Night heron up close

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When I do wildlife photography in Florida I see a wide variety of wading birds, but its seldom when I can get this close.

I was walking through Six Mile Cypress Slough in Fort Myers, Fla., one February morning when I came across this Yellow-crowned Night Heron, the subject of my photo of the week, perched in bright sunlight on a limb about 15 feet off the boardwalk. I assumed it would fly off as I approached. Instead, it ignored me and continued to stare straight ahead.

I raised my camera with the long, imposing 600-millimeter lens attached and pointed it at the heron, assuming that would startle it. But the heron still ignored me.

So I grabbed a few shots.

I like how the photo shows detail in the deep orange eye, the creamy yellow crown and head plume and the feathers on the body. I also like how the bird is isolated against the blurred background. The blurring is caused by the bird being closer to the camera than it was to background objects.

Yellow-crowned Night Herons are a bit misnamed. They do hunt for food at night, but they also are active during the day. This behavior is different from the similar Black-crowned Night Heron, which forages at dusk and at night and sleeps during the day.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Date/time: Feb. 3, 2017, 10:29 a.m.  
Location: 26°34'17.79" N 81°49'25.962" W (Show in Google Maps)  
Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II  
Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 
Aperture: f/5.6  
Shutter: 1/1000th second
ISO: 320