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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Night Herons

Why are these guys called 'Night Herons' while they are often active during the daytime? Their name can be misleading. Even though these recluse guys often hunt at night they are not exclusively nocturnal as they are often seen feeding during daylight hours.

Black-Crowned Night Herons

The Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Herons look far different from the adults but they are cool-looking in their own right. This one was sitting motionless in a tree just above the water's edge.

What do you think of the way his feet and toes are wrapped around and locked onto the branches in the tree?

(Left-Click to Enlarge Images)

A bit closer. This guy looks sort of stocky and hunch-backed roosting in the tree. The Night Herons have it together. By primarily resting/roosting during the day and feeding at night, they avoid competition with the Herons that feed in the same area during the day.

Once this little guy reaches adulthood he will transform into this magnificent bird with its distinctive plumage. What a clever name, 'Black-Crowned Night Heron' :)

This opportunistic feeder with his dagger-like bill appears more than capable to take care of any unsuspecting fish or critter in range.

Yellow-Crowned Night Herons

The next two pictures are juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Herons followed by an adult Yellow-Crowned Night Heron.

Young Yellow-Crowned Night Herons have the same bulky black bill as the adult but their plumage is different as you can see. Also their legs are a bit longer and they stand with a more upright posture as compared to the young Black-Crowned Night Herons.

Here is an adult Yellow-Crowned Night Heron looking for a meal during the daylight hours. Why is it named a 'Yellow-Crowned Night Heron' when it has a white crown? Its crown is white for most of the year except for breeding season when its crown turns yellow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eastern Wood - Pewee or Western Wood - Pewee?

I came upon this Pewee at the same place on two different occasions at Peveto about an hour apart in 2011. This one differs drastically from the countless Eastern Wood-Pewees I've seen over the years. Check out the pictures below. Do you feel this Flycatcher is an Eastern Wood-Pewee or a Western Wood- Pewee?

Some extremely knowledgeable birders from LA that I trust emailed me. The word is that without hearing a vocalizaton it is impossible to ID this bird with 100% confidence.

Regardless of the ID, it was fun seeing this Flycatcher and hoping it would be a Western Wood - Pewee. Perhaps next time the Pewee will vocalize casting no doubt as to its ID.

Left-Click to Enlarge Pictures

Close-ups of the above two images. Left-Click to enlarge.

This Eastern Wood - Pewee was at a different location on a different day. What do you think of this one with his crest raised? Was he trying to impress a 'lady Pewee' close by?