Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Black-Crowned Night Heron US / Grey Heron UK

Last month while I was standing under the Malibu Ficus tree being obsessed with the Egret's nests, I became aware of a movement in a beautiful Coral tree. On investigation, I discovered it was a Black-Crowned Night Heron- a tiny bird compared with the Great Blue Heron that I had been photographing in the Egret's Ficus tree. The proprietor of a nearby shop told me that they regularly nested there. As Egrets are also members of the Heron family, I felt surrounded by Herons!

The Black-Crowned Night Heron, skulking in the Coral tree:


After this profusion of relations to this- to me- exotic family of birds, you can imagine my joy on discovering that a pair of Grey Herons were nesting on the Fish Pond Island in Valentines Park!

Although Herons have always been regular visitors to the park (I remember how cross I once felt that I did not have my camera with me when I saw a Heron standing on a rowing boat named "Heron"!) this is the first time they have nested there. Actually, it is the first time they have nested in the Borough of Redbridge since nesting in nearby Wanstead Park up until about 1882, when the park was opened to the public.

Fortunately for visibility, the nest is built on the very edge of the island, approximately ten feet up a dead Sycamore covered with ivy (a passing Park representative told me that he had planned to fell the tree, but luckily had not done so!). Because of this you can clearly see the three now very large chicks, the first chick having been hatched on April 25th. I read that the young remain in the nest for seven weeks, which really surprizes me as these chicks are not that much smaller than the parent birds and are constantly trying out their wings- and nearly losing their balance! The parent bird (apparently they share both incubation and feeding duties) patiently sits on the branch supporting the nest, though sometimes disappears in search of food.

I will start by showing the idyllic location- look carefully and you will spot the nest:




Here are the three chicks with their parent:


Then the chicks started making a tremendous noise, clamoring for food:


The parent bird obviously could not stand the noise and removed himself/herself down the branch...


where instead of flying off to find food he sat showing his boredom...



And here the chicks are reminiscent of Meerkats...


And now they experiment with their wings...





I can't wait to see what happens next...

2 comments:

Georgia said...

Stunning photography in your last three posts. I'll have re-post some old photographs of herons at Oakland's Lake Merritt Channel Park. Thanks for the inspiration.

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GILLIAN WARE said...

Thanks Georgia- have just been enjoying your blog...