A few days ago, I went to the rookery next to the Welcome Center in Ocean City, NJ. It is quite late in the breeding season and most of the newborn herons, as well as their parents, have migrated. However, a handful were still around for pictures.
The following photos are some of the favorites that you, my WordPress readers, have either liked the posts where they were posted in, clicked on their images to see them in larger size, or mentioned them in your comments.
On a drive around Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, I saw a sleepy Black-crowned Night-Heron right by the side of the road. It watched me warily but did not fly away immediately.
Another shot before it flew away.
This page header photo is from an image taken in July of this year.
Two weeks ago, while the paparazzi were clustered around a nest with new chicks, I saw a Black-Crowned Night Heron fly to the marshes at low tide. These birds, as their name implies, normally feed in the evening, but this one was going to have lunch by pulling out worms from the sand.
The heron ate at least half a dozen worms.
Black-crowned Night Herons are a major presence at the rookery next to the Welcome Center at Ocean City, NJ. These birds hunt for their food starting at dusk, and their eyes are one of their most noticeable features.
Despite their size these Herons are easily intimidated by the Red-winged Blackbird, a fierce defender of its territory. I saw a Blackbird chase a Heron into a tree.
Pursued by the Blackbird, the Heron tried to hide among the branches. Unfortunately, too many leaves shielded the small Blackbird from the camera.
The American Bittern is a medium-sized heron that is supposed to be elusive, even secretive. Yesterday I thought I saw one, but Observer, see comment below, pointed out that this is not an American Bittern, but a Black-crowned Night-Heron, probably a juvenile one. It was standing out in the open on a wooden beam by the side of Wildlife Drive at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Maybe it was relatively early in the morning, as it allowed me to come within 20 ft (6 m) of it to take these up-close pictures. It stood still in one pose, so the dozen shots I took are almost all identical.
Going through my files from this past June, I found the following series showing a Red-winged Blackbird dive-bombing a Black-crowned Night Heron that had strayed too close to its nest. This all happened in less than a minute near the Ocean City Welcome Center in New Jersey.
Busy preparing for an upcoming long trip, I have not had a chance to go out and take any photo. The following images were taken many months ago, but have not yet been published on these pages. There is no rhyme or reason to them, just interesting shots of landscape and wildlife that I have seen.
Yesterday the rookery next to Ocean City Welcome Center was very busy, with photographers and birds. The former brought their long lenses firmly anchored to bulky tripods, or to study arms. The latter, especially the younger ones, were up to their natural feistiness.
I tried to shoot a few bird-in-flight pictures, but ended up discarding most of them. Below is one of the better images.
Two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron did not let up on their play acting, and I saw that other young ones in nearby nests were behaving likewise. Perhaps it’s a part of their growing up, preparing themselves for an independent life in a few more weeks,
This past Sunday, as I stood by the side of the Ocean City Welcome Center to photograph Night Heron nests, there were many herons flying in and out of the rookery every few minutes. I tried to swing my camera around and aimed at them, but they were so fast that I never knew whether I managed to capture any of them. Actually, I did miss most of them, but the following somehow came out rather well.
The Night Heron hatchlings from last week are now wide awake, clamoring for attention and food. You can see them in the following photos and the two short videos at the end of this post.
I finally located a Black-crowned Night Heron nest.
The following video shows activities at a Yellow-crowned Night Heron nest.
Yesterday was the first time I used my camera to shoot a short video of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron tending to its babies in their nest. It is a little noisy, but here it is anyway so that you can see the interaction between mother and babies.
Going through my files from yesterday, I found one of an immature heron, probably a Black-crowned Night Heron.
And here’s one of an adult heron carrying a twig.
As predicted, the eggs in the Night Heron nests have begun to hatch. I went to the Ocean City Welcome Center today to look at them, and saw little balls of fur moving while the parents were busy preening or redecorating their nests.
At another nest, the male heron brought a twig back.
At yet another nest, no eggs had hatched.
There were many other birds around the herons. I only managed to get shots of Ibises and Great Egret.
Yesterday I went back to Ocean City Welcome Center to check on the Night Herons, both Yellow-Crowned and Black-Crowned kinds. They now have eggs, and this was the first time I was able to photograph bird eggs in their nests.
In case your are wondering, here’s a picture of Ocean City Welcome Center.
And here’s a shot of the place from where I’ve been photographing the Night Herons.
Finally, a photo of a Night Heron incubating.
Incubation lasts up to 25 days, so next week, there may be new hatchlings.
The Welcome Center in Ocean City, NJ is right next to a rookery with many kinds of birds, including Yellow-crowned Night Herons. These herons are active during daylight hours, in contrast to the Black-crowned Night Heron that are nocturnal. The herons arrived a little over two weeks ago, but within a week they had been busy courting, choosing their partners, and building nests. I took the following photos last Sunday.
Meanwhile the Black-crowned Night Herons were starting to wake up.
Black-crowned Night Herons winter in Mexico and further South, coming North to breed when Spring comes. I was told by a fellow photographer that they migrate to Ocean City, NJ, about 20 miles South of Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge where I usually go.
This morning I went to the Ocean City Welcome Center which opened 3 years ago and is becoming famous for its population of Black-crowned Night Heron. It had snowed the day before, but they were there, about two dozens of them, most perched on tree branches. They were half asleep since they are normally only active at night. I had never seen them until today, so these are my first shots of this kind of heron.