I found a sunflower patch right above the James River in North Dakota that’s attracting lots of common yellowthroats foraging for insects. Not only am I getting lots of photos, but I’ve also enjoyed the chance to observe how these little birds hunt for insects. They nab bugs from the bottoms of leaves as well as on the stalks of the sunflowers. I wonder if these birds were here all summer, or are they migrating south?
White-throated sparrow in the Puget Sound
It’s not often we see a white-throated sparrow in the Puget Sound, as they tend to stick along the coast in California and Oregon. So I was excited to see one in my yard a few days ago. It keeps returning to a mossy area near our little ponds where I throw out bird seed and cracked corn (for the mallard ducks), so I’ve gotten close looks at this little beauty. It stays by itself, but it tends to come Read More
Yard birds in mid-February: spotted towhee, sparrows, dark-eyed juncos, mallard ducks
I get cabin fever this time of year, yearning for exotic places that offer lots of activity. But my own backyard north of Seattle offers some nice views of several species.
Hummingbird’s gorget colors come from light refraction
Did you know hummingbirds do not have any coloration or pigmentation in their gorget feathers (gorget feathers are those on their neck, chin and face)? Instead, a hummingbird’s gorget colors come from light refraction. David Sibley explains how this works on his website at Sibley Guides.. It took less than 1 second for this male Anna hummingbird’s gorget to flash pink from its deep brown color when it moved its head. Since the bird kept moving its head quite rapidly, the Read More
Parents feeding eastern kingbird fledglings
Newly fledged eastern kingbirds offered me lots of photo opps for me this past summer in NE South Dakota. I observed a pair of eastern kingbirds feeding their fledglings right after the babies presumably left the nest. The little ones basked in the warm sunshine, falling asleep in between feedings. Sometimes they were so sleepy that they didn’t even hear the parents bring them food. The parent would hop from one to the other to see who would open their Read More
Dance of the Swans
We’re lucky to see both tundra and trumpeter swans in Western Washington during the winter. Thousands of the big white birds spend the winter here before leaving to nest in the spring. Here’s an imaginary conversation I think the swans would have about their flights across the landscape, as they take off and head to other feeding and resting areas. They make flying look so effortless and freeing, as though they’ve created a carefully choreographed series of movements! Read More
Little Wildlife Dramas at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
A visit to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Washington in late fall/early winter offers many surprises and little wildlife dramas. For instance, I watched two female mallards come in for a landing on a small pond partially covered with thin ice. One of the ducks landed in the open water, but the other one landed in a small opening in the ice. Now she was trapped by the ice. Unwilling or unable to fly up and over the ice Read More
Call of the Wildflowers
Choose me, choose me! As I review my wildflower photos from this past summer, I see the bright yellow petals of the sunflowers and the purple strands that make up the thistle flowers. My eyes are drenched in color when I spot the red and yellow blooms of the spectacular Indian blanket flower. I imagine how each flowering beauty must be calling out, “choose me, choose me.” Pick me, pollinating bees, butterflies, and moths. Hop onto my ample nectar laden Read More
Wolf with salmon, Alaska
My photo of a wolf with salmon in its mouth is one of my favorite and most unique images. The photo was taken of the wolf with a gigantic chum salmon at Fish Creek, near Hyder in southeastern Alaska during the salmon spawning season in the summer. Fish Creek is part of Tongass National Forest, a coastal temperate rainforest known. Fish Creek can only be accessed by driving through British Columbia, as it’s located at the very southern tip of Read More
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