The Breakfast of Champions

I love to kayak, and one of my favorite times to hit the water is just before sunrise. In the summer it’s much cooler, and then there’s all the cool things you would never see at any other time of day… like a feeding Yellow-crowned Night Heron!

Only a few hundred feet from my front door is the Halifax River, it’s a salt water, tidal river that separates the mainland from beach side. This strip of land is commonly called the Peninsula, but in reality it is a very long island, connected to the mainland only by man-made bridges. The Halifax runs for almost 50 miles from Ponce Inlet to Matanzas Inlet, and is dotted along the way by small islands, oyster beds and mangrove forests.

One lucky morning I was paddling from the Port Orange Causeway Park about 15 minutes before the sun came up. As I was tooling around the oyster beds and mangroves I spotted the Yellow-crowned Night Heron pictured above. Contrary to how the photos look, it was quite dark and I am impressed with how well my Kodak P850 handled not only the lack of light, but also that I was zoomed in at about 12x and shooting from a kayak… which if you’ve ever tried to photograph from a small boat you’ll understand why.

As I sat and watched, this little guy happened to spot a crab and invited it as his main course for breakfast. Here are some additional shots…

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