Sunday, April 11, 2021

Black-Crowned Night Heron

The black-crowned night heron has four subspecies. N. n. nycticorax, the nominate subspecies, is found in Europe, Asia and Africa. I've seen it twice previously, a juvenile in the Okavango Delta of Botswana and a number of them in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Yesterday I saw the subspecies N. n. hoactli for the first time, found in North America down to northern Argentina and Chile in South America. I was visiting the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, unit one, and feeling kind of sad that I was not seeing many birds. The man-made marshes I'd seen previously were dry black dirt. But then I spotted a heron near a small canal and it flew as I tried to get closer to it.
A little later I turned a corner around some cattails and saw two together and got pictures of one of them flying. 
This heron was about 15 yards from the other one. 

This other heron was behind and I got photos of it as it took off and flew. The lack of light makes the flight photos mostly outlines. 

They get their name from their largely nocturnal feeding habits. I saw them early in the morning, just shortly after sunrise. 

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