Saturday, March 9, 2013

Yellow-crowned Night Herons

Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Corkscrew Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, FL; 12/26/2012.
Until last summer when a yellow-crowned Night Heron appeared in the Chicago area, I had never seen one before. They are more common in the southeast corner of the country than in the Midwest.  During my December trip to Florida, I saw these herons on both my first and last full days in my 5-day visit to this great birding state. My first sighting was in the Corkscrew National Wildlife Conservation Area. In fact I might have missed it if it wasn't for a thoughtful birder who left his spotting scope pointed at where a YCNH was napping in a tree across a shaded section of the swamp. Not only was there a spotting scope sitting by itself unattended, there was a sign attached to it with a page from The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America of the YCNH description. How long that scope and sign was there I couldn't tell, but one thing for sure, the heron was still there smack dab in the center of the viewfinder. At first it was napping with its eyes closed, and semi-hidden by some branches, but just before I was ready to move on down the trail, I noticed that it had woken up and shifted its position so I could get a clearer photograph of it (Above).
A yellow-crowned Night Heron, Ding-Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL; 12/30/2012.
On my last day in Florida, while hiking in the Ding Darling refuge on Sanibel Island, I saw two more Yellow Crowns (Above and Below) in two separate locations.
A different Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Ding-Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL; 12/30/2012.
The two I witnessed in Ding Darling were definitely awake and doing some fishing.

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