A Siege of Night Herons

We ended the birding portion of our California trip on a high note when we discovered a siege of Night Herons on the backside of the Colus NWR as we were leaving. I startled a flock of them as we headed back to the entrance.

Since I had never seen Night Herons in a flock, I didn’t recognize them when they flew off and dispersed. Luckily several members didn’t leave with the rest of the flock and once I looked at them through my telephoto lens I quickly recognized them by their distinctive shape and color.

Strangely, some of those that were the closest didn’t scatter, and I was able to get the best close-ups I have ever managed to get:

Night Heron

Of course, the heron’s tendency to freeze when spotted makes it relatively easy to get great shots.

Night Heron

Since it was against the rules to get out of your car on this part of the refuge, I had a hard time getting shot of this immature night Heron because it, unlike the adults, seemed determined to hide.

immature Night Heron

If I had recognized it as a Night Heron, I might not have tried so hard to get a shot of it.

Further down the road, we ran into an even more amazing sight,

Nigh Herons in Bushes

though photographically it leaves something to be desired. At first we couldn’t decide what was in the shrubs across the creek. When we finally recognized they were herons we could not believe how many there were, and this is just a small sample of what was there.

What a delightful way to end our trip to California. Birding was so good that we spent much longer than planned and paid for our fun when we hit Siskiyou Pass around ten at night. Our day of delightful sunshine turned to a chains-required near white-out at the Oregon border. Luckily we had taken the All-Wheel-Drive Honda Element for precisely that reason and were able to cross the pass without too much stress.