Black-crowned Night Herons


Painted Rock Road Rookery
July 2001 to Mar 2002 

Short visits to a heron rookery on the west side of the Paloma Ranch  
cumulative species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Rookery Pond 

Egret Babies

Anyone who has traveled west on I-8 to San Diego has passed through the Paloma Ranch, which encompasses much of the Citrus Valley just west of Gila Bend.  It's an oasis in the desert, and along its western boundary is a heron and cormorant rookery.  During the summer of 2001 all three species of egrets, cormorants, and Black-crowned Night Herons bred. 
In late May there was a "plague" of tarantula hawks, which were feasting on the mesquite flowers.

Tarantula Hawks

Double-crested Cormorant

Aside from egrets and herons, many other birds take advantage of the cover and the water.  Cliff Swallows come from the nearby overpass, grackles often roost in the trees, and last year a pair of Greater Roadrunners bred in the mesquite.

Great-tailed Grackles and Egret

Egret Rookery in the mesquite

Since this rookery is on the way to and from Luke Air Force Base, I often stop there on the way to my Reserves duty.  Last summer there were numerous bees and butterflies taking advantage of the weeds and flowers.


Immature Great Egrets

This photo was taken through the vegetation, giving a filtered effect.  The sharpest photos on this page were made using my digital camera and scope.  The pictures of the grackles, egrets, and the d-c cormorant were taken with a Canon zoom lens and then scanned from slides, yielding much less resolution.

Because of the extraordinary bird life, I was able to experiment with my digital photography here, and figured out some tricks that yield consistently recognizable photos (provided there is enough light).

The photo of the adult Black-crowned night heron on the right was taken at a shutter speed of 1/500 of a second to cut down on vibration.

The photo of the Snowy Egret was taken with my Canon camera, panning as the bird flew by.


Black-crowned Night Heron

Snowy Egret

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Wilson's Warblers can be thick during spring & fall migration.  And finally, here's a closing shot--not too difficult to ID this bird!     

Painted Rock Rookery, July 2001 - March 2002
# Species Name
1 Pied-Billed Grebe
2 Double-crested Cormorant
3 Great Egret
4 Green Heron
5 Great Blue Heron
6 Cattle Egret
7 Black-crowned Night Heron
8 Snowy Egret
9 White-faced Ibis
10 Ruddy Duck
11 Cinnamon Teal
12 Mallard
13 Northern Pintail
14 Northern Shoveler
15 American Coot
16 Killdeer
17 Greater Yellowlegs
18 Least Sandpiper
19 Long-Billed Dowitcher
20 Western Sandpiper
21 Turkey Vulture
22 Red-Tailed Hawk
23 Cooper's Hawk
24 Northern Harrier
25 Gambel's Quail
26 Rock Dove
27 Common Ground Dove
28 White-winged Dove
29 Mourning Dove
30 Greater Roadrunner
31 Great Horned Owl
32 Lesser Nighthawk
33 Costa's Hummingbird
34 Anna's Hummingbird
35 Belted Kingfisher
36 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
# Species Name
37 Northern Flicker
38 Gila Woodpecker
39 Black Phoebe
40 Say's Phoebe
41 Western Kingbird
42 Horned Lark
43 Rough-winged Swallow
44 Tree Swallow
45 Cliff Swallow
46 Barn Swallow
47 Common Raven
48 Verdin
49 Cactus Wren
50 Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher
51 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
52 Loggerhead Shrike
53 Northern Mockingbird
54 Crissal Thrasher
55 Phainopepla
56 European Starling
57 Common Yellowthroat
58 Lucy's Warbler
59 Orange-crowned Warbler
60 Yellow-rumped Warbler
61 Nashville Warbler
62 Wilson's Warbler
63 Western Meadowlark
64 Great-tailed Grackle
65 Red-Winged Blackbird
66 House Sparrow
67 House Finch
68 Lincoln's Sparrow
69 Black-Throated Sparrow
70 Song Sparrow
71 Brewer's Sparrow
72 Abert's Towhee
73 White-crowned Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler