Black-crowned Night Heron
A real find for our little nature preserve. This is one that I spooked shortly after it fledged about 6-8 weeks ago. Although nearly full grown (1.7 feet tall, wingspan around 3 or 4 feet), it still is light brown in color and is hard to identify. When it becomes an adult, it will be mostly white except for a black head that continues to be black along its back.
It's nice to see this one eking out a living in this small park. These eat mostly aquatic animals like small fish, and aquatic invertebrates. Stevens Creek is a year-round creek controlled by a large earthen dam about two miles up stream from here, but it can go down to a trickle in the late summer. This bird is very healthy looking and quite stealth amongst the cottonwoods, oaks and sycamores.
The extra today is the feather from another aquatic bird called a White egret. Yet another bird that lives on small aquatic animals. This is an indicator of how healthy our little riparian habitat really is. It's amazing, especially when you look at the location map and see how this area is surrounded by residential development, not to mention the home of a sprawling Apple campus and supporting businesses. Maybe there is hope after all.