I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Last week when my son and I went into downtown Oakland after dinner, we parked behind the Grand Lake theater next to a Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant. As we got out of the car, I noticed a bird on top of the truck behind us. At first I thought that it was a fake bird because it didn't move; not a feather.
It was a large bird with beautiful markings and seemed to be unconcerned with us, or the traffic, or anything else going on around it. I knew it was real when it turned it's head as I walked closer. Now it was watching me and I kept taking pictures, taking a step closer each time I snapped a shot. My son kept saying, "Mom, lets go." but I kept telling him "Just a minute." and continued to take pictures.
This is, what I would call, a nicer area of Oakland. It's close to Lake Merritt and has some beautiful homes and apartments around the lake, but I would not be down on this street at night. There were some characters walking around that made me less than comfortable. Part of it is that I have been away from the city for way too long and I'm never in my comfort zone when I'm in any town that's larger than a bread basket. I think these birds knew this.

This photo is why I love photography, especially digital. You can take 50 photos..., 100 photos and count on getting a real beautiful one out of all of them. I think I took 25 shots of this bird to get this one wonderful picture. I was standing on the curb next to the truck, not 4 or 5 feet from this bird when I took the picture and he never even got fidgety.
What is interesting is that there were probably 50 of these birds on this corner. Some lined up on the telephone wires above KFC. These are not dumb birds. They know where the good, greasy food is and they don't have to watch their weight.
This is a young Heron. I'll bet his mommy was somewhere close by. We walked to the Gelato shop feeling like we were in the Hitchcock movie called The Birds. Hoping that they all would stay up there on the buildings and telephone lines and not swoop down on us to take our ice cream cones away. They didn't. Guess they were waiting for someone with a bag of chicken.

Isn't this just a beautiful bird?

The Black-crowned Night Heron (or just Night Heron in Eurasia), (Nycticorax nycticorax) is a medium-sized Heron. The herons are wading birds in the Ardeidae family. Some are called egrets or bitterns instead of herons. They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. Young birds are brown, flecked with white and grey. These are short-necked and stout herons.breeding habitat is fresh and salt-water.

Lake Merritt is a focal point in Oakland, Ca. A unique fresh and salt-water lake, the largest such lake located within an urban area consisting of 3.4 miles around the circumference of the lake, covering 155 acres of land. The depth of Lake Merritt varies upon how much water is allowed to filter in from the Estuary and upon rain water intake.

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  1. I've got a cute picture of me when I was very young like 2 at lake Merritt feeding the ducks. Your a good photographer.
    I bet Oakland can have some scary folks, kinda like Jackson Mississippi. Kinda like anywhere.

  2. That's a great photo and what a beautiful bird! I saw one at the L.A. Arboretum a few months ago - it stayed real still and I thought it was fake too! I love its legs!

  3. FIFTY???
    That is amazing!
    Do you think they spend the night at Lake Merrit, they must. Its a beautiful picture.


  4. A very good looking bird - and great pictures by the photographer too!

  5. great photo...if I hadn't read the post I would have thought it wasn't real...;p

  6. There is a nice bird sanctuary at lake merritt. it's right across the street from that kfc. my dad lives near there.

    bonnye in west sacramento

  7. Nice capture. Did you have a good day with your son? We can see you had a good day with the camera.


  8. Yes, it's a pretty bird. I am especially fond of pigeons too.

  9. We have a plethora of birds here in CO. which reminds me I must go make some food for the hummers!Your night heron is a beautiful chap!

  10. Perfect photo. There are several pairs of these birds nesting in some trees near Jack London Square, across the street from a movie theater. It's an odd place to raise your babies, but the herons seem incredibly adaptable.


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