Sunday, June 21, 2009

Black-crowned Night Heron and Green Herons

I did a little birding on Saturday night despite being out all day doing much of the same. I came home in the afternoon and my house smelled of burnt pork chops and Michael Boltonesque music assaulted me as I opened the door. My son's girlfriend is turning 22 this week so he was making her a dinner with candles and all and I knew that was my que to get out of there as soon as possible which I happily did!

Anyhow, I knew I had about two hours to spare so went to St. Philips to check on the Green Herons. I decided to spend an hour at each part of the wetlands to see what else I could spot. My goal was to remain as still as possible so that eventualy the herons wouldn't even notice me so I could observe them with the naked eye.

When I got to the section of St Philips on the right side of the wetlands, I saw a bird that looked like a small Great-blue Heron perched up on the branch who took off once it saw me. As it took off it made a call I had never heard before so it stumped me even more (as well as the color of the bill and the eye). Come to find out it was a Black-crowned Night Heron. LIFER believe it or not! Remember I didn't start serious birding until early November of last year and they were not in the area at that time. Very cool bird that is now on my stalking list! I went to St Philips again this morning because I wanted to see if it was there. This bird usually hunts at dusk and at night but will hunt during the day if they are feeding their young so I decided to see if I could confirm that but I couldn't.

Note: Both Alan and Rick Q emaild me to let me know that these herons will usually not nest here as they prefer to do it on or near the coast lands. A girl can dream though can't she!! Thanks to both of you-you learn something new everyday!

The two Green Herons were out but one was not as visible as the other so I am guessing they have a nest somewhere in the area. The heron was fairly close to me so I could observe him with just my eyes which was my goal in the first place.

Love this bird and their call in particular. They may be shy but they do have spunk and are extremely intelligent.

Silhouette photo of one getting ready for takeoff!

Check out this photo of a House Sparrow near a nesting cavity. I had seen a bird peeking its head out of a whole and as soon as I got my camera to it, off if flew. I got close enough for a decent shot and realized it was a House Sparrow! Watched it for a while and he flew in twice but nothing flew out and I could hear no nestlings begging for food. The habitat at St Philips is so diverse that you can have both House Sparrows and Eastern Bluebirds together without too many scuffles that I can see of.

Speaking of an invasive species of bird, the two Mute Swans I had seen there early this year are still there but there were no signs of nestling or young so I am guessing these two are childless for the year.

The two Great-blue Herons are still there as well but not on the nest so I am not sure what is going on with them as I have no seen any juvenile herons in the nest they used last year. Very odd.

A picture of the wetlands at St. Philips. I have plenty of favorite places to bird but this remains my number one place. I spent most of March in ankle deep snow in this area observing the Pileated Woodpeckers and now I go there to track the herons and other birds. I can stay there for hours if allowed. It is so quiet and soothing that what ever stress I have when I get there soon goes away.

Lastly a dragon fly of some sort and another insect. I am actually really getting into insect photography because it allows me to practice my micro photography skills which is a lot of fun.


Mildred said...

To have been a spur of the moment birding trip you really did great. I love the dragonfly photos as well. What a lot you have accomplished in such a short time. Congrats.

madcobug said...

Great shots of all of them. Helen

Betsy from Tennessee said...

What a great thing to do while the girlfriend was entertaining your son!!!!! I'm sure you didn't complain about going back out to do more birding. ha ha

Great shot of the night Heron. Glad you saw him!!!!!

Have a great day.

Steve said...

Great Heron shots, and you have lots of different types. We only get the Grey over here, unless something gets lost on its travels!

Kelly said...

...I'm glad you have this wonderful place to escape too! It looks like a birder's paradise. Great capture of the Black-Crowned Night-Heron!!

Tom Pirro said...

Kim, I believe that Black-crowned Night Herons did once nest inland in Massachusetts (The Conn. River valley), but it has been many years since. There is always hope a nest will show up in Worcester never know.

Spurwing Plover said...

I read that GREEN HERONS will use bait in catching fish like bugs,feathers, and other items making them tool users


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