Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron In Flight

Plus an early camping trip report from Montana and Idaho.


1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Flight shots of Black-crowned Night Herons are an unusual commodity in my portfolio but I was able to snap this one off about a year ago at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. I had been photographing other birds on the water when this juvenile flew past unexpectedly.

All I had time to do was lift my lens for a couple of grab shots so my settings aren’t ideal, the bird is slightly past me and the left wing primaries are in shadow but the bird is sharp and it’s a BCNH in flight so I’m happy to have it.


As I write this I’m sitting in the 4 AM darkness in my camping trailer at our favorite camping spot in the back country near the Montana/Idaho border. Yesterday afternoon and evening we spent several hours cruising for birds but the skies were turbulent and stormy and the light was mediocre at best so I don’t have much to show for my efforts – so far.

But I am encouraged! We spotted a larger number and a greater variety of raptors than we’ve seen in the area for several years. It’s been a wet spring so the grasses and other vegetation are thick, tall and still green and ground squirrels are everywhere so there should be plenty of raptor food available.

The down side is that in this remote country the raptors are truly wild and extremely skittish so they’re difficult to approach.

We’ll see how it goes. As I always say, “bird photography ain’t easy”.


14 comments to Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron In Flight

  • Stephen Clayson


    Beautiful shot and great light.


  • Joanne OBrien

    Gorgeous bird! And Camping sound great. I haven’t done it for years… sounds like something I should revisit. you guys have a great trip and come back with lots of photo trophys!

  • Enjoy your cool and bird filled respite. As we will the reports in the fullness of time.

  • Marina schultz

    Shutter speed 5,000 how?? I don’t get it ? I have never been able to shoot over 2,000 regardless of ISO

  • Marty K

    As I always say, “bird photography ain’t easy”. — Nothing that’s worthwhile ever is. 🙂 Enjoy being out in the wilderness with the birds!

  • Laura Culley

    One of the many things I love about your blog is the diversity of cool birds(raptors/critters). Just a sheer delight!
    And just YIPPETY! I’ll look forward to your photographic adventures out in the truly WILD country! ENJOY the serenity and the challenges 🙂

  • Chris Sanborn

    NCBHs are so cool … and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one in flight, they’re always standing in or very near water when I see them, looking hungry. So glad to hear the raptor report … more is always better, so long as there is food to accommodate them all. Hoping they (and the weather) will cooperate with you!

  • Susan Stone

    I’m sure that shooting conditions will get better. And no matter how they are, it has to be nice to be out in the wilderness. Enjoy your trip!

  • Barby

    Wow neat pic! Enjoy your new scenery Ron, and have a restful fun trip! 🙂

  • Those unplanned shots are more exciting and usually less than perfect, I know…as you said, “bird photography ain’t easy.” Good luck in Montana.

  • Patty Chadwick

    You were so lucky to get that shot!!! The best part must be just being out of the city and in the mountains, breathing, feeling, smelling mountain air and NOT seeing/hearing people; seeing, hearing and smelling traffic…being free to move your “home” wherever, whenever you want…looking out your window,stepping out your door…to big skies, open wilderness, and quiet beauty…Soak it up!!! Luxuriate!!!

  • Robert (RJ) Davis

    That’s right! Relax. Plug-in to the cooler climes. Awesome shot!

  • Judy Gusick

    Nice photo even if not ideal. 🙂 Hope you have good luck with the raptors and the weather cooperates for you. 105 Sat. and 100 here yesterday. 🙁