first saw these two birds at Heron Rock a little before dawn (photo below). The bird on the left is not on the big rock, itself — which seems able to support only one bird at a time — but on a small rock just beyond. It appears to be immature, that is, just a few months old. The full name of these stocky, wide-ranging migrants is Black-crowned Night-Heron.
The magic hour before dawn yields its secrets once again. Rise early, and see without being seen; that’s my proven formula for pre-dawn photography.
I took a long series of photos, over ten minutes, the one above being the last, shot at 5:09 am. Why it should be darker than the earlier one at the right, taken at 5:02, I’m not sure. The birds in the top photo had moved a little further away, and the angle of view was different. The cloud cover may have changed, as well. These two photos are the best of the series, all the others being a bit fuzzy or repetitive.
June 20, 2012, the day of these photos, was also the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year for us. Technically, sunrise was at 5:07 am in the Boston area, but the sun breaks over the ridge on the eastern shore of the pond some minutes later.