Brown-headed Cowbirds sunning on a pasture fence somewhere in rural South Dakota.
I realize it’s common for male and female birds of the same species often have different colors, but Ring-necked Pheasants take this to an extreme. A transplant from Asia, the males have an amazing diversity of colors. I think the understated beauty of the hens is highly underrated. Photos taken in April of 2017.
On a trip to Folly Island, SC I had to get 30 feet off the ground for decent photographs of Orchard Orioles. Once elevated, the yellow and olive female was easy to photograph. She preferred to preen and sun on exposed branches. In the lower right photo, she shows off her specialized tongue, useful in gathering nectar.
The chestnut colored male spent almost all his time hiding in the canopy. When he did finally come into the open, he was so far away the quality of photos suffered. Still, a beautiful bird.
A Snowy Egret goes shrimping in a marsh on Folly Island in South Carolina. This was one of those “hurry, park the car, grab the camera” photo shoots. The kind where you, well, don’t check the settings on the camera. Lets just say I really didn’t need ISO 3200…
The above young Double-crested Cormorants are with a parent. Soon the adolescent cormorants will join the small flock seen below, called a “creche.”
I introduced Quiriva National Wildlife Refuge in my previous post. By November the primary migration along the Central Flyway is declining. Yet we still saw thousands upon thousands of ducks, geese and Sandhill Cranes during a day visit.
I didn’t bring a telephoto lens on the trip, so I rented an older Nikon 50-400. Between a misfitted lens and generally overcast skies, the quality of photos is lacking. So be it. This was my first visit to Quivira.
A couple of days before our visit, migrating Whooping Cranes returned to Quivira. While we did not see the cranes, we found plenty of fellow birders looking for this endangered species.
There were plenty of waterfowl and shore birds, even if most were out of camera range.
Even though I live east of the Mississippi River, I consider Kansas my home state. So I have an emotional connection to the birds of the prairie. The Western Meadowlark is the Kansas state bird. The call of the Northern Bobwhite is iconic. I can only imagine the photo opportunities in the spring at Quivira for birds of the prairie.
Birds identified at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge November 5, 2016.
American Avocet, American Coot, American Robin, Bald Eagle, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Canada Goose, Dark-eyed Junco, European Starling, Field Sparrow, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Mallard, Marsh Wren, Northern Bobwhite, Northern Flicker, Northern Shoveler, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Redhead, Ring-billed Gull, Ring-necked Pheasant, Ruddy Duck, Sandhill Crane, Savannah Sparrow, Snow Goose, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-rumped Warbler
The unseasonably warm February from the Midwest through the Great Plains created some movement among birds. One Saturday afternoon we had these backyard visitors…Some Eastern Bluebirds winter in Ohio, but not near our place. This day the bluebirds appeared, searching high and low for insects.
A pair of American Robins left the shelter of the woods to check for worms and larvae.
In the past decade, this is the earliest we have seen a Red-winged Blackbird in our yard.
A Green Heron goes all steampunk on Folly Island, SC in July of 2015.