowned Night Herons built their nests on the interior of the swamp’s islands so we haven’t seen much of the juveniles. A few weeks ago they started to venture out onto branches and this week we’ve seen some fly.
This one dropped down near the path giving me an opportunity for a portrait. His eyes haven’t yet turned to the characteristic red that makes this heron really stand out as an adult.
Taking a longer flight, this heron flew to the next island, showing off his sizable feet. Like the Great Blue Herons, the Night Herons seem to be on their own learning to fly.
He found a perch and stayed with it. He had a great spot for watching the Little Blue Herons work on their flying lessons.
Now that I know the Night-Herons are around I keep an eye out where I have seen them perch. They tend to tuck into the interior edges of the trees, where you can often see their outline but not get a good shot.
Occasionally they hop out on an exterior branch and that sometimes is a prelude to a flight. Below you can make out two Anhinga sharing the tree. The Anhinga have been quite aggressive chasing off the Great Blue Herons but so far I haven’t seen them gang up on the Night Herons.
These Night Herons are very pale on their chests and under their wings, which is not much contrast in front of all these shiny sticks.
Their red eyes do stand out, though.
This one surprised me when he landed near me and I got a nice look at his colors, including that fantastic eye!