We had just arrived at Andrew Haydon Park and when I was approached by a woman who directed me towards an unusual but beautiful bird. It’s so nice when all you need is a camera around your neck and people tell you about all kinds of wonderful things that you might want to photograph. Not very far along the path I saw the bird. I took some pictures quickly in case it was going to leave any time soon. The light was beautiful that evening but of course this heron was backlit and sleeping with its eyes closed. I soon realised that he wasn’t going anywhere and he was just going to sleep.
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I was amazed at how close I was and his eyes were still shut. Soon there was a ruckus among the ducks and geese swimming around him and he opened his eyes, but quickly closed them again. I was soon joined by fellow photographers and they told me that the birds around him were his early warning system, as long as they were quiet, would sleep but as soon as they were disturbed he would open his eyes to check it out. I couldn’t stay to watch him sleep for who knows how long so I got what I could and then moved along with my family.
I think that this is a juvenile Night heron. Night herons stand still at the water’s edge, and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, and small mammals. So maybe this was what he was doing, but he looked like he was sleeping to me.