Thursday, April 11, 2013

Black-crowned Night-Heron and Others

Just when you thought you've seen everything there is to see on this blog, I'm about to throw you all a curve ball and dedicate this post to nothing but lousy pictures of birds including the one above seen while at the Millbury Bike Path this morning in search for a Double-crested Cormorant I don't have for the year.  I'd be making my way around the river and spook two Wood Ducks nearby when suddenly I heard a two phased high pitched bird song and would know right away it was a Ruby-crowned Kinglet who'd be in some brambles nearby.  Pictures would be impossible due to lighting but this bird was so close it allowed me the best views I've ever gotten of this bird and was so close I got it without the binoculars which was the perfect way to start the day.

I'd do nothing at lunch except grab coffee and get some pictures of all the excitement downtown with the movie they're filming here where sections of Main Street are now filled with the film crew and curious bystanders.

They spent most of their time changing signs to take Main Street out of 2013 and back to the 70's including the liquor store sign above that is actually a Subway!

I'd head out of the office but check Rick's Site before hand and see he got a Black-crowned Night-Heron at Institute Park during lunch and kick myself for being so busy today as I wanted to get there for lunch but was impossible due to a deadline I was working on so off I went after work hoping it would still be there as this is another one of those birds I want now vs. the fall if possible!  There'd be a lot more ducks on the water vs. a couple days ago when I had the Hooded Mergansers as there'd be some Common mixed in as well.

Mixed flock and the Mute Swan on her nest ::face palm::

There'd also be at least one Green-winged Teal mixed in which was a treat as it was a drake.  I'd take my time birding here and would check every nook and cranny to the park and be dismayed to see no Night-Heron.  I didn't think it would have taken off mid day but figured it was hidden somewhere I couldn't see and start resigning myself to the fact I wasn't going to get the bird.  The Canada Geese would be honking away and it would be then I'd notice some of their notes can sound almost Black-crownedesque at times so spent some time watching them with one in particular as he as about to get attacked by the male Mute Swan nearby.  The two Canada Geese on land would be watching this interaction and making a sound I'd never noticed before as well as some almost nibbling behavior I found interesting so decided to video tape it.

See video above that would be abruptly cut short as I noticed the low battery symbol on the upper left of my camera so would shut it off just in case I spotted the Night-Heron and I needed what was left of my juice for record shots!  I'd continue checking every nook and cranny around the pond when my eyes would be drawn to a mixed flock of both female Common and Hooded Mergs so get my bins on them when suddenly I spotted a bird in that general location that had Night-Heron potential but would be hidden by branches and it also wouldn't be moving.  Hmmmmmmm....Perhaps a rock messing with me I'd think but dismissed it as it was the perfect shape for the heron so took out my camera even though the bird was all the way across the pond and this is what I'd get.

At first glance it would appear to be the heron sound asleep with its head tucked in and that's why it wasn't moving!

A little closer now.  Notice the shape and coloring, especially the black at the top of the head.

I'd get a little closer to the edge of the pond to try and get better photos when suddenly I had the feeling someone was staring at me and this is who it would be.  Not sure if he thought I was there to feed him or was a threat to his lady but he'd get so close I'd move on as I didn't want to find out as I could just picture the voice mail I'd leave my boss telling him I wouldn't be at work tomorrow due to getting attacked by a Mute Swan!  I'd walk toward the car and stop in another area trying to relocate the Heron when suddenly there'd be a ruckus in the sky with a couple of Common Grackles mobbing an American Crow in the same area of the Heron and Mergansers so stopped again figuring all that noise would be sure to wake the heron just to move my 99% positive to a solid 100%.

Ta da!!!!  Look in the middle and look for yellow legs and there's my Night-Heron who got up to see what all the commotion was!  Have I told you lately how much I love crows!  I'd be looking at the Night-Heron with my bins when it suddenly hit me what birding can be like at times.  Does anyone remember the magazine called Highlights??  OMG I loved that and whenever it arrived in the mail I'd first go to my favorite cartoon Goofus and Gallant followed immediately by "Hidden Pictures".  You know what that is, it's when there are pictures hidden within another picture and you have to find it (for some reason Pies were the toughest for me).  Anyhow, that's how birding can be as you try and find the chosen object mixed in with other objects so I guess birding was meant for me even at the young age of 9!  ;-).  The photos above are probably some of the worst record shots I've ever gotten but still take them as it beats giving a written description on eBird when I go to submit my observations as one, I don't take mental field notes (probably should, but being honest here) and two, writers block whenever I do a written description anyhow so go to my Sibley's to help me out (being honest again).  Even lousy photos like the ones above will work if you get the shape, coloring of the bird, etc, more often than not which is why I use my camera in birding as much as I do my bins and eyes!

Take care all.

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