Sunday, May 27, 2012

Albino Yellowcrown Nightheron

What are the chances of sighting an albino bird in the wild? Wikifacts says the probability is 1 in 17,000 in humans if that is a clue. Whatever the probability is, I found one on Biscayne Bay. It was alone (while other groups of birds had been photographed within a mile range of the shoreline), busily foraging for crabs. After spending a few hours photographing various birds including the yellowcrown nightheron, little blue heron, snowy egret, tricolor heron, white ibis and great white egret, I had put away the camera and started paddling for the sake of paddling. Not having quite gotten the photo bug out of my system, I spotted a white bird amongst some small mangroves in the water and thought I might have a chance at photographing the scene.

I paddled closer and headed toward a good light as the bird seemed content to stay in a small area between two mangroves. I approached within 100 ft in the shallow water and waited for a nice pose. Snap, snap, a couple shots were taken. At first, I thought it was a juvenile little blue heron or maybe a snowy egret. But the bird appeared odd, not quite having the body shape or the slender beak of a little blue or snowy. No, something was quite different about this bird. After the initial shot, I examined the photo in zoom on the LCD and lo and behold, the white feathered bird had flaming red eyes.

Wow! I had never heard of a white morph version of the nightheron but after a bit of research and soliciting an expert opinion of an ornithologist, it is concluded that this bird is an albino. The bird allowed me to get very close and I spent a solid 45 minutes with it until the water levels rose enough to cause the bird to perch in the mangroves. A once-in-a-lifetime chance, this was a special encounter.

No comments:

Post a Comment