Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons

I was going through old hard drives and found this series of images from 10 years ago of a pair of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons that were nesting on a busy side street leading into a park and baseball fields in Northern NJ. It seemed like a strange place for their nest since there were woods and a pond just a couple of hundred feet down the road, but they chose a busy street section. I followed them photographically (from a far distance with a 400mm Canon DO f/4 lens and the Sigma 300-800mm f/5.6 lens @800mm and 1.4X & 2x Telconverters) for their nest building and raising the young. The images featured here were when they were first building their nest and displaying near the nest. The featured image was shot with a 400mm f/4 Canon DO lens & 2X teleconverter with fill flash before sunrise with a Better Beamer flash extender.


Early morning, 400mm f/4 DO with 2X Teleconverter @ 800mm, Fill Flash with Better Beamer


400mm f/4 DO with 1.4X Teleconverter – 560mm


400mm f/4 DO with 1.4X Teleconverter – 560mm


Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Displaying – 560mm

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Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Early AM @ 800mm


Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron @ 800mm


Yellow-Crowned Night Heron Displaying @ 560mm


800mm @ 8 PM


Early Evening – @ 560mm


Early Evening  @ 400mm f/4 DO w/2x Teleconverter – f/10 1/250 – Displaying


Early Evening – 400mm f/4 DO w/2x Teleconverter – f/10 1/250


Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Displaying

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I had made a pdf e-book on the nest building and the Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron family. This is back cover


Black-Crowned & Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons At The Audubon Swamp Garden.

On our way to Florida we stopped at one of our favorite places, the Magnolia Plantation and the Audubon Swamp Garden, which is attached to Magnolia Plantation. Years and years ago we stopped here and that started my interest in photographing birds. Audubon Swamp Garden is a 60-acre cypress and tupelo tree swamp on the grounds of Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. The featured image is a Black-Crowned Night-Heron in a distant tree.


The two images below are a Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.






Yellow-Crowned Night-Herons At Magnolia Gardens

On our way down to Florida, we stopped at Magnolia Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina. One of our favorite places to walk around and see what we can find to photograph. The flowers were a little past prime but it was still fun to walk through. They have quite a few Peacocks roaming through the Gardens making quite a bit of noise as they are squawking away as they roam. They seem very tolerant of people though. Attached to the Plantation is an Audubon Swamp Garden with trails to walk through. It is an interesting place to photograph and you never know what you will find to photograph. Here is a series of this Yellow-crowned Night-heron we saw along the way.


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron @ 600mm



Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron Hanging Out In The Shade

I was walking down one of the paths early in the morning at the J.N. Ding Darling NWR. It was pretty dark on the sides of the path under the trees and mangroves. I heard Ibises moving in the lower branches of trees and in the mangroves but were mostly hidden by branches. Plus it was extremely dark to get a photo. Then I noticed this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron out in the open, standing under the branches. It was still very dark because the branches were blocking the rising sunlight. The Heron did not seem to be bothered and did not move, so I took a few shots and moved on. It was so dark where the Heron was, my shutter speed was very very slow, so I shot a series of bursts and purposely underexposed to get my shutter speed up. I did not want to raise my ISO, because the Canon camera I was using gets more “noise” at higher ISO’s. It was easier to work on sharpness later. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter giving me f/5.6 wide open.  I have more success with having less noise from not using a high ISO, and under exposing a little and then brightening my image in Photoshop. Then adding a “high” pass sharpening technique in Photoshop and blending it in.


Immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron Walk By

This Immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron just walked by right in front of me. Usually they are quite skiddish and do not stay out in the open in front of you, so I was surprised it just was walking along the shoreline. I also find it interesting that immature Yellow-crowns have a black beak and immature Black-crowned Night-Herons have a yellowish beak. Here in New Jersey they are rare, so it is fun to find so many in Florida.

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Yellow-crowned Night-heron Taking a Stroll
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 400mm DO IS f/4, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, -0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 800

Yellow-crowned Night-heron

I found this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the shade on the roots of Mangrove trees. It did not seem to be bothered by my presence so I was able to get a few shots and then moved on so I did not bother the heron. Because it was sitting in the shade I used a -1 exposure compensation with aperture priority to get a proper exposure for the light colored bird in the dark shade.  I also used ISO 1250 because I was handholding the camera and wanted a higher shutter speed. Even though it is a stabilized lens, with a 1.4X teleconverter, I wanted the higher shutter speed since the 400mm, with the 1.4X teleconverter and the 1.3X crop factor equals an effective focal length of 728mm.

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