Readers’ wildlife photos

March 5, 2023 • 8:15 am

John Avise is back today with his weekly batch of themed bird photos. His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Lonely  and Sad Birds?

As judged solely by their official common names, each of the following birds must be rather lonely and perhaps sad.  So that’s the theme of this week’s post.  The state where each photo was taken is indicated in parentheses.

Solitary Sandpiper, Tringa solitaria (Michigan):

Another Solitary Sandpiper (Louisiana):

Solitary Vireo, Vireo solitarius (this species was recently split up by taxonomists and its new name is the Blue-headed Vireo) (Florida):

Townsend’s Solitaire, Myadestes townsendi (California):

Hermit Warbler, Setophaga occidentalis (California):

Another Hermit Warbler (California):

Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus (California):

Another Hermit Thrush (California):

Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura (California):

Another Mourning Dove (California):

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Taking a random opportunity to comment on these which are _always_ a delight, esp. on a Sunday morn :

    Ah – perfect.

  2. The only times I’ve ever seen Townsend’s solitaires is in a flock. They migrate through here in spring and fall, usually at Quarai (3 miles from us), but once in a while at my feeders, looking for a drink of water. My bird water is heated, so even when it’s cold, they can still get a drink.


  3. Thanks, John. Curious about your observations of Mourning Doves in SoCal (and elsewhere) vs Eurasian Collared Doves. My casual (I’m not a birder) and quite local (Central Valley east of SF) observations: I can’t recall when I first heard the latter in our trees (15-20 years ago?), and it was another month or 3 before I actually saw one, and had to look up its ID. Within a few years they became very plentiful, and I haven’t seen a Mourning Dove nearby for many years.TIA.

    1. I can’t speak to N. CA., but Mourning Doves down here in S. CA. are plentiful, and much more common than the introduced Eurasian Collared Doves.

      1. When I moved to the desert in 2014 I kept hearing a bird sound I did not recognize but when I’d try to look, all I’d see was mourning doves. Until I looked closer with binocs and noticed the differences. Looked it up in my bird book and found the ECD, but the range map showed it confined to southern Florida. Thought I was on to something, but it turned out the book was from 1980 and in 30 years they had spread all the way across the continent, which of course everybody already knew.

  4. What a fun theme! It made me try to think of others (Mourning Warbler), and also of the opposite (are there happy-name birds??)

    1. I wanted to include Mourning Warbler, but sadly I have no good photos of that species.

      And with regard to happy-name birds, I’ll have to think about that (isn’t any “warbler” itself sort of indicative of happiness?)

      1. Yessss, Laughing Gulls! Also on a quick search: Laughing Doves, Falcons, and Owls. Although VERY sadly, the Laughing Owl is extinct

  5. Lovely photos, as always! According to wikipedia, “as its name indicates, the solitary sandpiper is not a gregarious species, [and is] usually seen alone during migration, although sometimes small numbers congregate in suitable feeding areas.”

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