Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron 4

The picture with today’s post shows a Yellow Crowned Night Heron and its reflection.  Now this guy is not to be confused with a Black Crowned Night Heron.  This picture and today’s header are both from yesterday’s morning bike ride.  Although the sun was up when I photographed this heron, it wasn’t above the yardarm, so to speak.  It was still enough in the half light of dawn that the camera demanded the flash be raised.  I figure that counts as still being nocturnal.  Anyway, thirty minutes later when I returned, the heron was gone.  I got about a half dozen photos of this guy.  I liked this one the best because his reflection was the best.  Last Saturday, Anne saw one of these guys, but with bark in the Park and the guys that dress up like knights and like to hit each other, by the time we got back to where she had seem him he was gone.  I say he, but adults look pretty similar, so who knows.

Now this spring I have been able to see and photograph many different species of water fowl, while bicycling in the Park.  I’ve shown herons, egrets, ducks, geese, plus many others, including owls.  I know from viewing other people’s websites there are still more species to go.  Why you might ask are so many birds attracted to the Park?  After all it is in the middle of a metropolitan area.  What helps to attract the herons and the egrets is that ten years ago Forest Park Forever reintroduced the river that had not flowed through the Park since before the 1904 World’s Fair.  In the nineteenth century the Park was a more of a wilderness, it was called Skinker’s Swamp.

The so called river is actually a series of ponds, that are connected by drains and are managed to simulate a river’s course.  What keeps the herons and egrets in the Park, in ever increasing numbers is the fact that a series of these ponds on the north east side of the Park have always doubled as a fish hatchery.  In its heyday the Park’s fish hatchery also served all of Missouri.  Fish hatched within the building, just off Grand Drive, were allowed to mature within the surrounding fish ponds.  A nearby rail line, now the MetroLink line, and a  specially built tank car allowed Missouri to transport the fish about the state, restocking rivers and streams.  The hatchery still functions, but now as an educational facility, but the herons and egrets really don’t care about how or why it works.  They’re just in it for the fish.

OBTW, I got fifteen miles yesterday.

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