Sunday slide 46

juvenile yellow-crowned night heron Nyctanassa violacea hunting in Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Yeah, I kind of slipped in a twofer again. Sue me.

Same location and date as the previous post, only minutes apart. At a small clearing along the boardwalk in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a juvenile yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) was among the dozens of birds enthusiastically fishing among the water plants. Yes, there’s water down there under all those leaves, and a whole lot of fish too. At least seven different species of waders were busy there that day, almost completely oblivious to the cluster of people on the handrails nearby gawping at them.

If you compare this one to the previous post, you’ll see the radical difference in juvenile and adult coloration for this species, which is about the size of a crow but with longer legs and a more extendable neck. I liked this shot for the mimicked position from the little blue heron in the background, and how it illustrates the thickness of the water plants. A wood stork close by demonstrated that the water itself was not even a half-meter in depth, and I’d already seen for myself that it was surprisingly clear – as flat as Florida is, you’d expect such a swamp to be murky and perhaps even stagnant, but there’s a significant flow from Lake Okeechobee so it’s fresher than imagined. The Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit, even if it seems a little remote from other areas of interest – you might see anything there.

A small aside: When doing the previous post, I double-checked the scientific names of the species, having been burned before. Yep, it’s been changed since I last mentioned it, having previously been Nyctcorax violacea, and now I have to change it on at least one webpage in the main gallery. This kind of stuff happens a lot.