Black-capped night heron waiting for pond access.

Black-crowned night heron waiting for pond access.

He’s baaaaack!

This morning, about 6:30 a.m., we crept outside to see if we could spy some very tiny frogs that we have been glimpsing as they dart away from us in a flash.  As we approached the Ponderosa, our friend the night heron flew into this tree.  He just sat there, staring down at us.  He was rather skittish during his last visit.  I am assuming he was waiting for us to leave so he could sample more of our wares.  After about ten minutes we waved our arms and chased him away.

We were able to get much closer to him this time.  I hadn’t appreciated the enormity of this bird until now.  He is huge!  It is hard to convey this in the photos.

I’m pretty sure that he arrived only when we were outside.  I didn’t see any evidence that he had been there earlier.  Last time all the fish were huddled at the far end of the pond.  Also, Tommy (one of our two large bullfrog residents of the People Pond) was sitting by the thalia plant, as he does most mornings at that time.  We didn’t see any other frogs, but that is pretty common for the early morning.

A Morning Surprise

July 12, 2009

Black-Crowned Night Heron

black-crowned night heron hunting for goldfish

This morning we awoke to find this guy hunting in the Ponderosa.  He had just caught a fish and flew up to a nearby tree branch.  We stayed inside watching from the window, and he stayed on his branch watching us.  He finally came back down and slowly made his way over to the edge of the pond.  Even though we knew he was hunting our fish, we couldn’t bring ourselves to chase him away.   He stood at the edge for a few minutes, motionless.  Then in two quick strides, he walked into the pond and plucked out our largest goldfish!  At that point we ran outside, hoping that we could startle him into dropping it.  He just flew off, screaming at us with the fish in his mouth.  He landed on the roof of the house across the street and watched us as he choked down the fish.

We were able to identify the bird as a black-crowned night heron.  Apparently, they prefer to hunt at night.  Hopefully he wasn’t hunting in the Ponderosa all night long!