Readers’ wildlife photos

September 26, 2023 • 8:15 am

We’re back to readers’ wildlife photos, so please send yours in. Today’s batch, part 1 of 2, come from reader James Blilie, who encloses photos taken by his son Jamie. James’s text is indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

It’s been a busy time for us.  I am finally getting around to sending in some of Jamie’s recent wildlife photos for your consideration.  Sometimes it’s a little hard to get Jamie to move his photos from his camera to a computer location from which I can put them online or submit them!

This past February, we took a road trip from our home in southern Washington state to Palm Desert and Seal Beach California.  It was very nice to be somewhere warm and bright for a couple of weeks in the middle of winter.  We plan to do something similar each winter from now on.

Both the Palm Desert area (Coachella Valley) and the California coast near Seal Beach provided ample opportunities for Jamie, now 19 and a student in engineering at Washington State University in Pullman Washington, to enjoy his passion for spotting and photographing birds.  Most of these birds we hadn’t seen before.

In the desert, we visited the Thousand Palms OasisJoshua Tree National Park, the Canyons along the foot of the Mount San Jacinto, and some local sites in the valley, such as Sunnylands Estate.  From Seal Beach, we visited Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, the beaches, and Mission San Juan Capistrano.

First two cock quail of different species: California Quail (Callipepla californica). Photo taken along US Hwy 395 in the Owens Valley of California.

Then Gambel’s Quail cock (Callipepla gambelii), taken at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge The Salton Sea, 236 feet below sea level, was a spectacular place for birding in winter.  We drove all the way around the Salton Sea, stopping in Calexico within a mile of the Mexico border (but not crossing).

Next are a several birds photographed along the shore of the Salton Sea on our circuit around it. Some are taken at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge and some are taken at the various state park locations and pull-outs along the eastern edge of the sea.

Some Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus).  These were abundant along the shore of the Salton Sea. The image of the five stilts also shows, I believe, a Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus).

Some Northern Pintail ducks (Anas acuta) in flight.

Many, many Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens).  These came in massive flocks to the green fields at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge 

Next up is a Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) photographed in the desert in the Coachella Valley.

Next are two shots of a Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus).  Jamie has had a passion for finding shrikes as they are quite rare everywhere we’ve lived or visited.  These were shot in Joshua Tree National Park and you can see some Joshua Tree foliage (Yucca brevifolia) in the photos.

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. For a while I lived among California quail, and they rose very high on my list of favorite birds. That is a such a nice picture—even with all of the time I spent looking at them, I never realized how beautiful the breast feathers are.

  2. That shrike is quite the find! Did you see any of its skewered victims? The California quail portrait is a beaut!

    Since I know readers here like birds, there’s a great show on Disney+ Nat Geo called “The Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper.” Jaimie’s shrike photos reminded me of Cooper’s show and he also travels to the Salton Sea. Mr. Cooper travels from Hawaii to Puerto Rico to NYC and many places in-between in his search of rare and common birds, and he joins up with bird conservationists, biologists and other bird aficionados. He’s a passionate presenter and his enthusiasm is contagious. And he doesn’t shy away from evolution-based explanations when describing certain bird attributes or behaviors.

    Here’s a teaser.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *