Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My friend the albino yellowcrown nightheron

On May 26, 2012, I discovered a rare albino yellowcrown nightheron. Up until a month ago, I had not seen it since August last year. A few weeks ago, I was in the area I originally found the bird and did not see it on the wading grounds. I paddled into the dark creek for no particular reason other than to look for golden silk spiders to photograph. It was in the creek that I saw my albino bird once again. This time, it stood on a branch in clear location about 10 feet away from me. I sat watching it for couple minutes while it stood still. I felt very relieved that the little bird was alive and could be seen again.

Today, I headed back to the area under cloud cover. The sky was clouded over and the sun had not yet risen so that the water and shoreline were gray and dark; with one exception, a small white bird several hundred feet away. I paddled over to it and was so happy to see my little albino bird again. There were only a couple other yellowcrown nightherons (one juvenile and one adult), no other waders were around. Some birds flew over, including this frigate bird, but all morning, it was just me and the white nightheron.

For some part of the short morning, I had sunlight, but used my fill flash frequently. As the rising tide (and easterly winds) pushed the water into the mangroves, the bird flew to the trees. I found it in the mangroves and it allowed me to get within several feet of it. Here it is before it walked behind the large branch and peeked out from behind (second photo).

Storms were forming off shore and some were rolling in my direction. Not yet threatened by these clouds, I decided to paddle 1/4 mile over to the marina area where there is another launch. This morning I was not able to access it because of a very large white tent standing in front of it at the edge of the parking lot. Lots of cars with trailers were coming into the parking lot so I figured this was a filming location. I paddled over to see what was happening and here is one shot from the water as I hid behind the mangroves. I assume those are toy guns in their hands. It says "Policia" on their vests, so this might be a Spanish film of some sort.

By now the winds had really picked up, so I headed back to my car where I was greeted by a nice gentlemen riding a bicycle. He asked if I was leaving and said that they were filming in the location and would need me to move my car. "No problem", I said, "leaving anyway." After loading the boat, the same gentlemen met me near the road as I was driving out. He said he needed to escort me out as the road was blocked by the film crew and that I would need to follow him. Consequently, I had to drive right through the film crew. iphone in hand, I tried to capture some images on the way out. They didn't look to happy with me, but hey, nobody said anything to me at 6:15 am when I arrived at the launch!

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