Saturday, September 8, 2018

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Chula Vista

There are several regularly-occurring herons and egrets that are at the extreme northern edge of their range in San Diego. These include Little Blue Herons and Reddish Egrets, which are increasing, and Tricolored Herons, which have been decreasing in recent decades. It also includes Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.

There was a single resident Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the San Diego area from 1981-2001. And there were several records of individual visitors that showed up occasionally during this same period of time.

juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Chula Vista, California. September 2, 2018.
I'm not sure of the history between then and when I arrived in 2013, but in the past 5 years or so these stocky herons have nested at Sea World. This colony accounts for sightings at Mission Bay, San Diego River mouth, and Famosa Slough. Another smaller nesting site is in Imperial Beach accounting for sightings at the Tijuana River mouth and, perhaps, the south end of San Diego Bay.

[eBird records of Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2013-2018 in San Diego County]

There was a one-year-old bird in July 2018 here at Bayfront Park (known to birders as the "J Street Marina"). Otherwise, this juvenile is the only other reported Yellow-crowned Night-Heron from this well-birded site in the middle east side of San Diego Bay. I wonder which local breeding site it came from?

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