Saturday, December 7, 2019

Wish I Could Climb a Tree (a Retro-blog)

This blog is dedicated to a wonderful birder and photographer and friend Al Butler. Al passed away on November 1, 2019. He was one of the first photographers that I met at the San Elijo Lagoon when I started birding. He made every day at the lagoon a fun day and encouraged me as I got into bigger better cameras and lens. Here is a retro-blog of one of the many fun days birding at the lagoon with Al Butler. Thank you Al for all the great birding days at the lagoon. You will be dearly missed.


Retro-blog... Wish I Could Climb a Tree
I got an early start today to the lagoon while the sky was still slightly gray and the temperature was still cool. I was going to get a few more photos of the two juvenile Green Herons before they leave the duck pond area to explore the rest of their world. Al Butler had sent a beautiful photo yesterday of a juvenile Green Heron with small prey in his beak! It was proof that they are now foraging for themselves! What a great ending to our "nest watch" and all the days we all worried for these two awesome youngsters.

Arriving at the duck pond, I was delighted to see Al Butler already there looking for the Green Herons. He had spotted one on a branch and also had seen a juvenile Clapper Rail in the duck pond. I looked up at the branch and saw that there were now two juvenile Greens perched together. But all the plants and the cattail reeds were making a good clear shot impossible. I saw a tree that would be perfect if I could only climb it to get a better shot! But Al pointed his finger at me and said, "Jo, you better not climb that tree!"  LOL, come to find out that he got a super clear shot of the Green Heron juveniles because he climbed the tree! However he got quite scraped up and told me I better not blog about it. (Photo below of Al saying, "Do not climb that tree") So this blog was a way I could tease Al without telling anyone that he was the one that climbed the tree for the perfect clear shot! We all laughed about it and this is just one of the fun and happy times we all had with Al Butler.

If I could climb that tree, I could get a clear shot of the whole duck pond!!! But no, I did not climb that tree. So all I got was a shot of the two juvenile Green Herons with lots of reeds between my camera and the birds. But as you can see they are doing well.

I saw this adult Black-crowned Night-Heron taking a drink. I have to admit the water today was really stinky at the duck pond!   LOL... I guess the birds don't mind the smell!

Night-Herons hunt very early in the morning or very late in the evening. You can usually see them resting and sleeping during the day.

The juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron was nearby just relaxing.

A Snowy Egret came by and landed but didn't chase off the juvenile night heron like it usually does when the adult is not around. It took a drink of water and flew off. 

I decided to call it a day because the sky cleared and it got really hot and all the birds disappeared. They have gone into hiding in the shade

Thank you Al for your kindness and wisdom and a great sense of humor.


  1. And thank you Jo for a beautiful tribute to our "Ambassador" of the lagoon. It won't be the same without him. ~Eve

    1. I agree! He definitely was our "Ambassador" of the lagoon. He made everyone that visited the lagoon feel welcome and we all loved his great humor.