Readers’ (and writer’s) wildlife photos: Ducks ‘n’ stuff

Although I have a fair number of wildlife photos from various readers, I can always use more, so please think of this site if you have good wildlife photos. I’m showing some of my ducks today, so I thought I’d post Stephen Barnard’s latest photos, which also include a brood of ducks he’s following. First, some other pictures, with his captions indented:

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). One of a pair feeding in a Russian Olive tree. I can’t tell what it’s holding in its beak. (Males and females look similar.)

Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus):

And his ducks:

I’m pretty sure this is a Gadwall (Anas strepera) hen with eleven ducklings. It’s difficult to tell female Gadwalls in summer plumage from Mallards, but the opinion of my local birder group is Gadwall.

Of course I asked for pictures of the brood as it got older, and worried about attrition, as Stephen thought, with good reason, that some would succumb. But I got this photo yesterday with the title “Still eleven gadwall ducklings.” Yay!

And this morning: “Still at eleven”.  Huzzah!

My own brood of four mallard ducklings (plus Mom; all Anas platyrhynchos) is doing well; the four have lost all their down, are starting to flap their wings, and yesterday I heard one of them quack for the first time (they’d been making peeps). It won’t be long till they abandon me. In the meantime, they’ve learned a new behavior to forage off the shallow cement floor: bottoms up! While in this position, they paddle backwards with their feet to remain inverted:

Finally, we had a visitor to the pond about two weeks ago. It’s a small pond, so imagine my surprise when I saw this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) there, probably stopping on its way north. This is a zoomed iPhone photo, so it’s lousy:


  1. Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Ah – waxwings are so lovely! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Stephen Barnard
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Jerry, your ducks are probably big enough now to be safe, but a Great Blue Heron will not hesitate to eat a small duckling (or anything other living thing it can swallow).

  3. Michael Day
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    ’round here we call ’em black-bodied yellow birds…

  4. Terry Sheldon
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Love cedar waxwings! And I would echo Stephen’s concerns about great blue herons, even in small ponds. I’ve had people tell me stories about herons raiding their koi ponds and making off with some seriously expensive snacks!

  5. rickflick
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Nice to see the yellow headed blackbirds again. I saw them this summer quite a charming surprise. You don’t see them here in the Eastern US.

  6. Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The 11 duckling are wonderful.
    (PCC’s four are now too old to push my maternity buttons, no offense meant.)

  7. Mark R.
    Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Ducklings are adorable. Looks like the waxwing has a stick in its beak or a piece of string. Either way, beautiful bird.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted June 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      The waxwings were actively feeding in the Russian olive tree, but I don’t think they were eating that!

  8. Diane G.
    Posted June 27, 2017 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Love the Waxwing, the Yellow-headeds (especially–great capture!), and the Gadwalls, Stephen!

    Glad the ducklings are doing so well! The bottoms-up behavior reminded me of a pic I got a few years back:

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