An Exceedingly Rare Heron by the Lake: May 2021

We are used to seeing the Black-crowned Night Heron in Toronto during the warmer weather months:

Black-crowned Night Heron

Its southern cousin, the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, has been exciting birdwatchers at Col. Sam Smith Park for the past few days.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Yellow-crowned Night Herons breed in tropical and subtropical regions. Toronto is far from their normal habitat.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

According to the only information that I could find (from 1985), one was seen at Lake Erie in May 1954, another in 1964 and another in 1974. There is a previous Toronto record from August 1898. Birders at Col Sam remember one from 2014.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Yellow-crowned Night Heron with Ring-billed Gull
Yellow-crowned Night Heron with Ring-billed Gull
Yellow-crowned Night Heron with Ring-billed Gull
Yellow-crowned Night Heron with Ring-billed Gull

MYSTERY BIRD

I will identify it at the end of the post. (I love this comment: I love the mystery bird photos you post. I am scoring about 20%).

I was at Col. Sam Smith Park at dawn and spent two hours searching for Whimbrels. None for me so far. I wasn’t alone even at that hour.

Better luck tomorrow I hope.

Other birds:

European Starling (juvenile)
Mute Swan
Great Blue Heron
Red-winged Blackbird (male)
Great Blue Herons
Eastern Kingbird
Great Blue Herons
Double-crested Cormorants
Eastern Kingbird
European Starling (juvenile)
Ring-billed Gull
Eastern Kingbird
European Starlings (juvenile)
Ring-billed Gull
Tree Swallow
European Starling juvenile and parent
Ring-billed Gull
Double-crested Cormorants
Mourning Dove
Ring-billed Gull
Common Grackle
Song Sparrow
Ring-billed Gull
Song Sparrow
Blackpoll Warbler (male)
Ring-billed Gull
Yellow Warbler (male)
Blackpoll Warbler (male)
Yellow Warbler (male)
Spotted Sandpiper
Barn Swallow

MYSTERY BIRD

Olive-green above, yellowish below and two white wing bars identify this as a female Orchard Oriole.

Orchard Oriole (female)

MAILBOX

NATURE POETRY

Hard is his herte that loveth nought
In May, whan al this mirth is wrought.        – Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400)

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “An Exceedingly Rare Heron by the Lake: May 2021

  1. Ruth Calman

    I thought your mystery bird was a yellow bellied flycatcher based on Its bill and also head coloration meaning the orchard oriole female has a yellower head does it not?

    But I bow to your expertise

    Ruth

    Reply
  2. Lisa Volkov

    Wow! Such exciting photos! That “new” variety of Heron, that Heron and Gull! Amazing pictures!
    And of course, the other birds are wonderful, too. A female Orchard Oriole? Who would have thunk it? (Certainly not me–20% is doing really well, from my point of view!) And it’s really beautiful!
    And Andrew’s bit about the Coyote encounter–scary and fascinating! It’s a good thing he realized what was happening DURING the encounter (It seems).
    Thanks, Miles!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.