Readers’ wildlife photos

To show you how far behind I am in posting some photos, reader Joe Dickinson sent these on January 28. (I try to go in a rough temporal order, but often modify that to mix things up.) His notes are indented:
It’s been some time since I sent any photos of Black Crowned Night Herons (Nyctocorax nyctocorax), so here are some recent ones taken near the mouth of Aptos Creek (southeast of Santa Cruz, CA).  One nice thing about photographing this species is that its basic defensive strategy is to stand very still hoping not to be noticed.  If you can find an opening in the shrubbery without arousing too much suspicion, it will pose very nicely.
And here’s one that, in the spirit of “find the nightjar”, we might call “count the night herons”.  [JAC: How many night herons can you count? I’ll put the answer in a comment later in the day.]
Finally, at the adjacent beach, here’s a Raven (Corvus corax) which seems to think it’s a gull.  Incidentally, I was curious about the etymology of the “corax” shared in the Latin binomials.  From Google, I gather it’s some sort of Roman siege engine.  It is a rather menacing looking bird.
From reader Mark Nigogosyan of LaCrescent, Minnesota:
We encourage barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) to nest on our house and when they drink at our pond it is always on the fly!
Mark Nigogosyan
And from reader Charles Spotts:
I took a drive to the Northeast from Maine,  a drive that included the Upper Pitt river and Mt. Lassen National Park.  I was trying out my new “point and shoot” camera, a little Sony RX100. I took a couple of photos, including a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) at Manzanita Lake (in Lassen National Park):goose (Branta canadensis) 0360


  1. Dominic
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Worth the wait🙂

    • Dominic
      Posted June 28, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      …wasn’t a Corax the wooden ‘bridge’ with a point at right angles that could be dropped onto a (Carthaginian) ship so soldiers could run across & board the enemy vessel?

      • darrelle
        Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        A corax was a type of Roman battering ram that had a hooked shape to the business end of it. I am pretty sure that corax was chosen for the binomial as a reference to the shape of the Raven’s beak, which is similar to the shape of the battering ram.

        Of course Corax has lots of other meanings and uses. Corax of Syracuse was one of the two founders of Ancient Greek Rhetoric, for example. Though there is lots of uncertainty about that! It is claimed that Socrates, Aristotle and others used ideas that he came up with and applied them to their own pursuits.

        • John Harshman
          Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          I think it’s the other way around. “Corax” is the Latin word for “raven”, apparently taken from Greek, and the name was later applied to a siege engine with a big beak.

          • darrelle
            Posted June 28, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            Yes, I think you are right.

            • Jacques Hausser
              Posted June 28, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              Yes, I vaguely remember a greek proverb: kakou korakou, kakon oion(from a bad raven you get a bad egg).

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 29, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            Fun fact – rostra means “beaks” and in Rome it was shaped like beaks or the business end of Roman boats. Seemed the Ancients had a thing for beaks.

  2. darrelle
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Interesting pics all around, thanks.

    My favorites are the portrait of the raven and the action shot of the barn swallow scooping a drink.

  3. Merilee
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Beautiful boids all. Thanks!

  4. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Oh, I love this!

    There … are … four … night herons!

    [I saw them before the tip, I should add.]

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I too would say 4 night herons.
    We will see Wren PCC(E) posts the answer. If I am wrong I will not be Bittern.

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    ‘S not Tau day. ‘S Dinosaur day.
    Dinosaurs are not bird descendants for all useful meanings of “birds”, “are” and “dinosaurs”.

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