From Xplor for Kids
June 2011 Issue

Photos With Nop and Dave: When Breakfast Bites Back

Publish Date

Jun 01, 2011

To painters and photographers, a portrait is an image that depicts the face and upper body of a person or animal. Its purpose is to show what the critter in question looks like. Of course, this photo of a yellow-crowned night-heron satisfies the definition. But if you call it a portrait, photographer Noppadol Paothong might want a word with you.

“I try not to make just portraits,” Nop says. “I try to capture a glimpse of an animal’s life—where it lives, what it eats, how it survives.”

Despite its name, yellow-crowned night-herons are active day and night. Yet, that doesn’t make these shy little birds easy to find. Nop got lucky when he spotted one as it waded through a marsh beside the Mississippi River. He watched the heron plunge its head into the water and come up with a crayfish. While the bird battled the cranky crustacean, Nop bellycrawled through marsh muck to get close enough for a shot.

“I like how this shows a moment between predator and prey,” Nop says. “The crayfish has a pincer up, and he’s going to fight. But you know the heron’s going to eat him for breakfast.”

How’s that for a glimpse into the life of a shy bird?

See more cool photos at Yellow-crowned night-heron

Also in this issue

You Discover

School’s out, and the best way to beat summer boredom is to get outside. With creeks to seek, baby animals to watch and fireflies to catch, there’s plenty to do in June and July. Here are eight more things you can discover.

Wild Jobs: Bat Counter Shelly Colatskie

Shelly Colatskie sheds light on creatures that live in darkness.

My Outdoor Adventure

Amber’s headlamp shone on a big bullfrog floating in the dark marsh water. With a quick jab, she caught the frog with her gaff.

Take a Hike!

Hiking promises adventure—or at least something new to see—around every bend. Before you strike off for a walk in the woods, check your trail-trekking know-how by following Mari and Amy on a virtual hike. Ready? Let's go.

Nature's Exclamation Points

Some butterflies, with their dazzling colors and intricate patterns, seem to exclaim, “Summer is here!” Others lie hidden, perfectly camouflaged on leaves and bark, and reward only careful observers. But butterflies don’t just win cool points for color. They are downright incredible.

Xplor More: Catch a Crayfish

Have you caught a crayfish or has the crayfish caught you?

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White
Kipp Woods

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