A Regular Walk Interrupted

March 24, 2019

Mel and I left the house yesterday afternoon hoping to go on a ‘regular walk’ (as opposed to a ‘picture walk’ where we would take our cameras). The plan was to leave the cameras at home this time. But I quickly developed second thoughts. What if I saw a once-in-a-lifetime bird and I didn’t have my camera with me??

“I won’t carry it on our walk”, I said to Mel, (in my least convincing voice). “I just want to have my camera in the car in case we see an owl or something.” (Thinking that we rarely see owls anyway and they’re not likely to move even if we did see one, so I’d have plenty of time to go back to the car and get my camera. Right? No. It was a dumb idea)

The closer we got to the park, the more doubts I had. Of course I was going to take my camera with me! What would be the point of leaving it in the car??? But, I wouldn’t stop and take pictures of every ant, butterfly and bird that I saw! Really!!  I wouldn’t! We had to get our ‘mileage’ in.

I was doing pretty well, I thought –until I spotted an unusual bird about 20 feet away! It was a Yellow Crowned Night Heron– out in the open!  It’s not that I’ve never seen a Yellow Crowned Night Heron before or that I haven’t gotten a picture of one, but they’re usually tucked away in the brush and are hard to photograph–so I’ve never really gotten a good shot at one. This was my chance!

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

“The Yellow Crowned Night Heron is a difficult bird to see. It is called a Night Heron because of its nocturnal habits. It likes cool sleeping spots and nesting over still water. It seems to pick dark shade deep in the woods or caves at the edges of lagoons or in a gallery of trees that stand in water.” https://animalcorner.co.uk/animals/galapagos-yellow-crowned-night-heron/

This one was on the edge of the brush in plain view and not at all spooked by our presence. We had been walking along a paved bike path and maybe he was just used to people passing by. I was able to get dozens of wonderful pictures without moving an inch closer.

That’s the treat I would have missed sharing had I left my camera in the car!

It’s not that there weren’t other fun things to photograph on our walk, like the Ospreys, the Scarlet Skimmers, the Red Shouldered Hawk, the Little Blue Heron, and the Pin-tailed Pondhawk, but that Yellow Crowned Night Heron was the highlight of my day!

Scarlet Skimmer
Little Blue Heron caught in the wind
Little Blue Heron before he turns blue!
Osprey with fish for lunch
Osprey squawking overhead
Giant osprey nest high in a tree

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