Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yellow Crowned Night Heron Diary ver. 2012

February 26, 2012

It was another beautiful winter day during the season that has not yet occurred. We simply have not had winter yet and the season has nearly passed. I thought to start the diary earlier this year so that I could see the Herons begin their nest building and/or rebuilding.

It has not started so there is little to report this initial entry. Anyway, I'll be going every weekend so that I can keep a chart of their activities.

Currently there are three re-usable nests in view and they seem smaller. I stress "seem" because I simply am not sure. I hope that is correct because I want to see how they fortify what is there. I also hope to see the construction of new nests.

March 17th

What a beautiful warm morning. However there is not yet any sign of activity at the rookery and so there is not anything else to say.

March 26th

I saw the first heron of the year at the nesting site. Since it is mating season the yellow crown from whence it's name is very pronounced.

One of last year's nests is gone. I think I saw it in the Jones Falls a week or so back. Two of the more visually obvious nests are being used. Unfortunately if they were reinforced this year I did not see it happen nor do they appear to have been. I was hoping to see nest building activity but I did not.

However there was one egg laid that I could see.

April 1st

There are many herons amongst the trees today. It is cool but gorgeous and lots of activity but no new nests that can be seen from the bridge. The two visible nests have mothers sitting on them so there are probably more eggs.

April 8th

Easter today which means nothing to me but it does to all the walkers in their Sunday best. I came for the nesting observation rather than happy children who have digested too much sugar.

This was also a beautiful if chilly morning and there are several nesting and protecting herons but nothing really new to report.

I did hike down below to see if I could spot additional nests from that perspective but within range I only see two nests. I also wonder if these were early birds (pardon the pun)and that more activity is to come. I did not do any observations this early last year.

April 15th

I saw a lot of new nesting activity and many more birds, the males with their mating plumage. Some of the nests (I counted four of them)had progeny in them (another observer said that she counted 6 in one of them)and others in the sloppy process of preparation.

The males gather the twigs and the females create the nests.

May 28, 2012

I have been good about taking my weekly jaunts to see how the Herons are progressing but have been remiss about reporting what I have found. Sort of remiss that is since my weekly trek has shown me little. Mothers were warming eggs and fathers were coming to the roost with food. Another problem is that the leafage this year has made the nests more obscure from the bridge. From underneath one can see many nests if I remember correctly I counted seven but of course from underneath you cannot see the nesting conditions.

There is one new nest that can be viewed from the bridge and yesterday I spotted three hatchlings in it. I'll be posting a photo on my web page soon. I also met a couple who drove 85 miles to see the Herons. They came from Pennsylvania and were photographing away at what they could see. I was able to help them see more, including the hatchlings that they had overlooked. I was glad to do that as they were thrilled.

Several weeks ago I also met a young woman with an accent from one of those other English speaking places but I would not be able to distinguish a New Zealand accent from a Cornish one and never asked where she was from. She was photographing away and pointed me to a web site where her pictures were displayed. They are so good that I am embarrassed to pose my own, though I do anyway. I'll find her website and post next time.

Now that they are hatching it is time to watch them develop and that has been one of my joys in this Yellow Crown Night Heron Diary endeavor.

June 17, 2012

Despite going to visit the rookery every weekend I haven’t reported faithfully since there is little news to report. The leaves have obscured more of the nests than in the last few seasons but one that was newly built this spring is overt and can be watched.

The hatchlings are growing in size quite rapidly and the down is quickly turning to feathers yet the chicks are still too young to do much exploring. My photographs show that they are now the dark feathered juveniles replete with the golden spots throughout their bodies. I cannot see them stalking limbs and stretching feathers yet but as I write this it is not even summer.

From now until complete fledge will go very fast based on the previous two summers-my initiate seasons for this diary and my watching.

I’ll keep you posted.

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