As if Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets weren’t enough, I’ve also started seeing Night Herons in Santa Rosa in recent years. I’ve always seen them at Spring Lake before, but on this trip I only saw them at Lake Ralphine. In fact, I saw one of on the very first day near the dam on Lake Ralphine, in the same spot where most of the fishermen usually sit.
In fact, I was quite surprised to see a Night Heron wading not more than a few feet from the fisherman and his line.
In the past they’ve seemed like fairly shy birds, though like American Bittern and Green Herons, they will often freeze when you approach them, rather than bolting.
There was even a second Night Heron nearby, sitting in the tree right above the other Night Heron.
It’s hard to tell where those eyes are looking, but it didn’t seem disturbed at all by my presence, quite confident I couldn’t reach him through the dense branches. He was right, I barely managed to get a shot through all those branches.
When I returned, the two night herons were no longer at the end of the lake by the dam, but had, instead, moved to the other end of the lake . This was the first time I ever saw a Night Heron actually standing on land.
Of course, when I circled the end of the lake to try to get a better picture of it, it had flown across the lake and was perched in dense branches, content to stare down at me from its relative safety.
I was disappointed that I never saw a Green Heron on my four visits to the lakes, but it was hard to be too disappointed when I did see Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Night Herons, all birds I never get to see in Pacific Northwest.