Readers’ wildlife photos

January 1, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today we start the New Year with our customary Sunday batch of bird photos from John Avise, featuring rare birds in his area. The narrative and IDs are John’s, and you can click on the photos to enlarge them.

Happy New Year

I hope all WEIT readers had a wonderful holiday season.  As 2022 has now ended, it’s time for me to reflect upon some special birds I photographed during that year here in Southern California.  Like many birders, I routinely monitor the Internet for rare-bird alerts in our area, and then head out for any specialties that show up.  This past year, several such vagrant species were the Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi), Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula), Sage Thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus), Ross’s Goose (Anser rossii), Neotropic Cormorant (Nannopterum brasilianum), and Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus), all of which I managed to find and photograph.  These may not be the most beautiful of birds or photos, but finding these avian rarities in Orange County will always bring back special memories for me.  Here’s to more happy birding in 2023!

Townsend’s Solitaire:

Another Townsend’s Solitaire:

Harris’s Sparrow:

Another Harris’s Sparrow:

Sage Thrasher:

Another Sage Thrasher:

Ross’s Goose:

Another Ross’s Goose:

Neotropical Cormorant:

Another Neotropical Cormorant:

Lapland Longspur:

Another Lapland Longspur:



8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Remarkable achievement to be able to find and get good photos of such vagrants, and at least two individuals of each!

    1. Actually, I found and photographed just one individual of each of these species. Thus, each second caption should have read: “another photograph of the same bird”.

  2. I was surprised to see Townsend’s on your list of “rare”, as they are not rare at all here, just seasonal. They come through here on their migratory route in the spring and fall, and are usually seen in large numbers at Quarai. Since we are only three miles away here, we always get a few at our feeders, mainly looking for water. (My bird water is heated, so it’s not ever iced over.)

    Quarai hosts a bird event the first Saturday in May. It’s free, but you have to sign up, and in the 15 years that we’ve been here, I’ve never managed to make it. But I have run into birders there from all over the place many times when I’ve gone there just to hang out. Hang out time has been non-existent since we took over the restaurant five years ago, though.


  3. Happy New Year!

    And a great start with – perfect, really! – a fresh set of Prof. Avise’s RWPs!

  4. Great photos, as usual from you, John! Happy New Year! And, by chance, today was the Athens (OH) Christmas Bird Count, in which I participated as usual. And, happily, I spotted two Ross’s Geese on my team’s portion of the circle. Wonderful start to our new year.

  5. Thanks, John. Seeing rare birds (or rare in a particular area) is what keeps it all fun. Thanks for another brilliant batch of Sunday-themed photos. Hopefully 2023 will entertain other new species in Orange county. Cheers and Happy New Year!

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