Re: LNRP - Heron/Bittern fledges
The really small size of those fledges leads me to believe that they are Least Bitterns and not Green Herons, even though like you say there are both Green Herons and Least Bittern adults nearby. If you look at the fledges from the side, they show the buffy-colored wing coverts that is a really strong field mark for Least Bittern. In fact, take away the fuzzy heads and remnant downy feathers on the birds, and they strongly resemble adult Least Bitterns (Darkish cap, dark back, small size, buffy wing coverts, etc.) Interestingly, the fledges show a yellow green lore (bare skin) that sticks out on Green Heron adults (to me) - but Least Bitterns also show that lore color, it just does not "pop" out on the bitterns so much.
--- In OrangeCountyBirding@yahoogroups.com, "naturegirlaol" <naturegirlaol@...> wrote:
> The fledglings we saw at Laguna Niguel Regional Park a few days ago, which someone told me were probably green herons, I realized after posting were probably least bitterns. (That means that on July 7 we saw 8-9 least bitterns in various places at the lake.) We went back Sunday and saw only 2 of the fledglings were left. Robert McNab apparently saw the same ones, based on his post, which also helped confirm their identity.
> A good friend is very involved at LNRP and has heard that the new fishing concessionaire may be cutting down a lot of the reeds around the lake ... She has tried to alert the rangers about birds nesting in the reeds to prevent this from happening. If you see this type of activity there, please say something to the rangers about how destructive this is. Last summer there was a big die-off of waterfowl after reeds were sprayed with herbicide and the lake's aerators were left off for many days ... hopefully something like that won't happen again.
> Joan & Brett Rubin
> Mission Viejo