Readers’ wildlife photos

May 29, 2022 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, which means that John Avise supplies us with a fresh batch of bird photo. These continue his series of rare birds seen in southern California. John’s IDs and notes are indented, and you can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Rare-Bird Alert, Part 2

This week is the second of a three-part mini-series on hotline (rare or vagrant) birds that I have managed to photograph in Orange County, California.  Part 1 in the series was posted last week and Part 3 will follow next week.  Again, the photos are in a random order (much the way that new reports arrive on the birding hotline).

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), juvenile:

Pectoral Sandpiper (Caladris melanotos), juvenile:

Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicaria):

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), female:

Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), non-breeding plumage:

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum):

Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan), first-winter plumage:

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii):

Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica), female first winter plumage:

Buller’s Shearwater (Puffinus bulleri):

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola):

Calliope Hummingbird (Stellula calliope):

11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Ok, seems I made the first alert.

    If I study the bluebird color tones carefully, the bird appears to have a translucent body section with the blue sky behind it.

    Maybe too weird, so I get back to the beauty of the blue color ensemble.

  2. Can someone remind me – the rail evolution story from a while ago – which one was that – I’ll be a while looking through my files…

  3. John, could you help me with an ID?

    I have had a bird at my feeders for a couple of days that I can’t identify. It is the same size and shape as the Chestnut-sided Warbler above, with a similar pointy beak. It has a yellow breast, a dark head and dark eyes, and its back is gray mottled.

    I looked in Birds of New Mexico and RT Peterson Western Birds and didn’t see it in either.


  4. Linda, I’m sorry but I can’t identify your bird from your description. I’m sure it must be in RT Peterson, however, because that book is comprehensive. You might try Lesser Goldfinch (although it has a conical bill), because they are common at feeders.

    1. Thanks. I’ll go back and look again.

      I also have Audubon, but haven’t looked in there.

      I always start with Birds of NM because of the way it is organized. It is the easiest to find something; it goes by color, and within each color, from smallest to largest. But it doesn’t say anything about strays.


  5. Which of these birds is the most rare in your neck of the woods?
    Thanks for all the great photos in this series, looking forward to next week’s.

    1. All of these birds are very rare “in my neck of the woods”, but I might have to go with the Ruff because it is a vagrant from Eurasia, or perhaps the Virginia Rail because it is both rare and extremely secretive.

      1. Thanks. I’ve never heard of either of those birds, and the Virginia Rail is especially striking.

  6. I’ve been noticing new species that aren’t supposed to be here in NS. To see a cardinal was once nearly impossible, but now is a yearly event in some part of the province or other. Two years in a row we’ve been visited by a Steller’s sea eagle, which is very unusual. And this last week I have been watching a pair of blue gray gnatcatchers hunting over my pond. According to my bird book, they don’t come this far north, but it was published forty years ago and the world has warmed up a bit.

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