Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach, California --------------

One of the best bird encounters I had in the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve last Sunday was the presence of some Black-crowned Night-Herons. I have seen and photographed them only once in the Green Island Wetlands here in the Mississippi River Valley. Some other photographers told me that they had seen lately even the Golden-crowned Night-Heron, who is there only occasionally during migration. My luck didn’t stretch out that far but I was very happy seeing the black-crowned. It was already close to mid day when these shots were made and I came back later in hope for softer light, but the herons were gone.

Sometimes we have to compromise, especially if the time to work with a particular species is limited. The background was really critical. The location of these dead trees, where the herons had perched, was near the border of the preserve, just in front of a residential area. Houses are never a great background for wildlife photography but in my second picture I couldn’t hide the fact. Usually I try to zoom with my feet and move around for a better background but more dead trees and other obstructions really limited my chances. Well, I’m still happy…