Readers’ wildlife photos

November 26, 2020 • 8:15 am

Besides his duck and faux-duck photos, John Avise has sent us a series called “Avian Reflections”. His notes and IDs are indented:

I love to photograph waterbirds on still days when the water’s surface is so glassy that I can capture the bird and its reflection in one picture (thereby giving “two views for the price of one”).  Later, I like to reflect on when and where I took each such artistic picture.  So, this brief introduction also reflects my enjoyment of reflection-photos, each of which was taken near my home in Southern California.

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana):

Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger):

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus):

Bonaparte’s Gull (Larus philadelphia):

Brant (Branta bernicla):

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola):

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus):

Great Egret (Ardea alba):

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus):

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps):

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus):

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis):

Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides):

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis):

Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis):

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) flock:

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus):

Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca):

Green Heron (Butorides virescens):

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula):

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia):


24 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I love the photos, as usual, but this time I wanted to comment on the incredible ability of Dr. Avise to put together groups of photos around a single theme.

    Does this come down to an incredible memory, an incredible organizational structure of what must be a vast photo archive, or an incredible amount of time and patience spent combing through thousands of photos?

    I always love these bird photos!

    1. Thank you so much. I suppose it’s a bit of all these explanations: I do have an archive of tens of thousands of avian photos, arranged by taxonomic family and species; I somehow seem able to remember where and when each photo was taken; and I do spend considerable time putting a themed batch together. One of the hardest parts is to think of a suitable and coherent theme to begin with!

  2. [ vocalization expressing extraordinary amazement – possibly making use of at least one “swear” word ]

    powerful, elegant set!

  3. Lovely photos of water birds. Thank you.

    This morning I took a live look at Botany Pond. Sadly devoid of ducks. It left me feeling empty. Oh well, spring is but four months away.

    Happy Thanksgiving to PCC and everyone here.

    1. The ducks come and go at Botany Pond. This morning there were two hens and two drakes (paired up; I call it a “double date”) and this afternoon there were two more hens and a drake. They’re not “our” ducks, but either migratory or local fowl who drop by for a visit. I feed them when there are only a couple, and only once every two days.

  4. This was a fun batch of photos
    This was a fun batch of photos

    That was my attempt at a comment reflection…I don’t think there is html that can do it properly- I’d need photoshop for that.

  5. What gave you the idea of compiling these ‘reflections? Great photos.
    The bufflehead photo is enigmatic at first sight. Of course the reflection shows the bottom of the wings, but it is not immediately clear how the reflection works. The rest of the bird appears so identical to its reflection, inverted wings… 🙂

    1. I got the idea for compiling ‘reflections’ when I noticed the seeming enigmas in the Bufflehead and Snowy Egret photos. And I’m always on the lookout for interesting themes to submit to WEIT.

  6. A marvelous sequence!
    Remember —
    “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”? [Wallace Stevens, 1917].
    Here we perhaps have —
    “21 Ways of Looking at Bird Eyes”
    [or 42 counting the reflections!].
    Bird eyes seem to fall into at least 3 categories —
    a] Emphasized Eyes
    b] Disguised Eyes
    c] Just Ordinary Eyes
    Other categories are possible, & some of these 21 might fall into 2 seemingly opposite categories.
    Here are how I see these 21 in a cursory examination:
    Emphasized = 3,9,14,15.
    Disguised = 2,5,6,7,8,11,12,13,17,19,21.
    Ordinary = 1,4,10,16,18,20.
    Why might disguised eyes be important in an evolutionary or ecological sense? Disguised eyes [11 of the 21 in my count] could be important for a predator — in Nature, a circle really stands out, especially a circle around a dot like a pupil! If your eyes are emphasized, your prey will more likely see you. So, disguised eyes could be adaptive for a predator. And likewise, disguised eyes could be adaptive by helping prey species to hide.
    Emphasized eyes [only 4 in my count] could be important for mating.
    Has anybody studied these phenomena?
    How about us?
    Apes show no white sclera around the iris. But ours do, & that is a powerful element in our communication. I wonder — what did Australopithecine eyes look like? What about dogs’ eyes? And cats’?

    1. Apply for a grant!
      Human eyes are thought to be a way of following the gaze & seeing what another person is looking at…

  7. I’m surprised to see a picture of an Egyptian goose. I didn’t know we had them in SoCal. I’ve only seen them in Europe.

    1. Egyptian Geese, though native to Africa, have been introduced into Southern California. They are now common in many of our urban parks. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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