Wednesday, 19 December 2012

An afternoon at The Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge

I arrived at about 5pm.  My goal was to see and hopefully photograph a Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax but I got more than that.  On arrival I went straight to the location where the Herons hideaway during the day, hoping to get a glance of them emerging from the thick leaves of the trees to the south of the refuge, but with no luck. I walked around to the other ponds and there was a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret in one of the ponds to the west with a number of Cattle and Snowy Egrets in the north pond.  I also saw Common Moorhens, Little Blue Herons, Grey Kingbirds and watched a pair of Peregrine Falcons hunting in the distance, which was a joy to see.  A swallow like bird flew by, then I noticed another, before I knew it I was surrounded with a large flock of what deduce from the size and color to be Barn Swallows “Hirundo rustica”.  Some were swooping down to the surface of the west pond to take water and like that, they were all gone.  Mr. Burke, project manager at the refuge confirmed that my identification of the Barn Swallow was correct and explained to me that sometimes birds just pass through, stopping only for food and water and then continue on their migration route, as was the case with this flock.  We had a wide ranging conversation on birds, birding and conservation as it grew dark.  Then, there was the unmistaken call of the Black Crowned Night Heron quark!!  and there it was the bird I came to see. It was now dark outside about 6:15pm but I could still see its silhouette.  It is bigger than the Green Heron.  One flew right over my head, what a wonderful bird, this nocturnal hunter.  I will have to go back and hopefully I will be able to get a photograph of this beautiful bird of the night.  Happily, I said goodnight to Mr. Burke and was on my way.  Good conversation, good birding, for sure there will be a part 2 stay tune.
Click here for Google Map to WSR
Below is a chart with the birds I saw and some Photographs:

            Scientific Names
Great Egret
Ardea heroddias
Great Blue Heron
Ardea alba
Common Moorhen/Gallinule
Gallinula galeata
Snowy Egrets
Egretta thula
Cattle Egrets
Bubulcus ibis
Green Heron
Little Blue Heron
Egretta caerulea
Peregrine Falcon
Falco peregrinus
Barn Swallows
Hirundo rustica