While enroute to the dock the other day I spooked a familiar bird we call George. We have seen one particular Yellow-crowned Night Heron on our dock since shortly after building it. One day my Editor saw George circling something on the dock in a wary dance. A closer look through the binocular revealed the thing of interest was a copperhead snake. I dispatched the snake and George has been sort of beholding to me every since and does not mind my presence.
The Yellow-crowned (and Black-crowned) Night Herons are nocturnal feeders but can be seen in the mornings and early evenings searching for crabs and other crustaceans and fish. They grab them with their beaks, and shake them and swallow them whole most of the time. Although they are found in Florida year round George and some of the night herons near here usually go further south in the winter months. I have just begun to see the night herons in the area again only this past week. The Yellow-crowned Night Heron adults have a yellowish almost white stripe on the top of their head with long plumes on the end. The red eyes have a distinct white stripe under the eye with black head feathers. Immature birds are brown and streaked with yellowish eyes and legs. George has a penchant for the small fiddler crabs found at low tide. I caught him peeking up over the bank the other day and surprised him with a photo opportunity. Later that evening I found him in the outgoing tidal stream. He was unconcerned with my presence and soon I had a great sunset photograph of him standing in the mud about 10 feet from the dock. The next morning he flew up on the perch the Tricolored Heron usually lands on and did some morning poses for me before flying off and giving me some great wing shot opportunities. George loves to have his photo taken I think. Actually there is a “Georgette” with him and I find it hard to tell the difference. They are roosting in my cousins tree next door now during the day. You will probably see a lot of George pictures in the coming months. Some of the winter birds are becoming more scarce on the Broward. There are fewer pelicans and ducks each passing week. Next week I am going to visit the St Augustine Alligator farm bird rookery. Hope we have a good day there.
Familiar faces bring smiles to my mind. Some are no longer here. Some are just far away. All it takes though is a thought and there they are again. Stop and think today about some old (or young) familiar faces you know. Next thing you know you will have a big smile on your face. Be Blessed..Harry