The majority of the photographs are of a Yellow-crowned Night Heron who has been growing up in our yard at the river for the past two years. I first spotted it hanging out in the trees at the edge of the swamp near the river two years ago- I never did get a good photograph, but this summer I managed several. When it was a juvenile, it had spotty brown feathers, and blended in very well with the background. Since it has grown up seeing me, it will hang out longer than the others so I could take a few decent photographs this year. Unlike the name suggests, I frequently see it during the daytime hunting through the shallows and rocks at the river for small prey including our large resident population of Fiddler crabs. It is a handsome mid-sized shore bird, with slate gray feathers, a black head, white crown and cheek stripes, reddish eyes and yellow legs. Breeding adults have a yellow fore crown (thus the name) with white plumes from the nape and orange legs. The Yellow-crowned Night Herons are among my favorites-and this one bird seems to have made a solitary home in our yard. There is probably a small breeding colony nearby, but I have seen the same bird here almost daily for two years. When disturbed, like most herons, it will squawk quite loudly as it takes off.
First, a beautiful Great Blue Heron, followed by a shot with the same bird and a Little Blue Heron in the background, then a Little Blue Heron wading in the Hillsborough River near sunset.