Just down the road from me and in the shadows of Philadelphia is the Palmyra Cove Nature Park. Each year the Park hosts an event called Burlington Bird Quest, the object of which is to see the most birds in the county, Burlington, before noon on a specific Saturday in May. And this yellow-crowned night-heron was the star of the day.
I participated on a team, captained by my friend Kristina, who is a naturalist at the Park. While the rules allow for wandering all about the county in search of birds, our team stays within the boundaries of the Park.
Two years ago we won it all. Alas, not this year though.
We had a respectable total, but we missed this guy. Perhaps because we didn't expect to see one. No one expected to see one in the Park, or maybe even in the county. This was the first recorded visit of this species to the Park; its not even on the Park checklist. And it is only the fourth or fifth record of the species in the county, which is quite surprising to me.
After crowning the winners at lunch, Kristina and I headed out to find this bird. She spotted it and it let me get very close, ignoring me as I shot away.
It pays to use the good camera. And the big lens.