Black-crowned Night Herons

Adult and juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons out at Wallkill River NWR, 7/20/13.
An adult just happened to fly behind this juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons out at Wallkill River NWR, 7/20/13.

I went out on a mission this evening to photograph the Black-crowned Night Herons out at Wallkill River NWR. I walked the Liberty Loop and tried to time it so that I was on the east side of the loop (where the BCNHs roost) right before sunset. I walked in a counter-clockwise direction so that the fading sun would be at my back as I approached the trees where the birds roost. I was not disappointed – I saw four BCNHs, three adults and one juvenile. These photos have an interesting dreamy quality to me and I’m not entirely sure why. I think there are two factors, the first being that nearly all the photos where shot through the trees which create a blurry foreground (background?). Also, the light was very interesting and hard for me to get a handle on. My settings for all these photos where not at all what I would typically encounter in low light situations; I had to under-expose all of these photos!?! Fortunately these birds were not really aware of my presence so I had plenty of time to make adjustments. Here’s some more shots:

Although they are not a beautiful bird, I find the young BCNHs fascinating to look at.
Although they are not a beautiful bird, I find the young BCNHs fascinating to look at.
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Adult Black-crowned Night Heron at Wallkill River NWR 7/20/13.
I see so many photos of BCNHs showing the white head plume - this is the first time I've gotten any showing it.
I see so many photos of BCNHs showing the white head plume – this is the first time I’ve gotten any showing it.
I don't love this photo, but I though it was cool to catch 3 BCNHs in one shot.
I don’t love this photo, but I though it was cool to catch 3 BCNHs in one shot.

Beyond the Black-crowned Night Herons, the birding was pretty good. Highlights included ten (!) Great Egrets, my first Great Egrets at Wallkill River NWR this year.

One of ten Great Egrets out at Wallkill River NWR, 7/20/13.
One of ten Great Egrets out at Wallkill River NWR, 7/20/13.

Shorebirds made another good showing, I heard first and then saw three Greater Yellowlegs. Also present were Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, and this Solitary Sandpiper.

I have this as a Solitary Sandpiper, Wallkill River NWR 7/20/13.
I have this as a Solitary Sandpiper, Wallkill River NWR 7/20/13.

Here’s my list for the day:

A pair of Red-tail Hawks perched on the north side of Oil City Road, 7/20/13.
A pair of Red-tail Hawks perched on the north side of Oil City Road, 7/20/13.

Canada Goose  25
Wood Duck  6
Mallard  4
Great Blue Heron  12
Great Egret  10
Green Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  4
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Killdeer  6
Spotted Sandpiper  4
Solitary Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Least Sandpiper  2
Mourning Dove  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  4
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  2
Wood Thrush  2
American Robin  15
Gray Catbird  8
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  4
Swamp Sparrow  2
Indigo Bunting  5
Bobolink  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Grackle  X
Orchard Oriole  1
American Goldfinch  3

2 thoughts on “Black-crowned Night Herons”

    1. I didn’t find the nest – just their roosting area. It’s the same place as last year in the trees on the east side of the loop. I was happy to get some photos, things worked out very well for me last night.

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