When Bob and I visited San Blas on the Pacific coast of Mexico, our objective was to see some of the endemic bird species as well as others that winter in that southern locale. We had seen a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron in our hometown of Toronto a couple of years earlier. As we cruised through the mangrove jungle on our guided tour, closeup views of these rather elegant birds were fairly frequent.
Venturing into the mangrove swamps in search of wildlife was exciting. The waterway through the swamp was at times hemmed in on both sides by dense vegetation and mangrove roots making it difficult to spot birds,
but by keeping a keen look out both in the foliage and on the shadowed bank, it was possible to find many different species such as this Yellow-crowned Night Heron in the center of the photo. These herons forage for food day and night, so this individual was probably on the hunt for some crustacean or a turtle to fulfill its appetite.
Coastal populations of these birds prefer the habitat provided by mangrove swamps, whereas the individual that was summering in Toronto was found at a lakeside pond.
It was refreshing to find that the channel through the mangroves later opened up and revealed a pleasing array of vegetation beautifully lit by late afternoon sunshine.
That is where we found another Yellow-crowned Night Heron. It was impossible to miss the bird perched as it was in full view of our boat’s occupants, and the heron seemed to be dozing. It is customary for birds of this species to be more solitary than some others.
Our forward direction took the boat right beneath the very branch that hung out over the sluggish water, and as our motor rhythmically chugged its way along, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron came suddenly to full attention.
I was so happy that the soft light of the golden hour showed this Yellow-crowned Night Heron to best advantage. The bird quickly lost interest in our presence as we motored on towards the mid-point of our excursion. With sightings like this, our afternoon was a total success.