Readers’ wildlife photos

August 9, 2023 • 8:15 am

A few generous readers sent in photos, so we’ll have some today and tomorrow. In the meantime, please put together some photos for my return after August 20, as I’ll have only one batch left then. Thanks!

Today we have another installment of The Breakfast Crew photographed by Doug Hayes of Richmond, Virginia. Doug’s captions are indented and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.  Today he returns to the swamp to check on the progress of the baby green herons (see here for part I)

More of the Breakfast Crew.

Grackles and mourning doves are the most active right now. The usual house finches and sparrows are present and there has been a population explosion of cardinals. I also took another trip out to the Chamberlayne Swamp to see how the baby green herons are doing.

Robins (Turdus migratorius) are almost always around the yard. They almost always go for the suet instead of the birdseed:

A pine warbler (Setophaga pinus). These little guys tend to stick to the more wooded areas of the park and along the James River:

Most people consider common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) to be pests, but I think they are gorgeous with their iridescent feathers and intense eyes:

A male northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). There has been a population explosion among these birds this season. In addition to the adults, there are quite a few fledglings in the yard:

A non-breeding/immature male red-winged blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus). Red-winged blackbirds are marsh dwellers, but they tend to show up in large numbers after heavy rains:

And a breeding male, showing off his wing patches:

A male house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) looking spiffy:

A male red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) finds a peanut. They are quite persistent in digging around in the feeder until they find their favorite treat:

A gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis). I haven’t seen many of these birds this season. They used to feed on blackberries that grew in my neighbor’s yard, but the bush was cut down when the house sold a few months ago:

A tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor). These little guys also love peanuts. Like the woodpeckers, they grab a peanut and fly off with it to eat in the safety of the trees:

A juvenile European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). For some reason, starlings are not as numerous this year as they have been in the past:

We went back to the Chamberlayne Swamp Saturday morning to check on the progress of the baby green herons (Butorides virescens). The four babies are about a month old and all are thriving, even the runt. All four are nearly adult size and have lost most of their fuzzy down. They spend their days climbing around the nest tree, chasing dragonflies and being fed. As usual, the Big Guy stations himself out in the open so he can be the first one fed when mom returns. All four should head out on their own soon:

The Big Guy keeping a watch for mom:

The rest of the gang:

The Big Guy hunting dragonflies. He managed to catch a few while we watched:

Camera info:  Sony A7RV mirrorless camera body, Sony FE 200-600 lens + 1.4X teleconverter, Clear View digital zoom, iFootage Cobra 2 monopod, Neewer gimbal tripod head.

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The Breakfast Crew posts are always so delightful to see in the morning before my day starts up.
    Those baby green herons are a thrill to see.

  2. Beautiful birds. Most are quite familiar, as I grew up on the east coast and we had a fantastic swampy pond within a half-hour of my house. I practically lived there. Loved the Red-winged Blackbirds that frequented the pond. I could easily recognize them by sound.

  3. Starlings aren’t as plentiful over here in Western Washington either. 🤔
    All your photos were great, lots of fun to view. I like all the birds with food in their beak. Those herons sure are intense- love ‘em.

  4. Really nice photos. We have for years put out grape jelly for orioles, and catbirds sometimes eat it also. Your might attract some with this (poor) substitute for the lost blackberries.

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