SUNDAY JULY 14, 2019 11:10 AM
The bird was spotted feeding below the spillway at Lake Ontelaunee.
WRITTEN BY BILL UHRICH
This type of sighting is always tantalizing.
Last Sunday at Lake Ontelaunee, Matt Spence, along with Dale Beitzel and Barton and Phil Smith, spotted an adult male black-crowned night-heron feeding below the spillway at Lake Ontelaunee.
The black-crowned night-heron is among my favorite birds, based on its rarity as a breeding bird in Pennsylvania, where it is listed as a threatened species, and the fact that at least one black-crowned night-heron nesting colony had been a part of the Berks scene for a century or more.
That nesting streak came to an end in the May 2014 hailstorm that obliterated the last nesting site in Wyomissing Hills.
Plus, this squat heron with its neck pulled in brings to mind an avian version of the "Star Wars'" R2-D2 character, always eliciting a smile.
Birders have been looking for the reassembly of that colony in Berks ever since, to no avail.
The closest nesting colony to us is one in Ephrata that's been active for close to a decade.
Whether any Berks refugees from Wyomissing were absorbed into that colony is a matter of speculation.
Patti Barber, the threatened-and-endangered-species biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, noted that in 2018, four black-crowned nesting colonies were reported in the state.
Now, what makes the sighting at Ontelaunee so juicy is its timing.
It's right on the cusp.