Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s photos of birds come from reader Paul Peed, whose photos are available at eBird and Instagram. Paul’s captions are indented.

Don’t forget to keep those photos coming in!

Night Herons
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)— another patient hunter of the marshes, this heron is the champion at remaining absolutely still while waiting for prey to pass within reach.  Piercing slightly demonic red eyes and a beautiful blue and white coloration with a long white feather plume make this guy an easy identification although, true to its name, it is most active at night.


Adult– note the long feather plume:

Juveniles are difficult to separate from Yellow-crowned Night Herons.

Color ranges from a deep blue to this rather vibrant blue:

Poised for the strike:

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)- a talented Ghost Crab hunter, this is a rarity at T.M. Goodwin, where they prey on crawfish.  This individual tortured me for months.  He would appear in a canal or ditch near where I was set up and fly off as my camera swung in his direction.  I rather think he enjoyed dodging me.


  1. GBJames
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos!

  2. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Great pictures!

  3. Liz
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    These are wonderful!

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Great pictures. Thanks!

    In the picture with the caption “poised for the strike,” what is the thing that looks like a loop on the Heron’s back?

    • enl
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I was wondering the same thing.

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      That is the Night Heron’s feather plume. Both males and females have the plume and they seem to have a role in the mating process. A plume-less male has little chance of attracting a mate. Of course, someone wondered what would happen to a mated pair if the male had his plume removed. Instant divorce. The plumes have no other role.

      The plume is also visible in the second image and just visible in the fourth.

      Paul Peed

      • DrBrydon
        Posted August 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        I see now. I couldn’t tell if it was really on the bird, or something in the background.

  5. Debbie Coplan
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    wonderful! For some reason, the last photo of the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron reminds me of a skinny penguin.

  6. Posted August 22, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! Where were these taken?

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      3rd image from Black Point Wildlife Drive at Cape Canaveral National Seashore. The rest at T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area in Brevard County, Fl. All were taken in May of this year.


  7. Posted August 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Great images – thanks.

  8. rickflick
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I lovely bird. I’ve only seen them fly by. Up close, the beak is very heavy, different from blue herons which have thin and sharply pointed beaks.

  9. Mark R.
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    These are great photos of beautiful birds. Are night herons considered nocturnal? I figure if they hunt during the day as well, they wouldn’t be.

    • Paul Techsupport
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Black-crowned Night Herons are considered nocturnal. In Florida they hunt through the night and in the early dawn and late evening hours. Yellow-crowned are not nocturnal. They are much more driven by their prey which are out around high tides.

      • Mark R.
        Posted August 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the information…very interesting.

  10. Paul Techsupport
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the kind comments.


  11. ploubere
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Nice. Beautiful birds.

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