Black-crowned Night Heron
World Champs fever is in the air and I haven’t been as excited about Bass Fishing as I am right now.
6 of SA’s best represented our country in Portugal in October and it makes me very proud to say that one of them is my husband. You made us proud boys!
I can’t help to say that thanks to Rudi’s hard work and dedication to the sport, I have become a dedicated birder and it has given me many opportunities to visit many dams and see many different species.
Often when I go out on the boat, or even just on a birding drive I will see a bird I don’t have a photograph of yet and miss the shot. I have a hard time keeping myself calm when I miss the opportunity, but the great thing about Rudi’s competitive fishing, especially when it is the pre-fish stage of the competition, is that I know that there is a good chance that I will have another opportunity to get a photo.
One particular water bird, which in my experiences is very shy and I have struggled on many occasions to photograph, is the Black-crowned Night Heron.
The reason why it is shy is mostly because it is in fact a nocturnal bird. It is super quiet and finds the perfect roosting place to camouflage itself quite well. It is a small to medium sized heron which also contributes towards its elusiveness.
Having said that, it is not exactly the most subtle bird. When it is flushed, you know all about it. It makes a sound that you would not think such a smallish, shy bird could make.
The Black-crowned Night Heron is a stocky, compact heron with a heavy, blackish bill, reddish eyes and yellow underparts. Its face is white with a yellow wash. The head has a black cap that continues into the black on the back. It has a fringe and its outer-wing is grey and the inner-wing and back is black. The belly is also white with a yellow wash. Its legs and feet are yellow.
It is a fairly common resident, however very illusive. It is not difficult to see or find, but let me tell you, it doesn’t sit still when it knows it is being stalked for a photo.
This heron favours sluggish rivers with overhanging trees, lake shores (often in rocky areas), mangroves and rocky shores. It breeds singly or in loose colonies, usually alongside other herons and egrets. The nesting site is almost always over water, usually in reed beds, less often in trees, occasionally on bushed cliff-faces overhanging a river. Their nests are usually dispersed through the colony rather than being clumped. The nest is a small saucer-shaped platform of reed-stems or twigs, not distinguishable from those of other small egrets and herons unless the bird is seen in attendance. The nest is built by the female while the material is collected by the male. The clutch size is 2 to 4 eggs laid at two day intervals. The eggs and chicks are brooded and tended to by both male and female.
When I finally got my photo of a Black-crowned Night Heron you can just imagine how elated I was, however, this is usually the feeling with all my bird photos.
Once again well done to the Protea Team for taking silver at the World Black Bass Championships and a very big thank you to all the support they received.