Readers’ wildlife photos

March 20, 2018 • 7:30 am

Reader Joe Dickinson sent some bird photos (and one reptile snap); his captions are indented.

Here are the best of my non-goose  photos from the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.   (Autocorrect tried to make that “sacrament”, not appropriate for this site.) This is, I believe, my first ever photo of an American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus).

This great egret (Ardea alba) stared intently into this shrub without moving for several minutes.  I suspect he heard something rustling around in there.  Approaching traffic forced us to move on before he did anything.

 I did not know what these were when I snapped the picture, but consultation with my Sibley Guide convinces me that they are white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi).  (Try to type that without autocorrect insisting on “chili”.)  I’m surprised to see them flying in a flock of over twenty (some stragglers cropped out of the finished photo) because we saw them wading mostly solo and never more than two or three together.

I did not get a good shot of a wading ibis on this trip, so here is one from a couple of years ago.

Speaking of flocks, I initially took these to be starlings since I am used to seeing them in large flocks, but actually they are red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus).

Here is a blackbird close up.  It seemed a bit early to me (late January), but some males seemed to be at least tentatively making territorial displays.

This bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) kindly stayed put while I maneuvered my car to get a clear shot.  (Refuge rules require visitors to remain in their vehicles at all times.)

The most common raptors on the refuge were the northern harrier and the red-tailed hawk, both most easily identified in flight, at least for me, so I struggled with identifying this perched bird before settling on juvenile redtailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).  I would be happy to be corrected by one of your many more competent readers.

Not a great photograph, but I need to share what for me was a remarkable concentration of black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax).  I count over forty in this frame, and this is about one fourth of the contiguous strip of trees and shrubs that they occupied.  They are sufficiently reliable that the printed map of the refuge actually shows where to find them.

One non-avian species:  I’m pretty sure they are northwestern pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata).

There were plenty of ducks, mostly duplicating the species featured in a previous submission from the Merced NWR, but I think these ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris) are different.

I did send northern pintails (Anas acuta) previously, but I think this is a particularly handsome male.

The end.


13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Those are simply amazing! Every one. My favorite is the close up on the ibis, with its iridescent feathers in what looks like the ‘magic hour’ of perfect light.

  2. So Google, riddle me this! Why, when one types “white-faced ibis”, does auto-correct not understand that “Plegadis chihi” is correct? Perhaps it should even offer to fill it in.

    And, of course, I address this to all companies that make such software, not just Google. Sometimes I wonder if they are holding back this technology on purpose. Perhaps it is to save money on the computational expense to do this as auto-correct is usually a service that is free to consumers.

  3. I think that those turtles are, in fact, Actinemys marmorata. There isn’t a lot else that they could be on the West Coast.

    What a nice picture.

  4. Great shots of some very cool birds! What an amazing concentration of night herons. I’ve seen maybe 20 at one time but nothing like you experienced.

    Congrats on the American Bittern shot–very nice capture of a very stealthy subject, IME. Love the pintail shot and surprise “ending.” 😀

    (And I concur you have an immature red-tailed.)

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