Narrative of Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
(Transcribed by M.G. Moody)
1/2 mile N. of Burriston Pond, Juab Co. Utah
While eating lunch observed a medium sized heron fly by. After if had
passed Will Richards commented that it was sure grey underneath. At the
same same time I was thinking that I couldn't see any black on the back.
After considering the possibility of a yellow-crowned night heron, we walked
along the creek south to Burriston Bonds. We flushed 4-immature and 2
adult black crowned night herons. We gave up after searching for ~ 1 hr.
and returned to our survey site.
Will and I walked just north of area where we had been eating lunch to observe springs we were going to map. We flushed a heron from low along the waters edge approx. 25 feet ahead of us. We both simultaneously shouted, "That's it." The pale-yellowish head and overall grey color were what impressed me, while Will commented on the white check patch. We did not see the heron leave the south end of the patch of Russian Olive we were in so we circled to the south and slowly worked our way North along the stream. I spotted the heron on a dead log just as it jumped and again was impressed by the pale crown. The heron flew up and landed in a tree ~100 yards north.
We circled back to our equipment and could see the heron through the surveyor scope at ~75 yards. (see picture). Sketched picture and listed off characteristics to each other: Pale crown, yellowish at forehead and fading to white going from forehead to streamers, bill-dark, white cheek patch bordered by black, black extending unbroken under chin ~1-2 inches wide, legs appeared a pale orangish-pink, entire belly, breast and side on neck uniform grey, wings and back grey and stripey.
Will and I moved in close to ~25 yards. All characteristics including red eye were evident through 8x40 Nikons. The heron stretched his neck and looked at us warily at this range. We backed off and returned to survey scope. We watched the heron until ~ 3:15 pm, not wanting to leave while the heron was still there in plain sight. Left to go find someone to come see the heron at ~3:15 pm.
Darren L. Shirley (signature)