Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hiding in plain sight

I've noticed a Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) hiding out in various spots around Lake Ralphine at Howarth Park and was looking for it today. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found three tucked into the cozy little cove at the end of the lake! In the middle of the day, no less!

I'm not sure if this is a family. My notes state that both of the adults had yellow feet which indicates that they're not pair-bonded. According to this heron's feet turn pinkish when they've mated. On the other hand, both adults had long white plume feathers coming out of their napes which is a part of breeding plumage. Perhaps, as the season progresses, I'll be able to learn more about the relationship between the three birds.

Black-crowned night herons nest in colonies, often with other birds. In Santa Rosa, CA, where I live, there's a rookery on the other side of town with Black-crowned night herons, Great egrets, Cattle egrets and snowy egrets.

Black-crowned night herons are quite common everywhere but the tips of the earth and the area around Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea.

1 comment:

  1. I hope they nest a Howarth Park! Wouldn't that be fun to watch from a distance!

    Once, when we were staying in a motel in Gold Beach, I got to watch a black-crowned night heron fishing at night. The motel had floodlights on the river edge. The heron sat on a piling and evry so often splashed into the fiver after fish.