Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight

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Today’s images are of something one doesn’t expect to see in our desert. This is a Black-crowned Night Heron, which I photographed recently as it flew over southern Arizona’s farmlands.

As their name more than suggests, these birds are members of the family of birds that includes herons and egrets. They are generally thought of as wading birds, associated with streams and the margins of ponds and estuaries. So, it’s a bit incongruous to encounter one of these them flying over a field in one of the United States’ most arid regions.

I’ve explained in previous posts how herons and egrets show up and even thrive in our farmlands. The farmlands are irrigated by a complex system of man-made canals and the wading birds manage to do quite well by hunting the aquatic life in those bodies of water. In fact, there is a breeding population of Black-crowned Night Herons in the farmlands.

I don’t often post images of birds flying against a clear blue sky. I find this background normally to be boring. But I think it works here. There’s an almost ethereal quality to the heron, with its nearly pure-white wings and abdomen, suspended against a translucent sky.

I consider myself fortunate to have gotten these images. When I saw the heron it was perched on the ground, adjacent to an irrigation canal. It took flight as I began to photograph it. Typically, when birds leave the scene as I approach, they fly away from me. This heron decided to fly parallel to me and so I was able to track it in flight and obtain these images.

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens + Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 800, f5.6 @ 1/2500, +1 2/3 stops exposure compensation.

One Reply to “Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight”

  1. […] Black-crowned Night Heron in Flight — Sonoran Images […]

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