Right around the corner, right before my very eyes …
… after what seems like more than a month away because of two great trips sandwiching a week of horrible, epic rain, on a day that filled me with joy just because I was out and about under the warm, clear Carolina blue sky watching some of my favorite birds at one of my favorite spots … another lifer!
I got to the park at about 1:00 p.m., to be greeted by an Osprey flying and diving close by. A string of about twenty Wood Storks flew overhead, landing in trees on the other side of the creek. An American Oystercatcher was probing for oysters, while Willets, Great Egrets and others went about their business at this spot where they are often found. Some Monarch butterflies provided a distraction … a welcome treat!
(Click on this and other photos to enlarge.)
Almost two hours later, I was actually about ready to go home, after spending a significant amount of time photographing a Great Blue Heron working on a strange fish, later identified by friends as a Southern Stargazer (but that’s another story). However, I decided to take one more walk out to the end of the platform that sits at the edge of the tidal creek to see if I could spot any more Ospreys or other beauties flying around.
Great Blue Heron with Southern Stargazer
As I rounded a little bend in the boardwalk, lo and behold, there perched a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron on the railing of the platform. I recognized it right away as a Yellow-crowned, not Black-crowned, youngster by its heavier bill and different feather pattern compared to the Black-crowned juvies I’d seen in the past.
Well aware of my presence, but undisturbed, it stayed perched on the railing for quite some time, allowing me to photograph it as I crept a bit closer. After ten minutes or so (and much to my chagrin that my camera wasn’t pointed at the moment), it took a short flight down to the water and poked around a bit for crabs (the food choice of the species; Fiddler Crabs are in abundance at this spot). Then, it suddenly flew off to a stand of trees in the distance (and, no, I didn’t get that shot either). A rare mid-afternoon treat on my first day out after far too much time away!
Now, if I can just locate the parents. I will try to get a look at the stand of trees in the direction this one flew. Thank you, young one, for paying no attention to the “night” part of heron and for paying no attention to me. Thank goodness kids don’t tell time!
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