Readers’ wildlife photos

June 10, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today’s photos of birds come from Bill Robertson, whose captions, descriptions, and IDs are indented. You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

All of these were taken near where I live now, in Fort Collins, CO. The city maintains a huge system of parks and natural areas protected from development. The amazing thing to me about this is that about 20 years ago (or thereabouts),  the citizens of the town actually voted to raise the city sales tax to pay for all of this. They have a full-time staff of maintenance crews and a volunteer staff of citizen naturalists who give tours to school kids and anyone else interested. How amazing is that?

Some of these were taken in various parks and natural areas and I’ve tried to indicate that for each one. A lot of them were also taken in my yard, through my windows.

As for my gear, most of these were taken with a Sony a7RII mirrorless camera with a Sony FE 4.5-5.6/70-300mm G OSS zoom lens. I recently upgraded to a Sony a7RIVA, and a Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600mm G OSS zoom lens. The image stabilization on these cameras and lenses is phenomenal, but they’re also heavy buggers, so I’ve taken to using a monopod to help out.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). This one was hanging out in my back yard keeping an eye on the bird feeders and squirrels. Caught just leaping after a squirrel who managed to scoot under the deck.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). This Pelican just speared some breakfast at the Prospect Ponds Natural Area.

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis). A goldfinch waiting its turn at one of my birdfeeders.

Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias). A great Blue Heron is carrying some nesting material back to a waiting companion, near the River Bend Ponds Natural Area. This is a multi-tree heronry that’s also home to some hawks and a lot of smaller birds.

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). This Northern Flicker has just had a drink of water out of the heated birdbath on my deck.

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanos). A Housefinch serenading in Spring Canyon Park.

Canada Goose Goslings (Branta canadensis). A clutch of 2-day-old goslings chilling on a hot afternoon in a nearby neighborhood.

Owls, either Western Screech Owl or Northern Saw-whet Owl (was told both). Owl mama and baby surveying the neighborhood in Spring Canyon Park:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).A mallard drake minding his own business.

American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). An American Bald Eagle surveying his domain in ? Natural Area:

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). About to be strafed by a redwing blackbird, at Prospect Ponds Natural Area.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). An American Pelican just about to land in the pond at Fossil Creek Park.

Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola). A juvenile Virginia Rail looking for breakfast in a small pond in the Prospect Ponds Natural Area:

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula). A snowy Egret hanging out about a mile from the Fossil Creek Nature Reserve:

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). This Great Horned Owl is sitting on my fence waiting for breakfast to appear:

European Starling (Sternus vulgaris). A Common Starling watching me photographing him, on my deck:

15 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. You are correct. I really do have it right on my flickr pages, but missed it when I was collecting these to submit. Maybe Jerry can correct it here.

  2. Wonderful photos. The squirrel was lucky to escape a determined and focused predator. Does a flicker really need all that color for heaven’s sake! Show-off.

  3. I love the light and color in these photographs—the word “luminous” comes to mind. And clearly, I need to look more closely at starlings! I never realized that they are iridescent.

  4. More beautiful bird photos! I particularly like the hawk. For my money, it looks more majestic than the bald eagle, though I have seen bald eagles do some reasonably impressive things.

  5. These are great! The starling shot shows you can get wonderful, interesting photos of very common birds we tend to take for granted.

    Some notes on ids: the owls are Western Screech Owls. The “ear tufts” are not always visible, or may be absent due to moult.

    Cassin’s Finches are western birds and I live in the east, so I’m hardly familiar with them, but I am familiar with House Finches and Purple Finches. I believe you have a Cassin’s Finch. It’s not streaky enough to be a House Finch, and too streaky to be a Purple Finch.

    Lou Jost above already pointed out that the bird spearing the fish is obviously a great blue heron, not a pelican.

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