Readers’ wildlife photos

August 4, 2022 • 8:30 am

We are getting seriously low on photos, so please consider pitching in if you have some good wildlife photos (those include travel and people photos).

Today’s photos of birds come from Paul Edelman, emeritus professor of math and law at Vanderbilt. His narrative is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

My new favorite place to bird in Nashville is Bells Bend Park. It sits in a curve in the Cumberland River just west of downtown.  It is 800 acres of park, but what makes it unusual is the varied habitats it provides.  There are wide open fields, forested areas, river banks and marshes.  That provides opportunities to see a unique mixture of birds. All of these pictures were taken at Bells Bend within the last month or so.  I continue to use a Nikon D500 camera with a Nikkor 500mm f5.6 lens.

The open fields are great places to see the Dickcissel (Spiza americana) that likes to hide in the grass to eat but likes to sit on higher strands to sing.

Many birds like to be in the fields but with tree cover nearby. Such a bird is the Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), which nests in the fields but will sometimes sit in a tree to sing. The Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) does the opposite–it will nest in trees, but go into the fields to sing.  The Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) likes to stay at the brushy interface between the fields and the trees. This same dense undergrowth attracts the Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) and the Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor).

The more forested areas are home to the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) and the Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius), this is a picture of a pair of females.

Currently Nashville is in a drought, so all the marshy areas at Bells are dried up.  I am hoping that,  come the fall migration season, we get enough rain to attract more marsh birds.

Prairie Warbler:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo:

Yellow-breasted Chat at Bells Bend:

Common Yellowthroat singing:

Dickcissell singing:

Indigo bunting singing:

Northern bobwhite:

Pair of female Orchard Orioles:

9 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Nice set. I love that you caught so many of them singing (the Yellowthroat looks like he see something shocking overhead).

  2. Wow, quite the assortment of birds. I can see why the area has become a favorite bird spot for you. Is the bobwhite a type of quail? It looks “quailish” and for some reason I think I’ve heard of a bobwhite quail. I’m probably thinking of two separate species, though.

    Nice sharp images as well; I also use that Nikkor 500mm f5.6 lens. I love it!

    1. the Northern Bobwhite is a quail. It is the only quail that is common east of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, like many birds that like wild fields, their habitat is shrinking.

  3. Paul Edelman, emeritus professor of math and law

    OK, how does that work? There’s one obvious “in” from mathematics to Law via statistics and the question of “what is proof”, but other than that they’re pretty distinct subjects. I’d have thought.

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