The first time I saw a Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) on the bank of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, I nearly passed out with excitement.
I’d never seen one before.
I thought I was looking at a very rare bird, but of course I later saw it was very common in the RBG, Melbourne Zoo and even, my current home location (just haven’t seen it here yet).
It’s a large, but comparatively dumpy, large-headed heron. It’s beak is large, deep and black. This heron has yellowish legs. The plumage is a distinctive dark cinnamon above with dark crown and white drooping crest in breeding season. The underparts are buff shading to white.
The juvenile is also distinctive with dark brown above and plentiful bold white spots. (It’s called the Rufous Night Heron on some web sites).
I think it is my favourite bird of all I’ve photographed (since I took up Photography as a hobby in 2010).
I managed to get some great shots up-close in the outdoor restaurant area at Melbourne Zoo’s Japanese Garden entrance.
It even beats my second favourite – the White-faced Heron.
Since I can’t get outdoors for a walk today, despite the superb cool weather and fluffy white clouds scattered across the vivid blue Summer sky, I decided to share some images from my archives.
Hope you enjoyed them 🙂