©Bert Gildart: The Black-crowned Night Heron is an extremely secretive bird but here at the Spring of Borrego, an RV park engulfed by Anza Borrego Desert State Park, a juvenile has taken up residence. That residence is – literally – at The Springs.
There’s nothing wrong with this normally secretive bird. It flies – and the bird is also true to its nature – because it fi shes, and it has picked a superb spot. The bird is also leery of intruders so I’m using a 600mm lens, and it is adequate to provide frame-filling images at a distance that seems comfortable for “My” bird.
The little pond associated with the springs is loaded with fish, and though I have now made dozens of images, I have yet to capture a picture of “my” bird with a fish in its beak. Either a palm tree or a huge boulder is in the way. And now the wind is blowing with gusts of up to 60 miles an hour.
But I hope to try again.
IS IT A NIGHT HERON?
I made the bird’s acquaintance two nights ago when Janie and I joined a group of RVers with whom we’ve made friends this winter. We gathered about 6:30 to sit around a fire pit located near the spring, but for a while, at any rate, we were all drawn to the water’s edge to admire this interesting bird. We all had thoughts on its identity but none of could provide a positive I.D. Eventually we were helped by a lady out for an evening walk who has participated in this Park’s bird walks.
She said the bird had been I.D’d as juvenile Night Heron. At first I thought it was a juvenile American Bittern, but she said “No,” and, though there are some distinct Night Heron characteristics, she’s probably right. American Bitterns are characterized in my guide book as a bird that extends its neck and head upward, and this bird certainly exhibited that trait.
My guide book, however, also says that Night Herons are “relatively stocky with shorter bills, legs, and necks. Their resting posture is normally somewhat hunched but when hunting they extend their necks and look more like other wading birds. In other words, it looks much like the images shown here.
My guide book also says Night Herons stand still at the water’s edge and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night or early morning. Again, that certainly fits the description of this bird.
I hope the wind dies down, and if so, I may try once again to photograph the bird gulping a fish.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
BOOKS FOR SALE:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy