Readers’ wildlife photos

We have some nice pictures by our regularest regular, Stephen Barnard. These were sent on October 13, and his notes are indented. (Click photos to enlarge.)

I took this photo this morning.

The tiny spots in the sky just above the horizon are mallards. [JAC: see second photo if you can’t spot them.]In my 5 years at Aubrey Spring Ranch I’ve never seen close as many migrating mallards as this year. When I let the dogs out in the morning hundreds explode off the water, up and down the creek. At times there are literally thousands flocking over the valley. It’s remarkable and makes for a pleasurable predawn morning.

When I let the dogs out I can tell which ducks are migrating through and which ones hatched and grew up here. The migrants flee in panic. The residents are chill.

Opening day of duck hunting season is tomorrow. I expect to hear a lot of shooting. While looking at the F&G regs I noticed that the bag limit on Wilson’s Snipe is eight. I’ve seen and spooked a lot of Wilson’s Snipe. That anyone could shoot even a single one with a shotgun seems miraculous, but eight??? Is that some kind of joke? And what is the point, anyway? They must be damn good eating.

Here’s a closeup I cropped for a Facebook friend who couldn’t see the ducks. This could be a “spot 1000 ducks” contest.

As a lagniappe, a photo of a female Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) intent on the hunt.


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Good to see lots of ducks out there. One law that would be nice concerning hunters far as I can say for those who feel a need to do it. You can’t shoot anything you do not eat. I suspect that would eliminate a great deal of hunting. But that was the original intent – to eat. The shooting things for “sport” came later sadly.

    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 1:00 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but your vision of hunting is incomplete. In addition to food, hunting keeps pest populations in check which threaten both domestic animals and endangered wild species. People hunt for sport as well as food and both are worthwhile pursuits.

      Meanwhile, complainers like yourself are doing nothing worthwhile to actually protect animal populations from extinction by poachers and just plain neglect.

      If you really want to do something for animals, get some skin in the game. Buy a hunting or fishing license. They come in many denominations (prices), usually depending on where and what people hunt or fish for plus time periods (from a single day to a full season). These funds go to the people whose careers are devoted to protecting fish, animals, and environments they live in. These are game wardens, biologists, etc whose salaries come from license fees (mostly).

      You can buy licenses at many sporting goods stores as well as state fish and game (wildlife) agencies directly. You don’t have to fish and hunt yourself to buy licenses. But now you’re doing something worthwhile instead of just sniping at those of us who hunt and/or fish.

      Special note to outdoor/wildlife photographers. You get to enjoy your outdoor hobby/activities Scott free. Give us hunters and fishermen a hand. Do your part and buy a license.

  2. yazikus
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Stunning photo of the Harrier! There is a wonderful watercolor artist out of Eastern Oregon (Hiroko Cannon) who does a lot of birds (often eating prey or hunting) who I imagine would have a lot of fun taking inspiration from this one.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink


      • Kiwi Dave
        Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


  3. Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Excellent pictures, as always! Not sure why duck populations are increasing there. I suppose the attraction for snipe hunting is not the eating but the challenge in hunting.

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    In the UK the game hunting seasons are of mind boggling complexity – there’s rules for whether the ground is above or below high water mark for example. And of course the season varies by the particular bird & its breeding habits.

    In the pubs local to me you can buy a brace of pheasant from the keepers for 50 pence for the pair [33 cents each] – a poor meal full of bones & requiring long slow cooking & a powerful sauce for the bird to be palatable – then there’s the silly pellets throughout.

    Shooting birds for sport is dumb.

    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted October 29, 2017 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      No it isn’t. See my comment above.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful landscapes.

    You would probably need a well-trained pointer to successfully bag 8 snipes.

  6. Posted October 28, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Never tire of this landscape, great Harrier shot… i fear something is about to meet it’s maker.

  7. Posted October 28, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    These are breathtaking. Thanks, Stephen.

  8. Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the dinosaur photos, Stephen!

  9. Dale Franzwa
    Posted October 29, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Great photos, Stephen.

  10. Posted October 29, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos Stephen! Thanks!

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