A black crowned night heron. Well, call it a “black crown” if you wish, but I never saw one that extends all the way down your back, and I don’t know how active these herons are at night. So, “black crowned night heron” might be a little misleading. “Hunched-over flat-headed blue-and-white heron” might be more accurate albeit less flattering.
All I know is that it’s unusual to find one who is willing to fish right out in the open.
The ones I’ve seen in the past all required a great deal of me trampling noiselessly — which, by the way, is impossible — through the muck and peeking under clumps of marsh grass.
And no matter how stealthily I trampled and peeked, I usually managed to flush them from their matted, messy cover, and all I would get for my troubles was a frightened animal and a pair of mud-soaked boots.
Not what I had hoped for on my day off!
And certainly not what the heron had hoped for, either.
But I suppose that if I was a black crowned night heron who dared to fish right out in the open, I would do it at a road less traveled, which is exactly what this one decided to so.
WITH her chick! That’s how secluded the West Shore Trail is.
WST is smaller than the main pool down in Seneca Falls, and it’s fairly secluded with no nearby commercial development. Or nearby residential development, either. Nothing to attract anyone who might stop for a cup of coffee and a doughnut before arriving at the trail intent upon interfering with a peaceful day of fishing. In fact, that is probably the biggest reason why people drive past the signs pointing to West Shore Trail.
Even now, in the midst of the CoVid-19 scare, WST remains off the radar for most birders and photographers who are looking for something to do that doesn’t require a mask. What they don’t know is that you don’t need a mask here. No one at the trail has a problem staying six feet away from anyone else simply because you can’t find anyone else to stand six feet away from.
I am probably one of the few people who make sure to visit West Shore Trail at least once a week. I love its seclusion. Maybe that’s why it is attracting more wildlife species, too. There is no heavily traveled Wildlife Drive encircling it, like there is at Seneca Falls. So this particular black crowned night heron and its chick fished fearlessly and openly on this sunny day.
I welcomed the sunny day, too, which meant I could use a fast shutter without fear of a far-too-high ISO spoiling the shots. . .if the shots were to be spoiled, it would be my own doing, not the camera’s.
And I did manage to mess up more than a few. :-(
What do you mean, “focus on the eye”???? I could hardly find the chick, much less its eye!
However, with a a deep breath and a longer lens, I did indeed find its eye and all the rest of it, too.
The chick-in-flight is a total loss. I forgot! This camera (Olympus EM10iii) has only contrast-detect AF, and there wasn’t much contrast in the midtones that surrounded this mid-toned bird.
Nonetheless, I did manage to end up with some legible representations of a beautiful bird that is hard to shoot simply because it hides so well.
Here’s just a couple more. . . hard to say good-bye to these lovely birds.
I took these over a two-day period this week: