Readers’ wildlife photos

February 25, 2022 • 9:00 am

This may be the final posting of wildlife photos until I return from Antarctica (assuming I test negative for covid-19 today). The contributor is ecologist Susan Harrison from UC Davis, a place I know well since I did my postdoc there. And the birds are along the creek that flows through campus, Putah Creek. Susan’s captions and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge her photos by clicking on them.

Early fall at the local creek

Birds were active on mid-September mornings at our local creek, and a bridge made a good vantage point for watching them.

Juvenile Hooded Orioles chased each other through the alders.

Hooded Orioles, Icterus cucullatus:

A White-breasted Nuthatch and a California Towhee darted between bridge and pavement.  They appeared to be foraging on grain from the passing farm trucks.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis:

California Towhee, Melozone crissalis:

Cedar Waxwings and Orange-crowned Warblers fed on feral wine grapes dangling from a Eucalyptus.

Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum:

A magpie sat in a dead California walnut tree (Juglans californica).  Magpies will drop walnuts on the pavement and eat them after cars crush them. The trees have recently been decimated by an introduced fungus (Geosmithia morbida).

Yellow-billed Magpie, Pica nuttalli:

Also watching from the top of a dead walnut was a Red-Shouldered Hawk.

Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus:

Along the nearby streambank, a Cooper’s Hawk hunted songbirds, and a Great Horned Owl took its daytime rest.

Cooper’s Hawk, Accipiter cooperii:

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus:

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. This helps immensely for distinguishing red-shouldered from Cooper’s hawks… as well as being s delightful collection…

    BTW is the name Nutall derived from OR the reason for the name Pica nuttalli?

  2. Wonderful variety of birds right there on (or near) the campus.
    I enjoy seeing the different species that are common in other places of the country. I was especially interested in the magpie with the startling yellow on the face and beak. It truly arrested my eyes which are accustomed to seeing only the sleek formally-attired black-billed variety in my yard. Thanks for sharing your photos.
    I am going to miss this feature while our host is in Antarctica!

  3. Unusual to see a nuthatch feeding on the ground. The pair that visit my feeders never touch the fallen seed (bluejays are great onanists), and by the same token the juncos will stay down with the empty sunflower husks and ignore the full feeders just over their heads. They’ll all have to manage on their own next winter as we move out next month, just when a pair of bobcats have moved into the woods besides the house! To compensate, our new house has otters in the pond; I saw one with his head sticking up from a hole in the ice watching me carrying boxes of books into the house. Very cute!

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