Black-Crowned Night-Herons

We were more than a little disappointed when we stopped at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge and discovered it was closed due to recent flooding  which meant we couldn’t check out the Night-Heron Rookery.

There aren’t nearly as many Night Heron nesting at the Santa Rosa Rookery, but there were  still lots of opportunities for shots of Black-Crowned Night-Heron carrying in nesting material.

I was a little surprised to see this juvenile Night-Heron fly in and out of the rookery, though it never appeared to be carrying nesting material. 

The herons flying in and out of the rookery seem largely indifferent to people below (or they wouldn’t be nesting in the middle of a busy street), but this Night-Heron definitely seemed irked at my presence, staring down at me menacingly.

This heron, on the other hand, appeared to be rather cowed

by this Snowy Egret which seemed quite threatening.  

It was clear that this was a high-rental area and that prime-nesting sites came at a real premium.  

Cattle Egret at the Santa Rosa Rookery

It’s relatively easy to get shots of Night Heron, Snowy Egrets, and Greater Egrets in many of the places we visit in Northern California, but the Santa Rosa Rookery is the only place I’ve ever managed to get a shot of Cattle Egret outside of Hawaii.  

I was a little disappointed that there didn’t seem to be as many Cattle Egret as usual, but this one made a couple of flybys while I had my camera set on a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action, even if the background seem darker than it actually appeared.

This would have been my favorite shot if I hadn’t managed to cut off the top of it’s wing.

Though this shot isn’t quite as good, I prefer it because it shows the whole bird.

Cattle Egrets aren’t nearly as “photogenic” as Snowy Egrets, but I still love these shots because I see them so seldom (no doubt that silly link at the bottom of each blog entry will show even better shots taken earlier).

Great Egrets at the Santa Rosa Rookery

I was a little surprised when I didn’t get a single shot of an egret at either the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge or Spring Lake because they are common in both places.  I wasn’t worried about not seeing any, though, because I was sure I would see them at the Santa Rosa Rookery a place I discovered online several years ago.  

Sure enough, we could see them flying in and landing on the top of the Eucalyptus tree  from several blocks away.  

I think the Santa Rosa Rookery is my favorite place to photograph Great Egrets because you can capture different behaviors.

Most of all, it’s a great place to try capture them in flight as they bring in nesting material.

Unfortunately, it’s still awfully challenging getting close up without cutting wings, legs, or, at the very least, feathers as they unexpectedly dive to their nesting site.