While out for a drive…

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black-crowned night heron

A Heron, a Hawk, and the Missing Fish

 

black-crowned-night-heron

A likely suspect!

This past Saturday morning was unusually cool here at Sarge’s Cache Creek Ranch, and I had a lot of produce to pick. There is an abundance of tomatoes this year, and as I gathered the ripest ones from beneath the leaves I heard my friend Ranse crying out in horror. “Hey, what happened to my fish!?” A while back he had stocked the small cement pond with perhaps a dozen tiny little fish. A few of them had grown to significant size,that is about three or four inches.
Now, suddenly, they were gone! I said, ” The raccoons must have gotten them.” But as we looked about there were  no Raccoon signs whatsoever. It was definitely a mystery. Then as I began to return to my tomato picking, I heard a loud and slightly familiar call. I looked up and there was a Black-crowned Night Heron shooting through the air. His call was followed by another more familiar call; it was the scream of the Swainson’s Hawk that nests in the area. He was in hot pursuit of that heron, chasing him out of the area. I say that the mystery is solved! It was the Black-crowned Night Heron who must have been the culprit in this fish story.

Black Crowned Night Heron

There has been a black crowned night heron swimming around in my thoughts for a possible new painting. So last week I took a photo excursion to the Yolo wildlife area to see if I could get some new images. I didn’t have a lot of luck with new photos of the subject, but there was an abundance of other herons and egrets. There were great blue herons, snowy egrets, and great egrets. In some places they would be standing “toe to toe” along the muddy banks meditating intensely on the murky waters before them. Occasionally there would be a flash of movement; a beak stabbing into the water and emerging with a fish which would disappear in a couple of lunging gulps. I liked the idea of having lunch while fishing!

Black-crowned Night Heron

I spotted this guy in an English walnut tree out at Sarge’s Cache creek ranch. There were two of them making quite a racket while a Swainson’s hawk was attempting to dive on them.

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