Readers’ wildlife photos (and video!)

It’s Bird Day, and we have photos and video. First, a video of battling Glossy Ibises (Plegadis falcinellus) by Tara Tanaka (flickr site here, Vimeo channel here), who promises more videos soon. Her notes are indented; be sure to go to the Vimeo site to watch it large and in high-definition.

We just got back from a fantastic two-week photography camping trip around Florida, and I still haven’t seen all of my photos and videos, but knew that this was the first one I wanted to share. I slowed down the action to 50% of actual speed as soon as the second bird enters the frame. It was shot using manual focus, and it was quite a challenge just keeping them in the frame.

And once again I’ve begged a portion of photos from Pete Moulton:

These are all from various lakes and ponds in the Phoenix area.

Portrait of a drake Northern ShovelerAnas clypeata, showing the mandibular lamellae he uses to strain food particles from the water.

Drake Ring-necked Duck, Aythya collaris. This has been the most common duck in my areas this winter. Eurasian readers will certainly notice this bird’s similarity to their more familiar Tufted Duck A. fuligula.


My favorite of all the ducks, a drake CanvasbackAythya valisineria.


While I was photographing the Canvasbacks this adult Green HeronButorides virescens, came over to watch. When the photo session ended, off it went to the other side of the pond.


Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) in basic plumage. The American Ornithologists’ Union still considers this form conspecific with the Black-necked Grebe of Eurasia, but other organizations have begun to split the North American bird off as a separate species. These aren’t rare in my area, but they generally don’t provide much in the way of photographic opportunities.


And, finally, the obligatory Pied-billed GrebePodilymbus podiceps, taking a rest in between bouts of terrorizing all the ducks on the pond.



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I do not think the photography gets much better than this.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks to both contributors today.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I noticed the victorious ibis then emptied its bowels into the pond. My completely predictable reaction as a human: Ew.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      In [insert name of barbarous city of your choice], being splattered by falling bird shit is considered a sign of good luck. Which says more about [name of city] than it does about avian luck prediction.

      • Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        The Sidewalks of Paree.

        With a little twist, it could be Paris, where it is dogs that do the sidewalk doo-doo, sometimes even in the subway. Now on top of this Paris has a problem with men peeing everywhere, even on monuments. I have no idea how this quite civilized city has put up with this from time immemorial. Tourists be warned: always look down while you are walking on the sidewalks of Paris.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          That wasn’t the [barbarous city] I was thinking about. Though on my only walk though the city, carrying 50kilos of camping and mountaineering and photographic kit … there was a dancing between “land mines”.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      I did consider fading out just before that, but it was part of the whole interaction, as was the feather fluff after that. Sorry, I should have warned you :-).

      An interesting side note: Not all, but many waders will stop feeding, exit the water to defecate, and then return to continue feeding. My favorite Reddish Egret will walk long distances for that purpose, and we had a Roseate Spoonbill in our swamp a year ago that did that.

  4. rickflick
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Some really outstanding bird shots today!

  5. Kevin
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Green Heron is impressive. And so was the black duck.

    • Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Kevin. The Green Heron’s absolutely my favorite avian subject. They’re beautiful little herons, and always seem to be up to something interesting and/or amusing.

      The Ring-necked is the most numerous duck species wintering in my areas this year, so I’ve been shooting them for weeks. My brother’s fond of them, and sees them less often than we do in Arizona, so I make lots of images of them for him. He calls them ‘Blackjacks,’ an old duck-hunters’ name for them, and more appropriate IMO than their currently accepted name, which refers to a very low-contrast feature that’s usually hidden even under the best of conditions.

  6. Ann German
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The “obligatory” pied billed grebe . . . easily one of my FAVORITES here in NW MT . . . love to watch them “deflate” and drop below the surface of the ponds . . . thanks!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      “Obligatory” in the sense that both Professor Ceiling Cat-E and I like Pied-billeds, so I try to include one in each batch of images. Now that I’ve found another fan, there might be even more! They don’t come any more accommodating for photography than they do at the park where I got this one a couple of weeks ago, so it’s natural to take as much advantage as possible.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Great bird photos and video. Thanks!

  8. Marilee Lovit
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    What were the Ibis doing? Anything to do with mating? I think they won’t be nesting until over a month from now. Maybe six weeks from now.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure if it was a feeding territory dispute or maybe two males fighting over territory, but it wasn’t friendly. In frame by frame examination I could see that one stabbed the other with its lower beak. This was south Florida, so it nesting could be a bit sooner. We had a Great Egret displaying in our N. Florida swamp yesterday – at least a week earlier than I’ve seen that before.

  9. keith Cook ¿
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Vid footage was great. Green heron is my pick of the day.. all good shots though thanks.

    • Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

      Good choice, keith. Green Herons are the best avian subjects of all, IMO.

  10. Posted February 6, 2017 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, everyone! I’m pleased that you enjoyed the pix.

  11. Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos Pete!

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