Readers’ wildlife photos (and a video)

Stephen Barnard has sent us a batch of lovely photos from Idaho. Among his many great pictures, this first one, of the female American kestrel (Falco sparverius) roosting in Stephen’s nestbox, has to be one of my favorites: Stephen sent some technical info:

Natasha. This photo is with my Canon 5D4 and 700mm lens.


And a video; the pair are being severely harassed by Brewer’s blackbirds:

While being harassed by blackbirds, Boris brings a vole to the nest box, Natasha arrives, he hands it off to her, and she takes it inside.

We also have pelicans; Stephen’s notes are indented.

First, a few photos of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). These are magnificent birds, but whenever I see them on the creek I chase them away, and so does every other fisherman and landowner with water. They can do a great deal of damage to the trout fishery in a short time.  For the second and third photos I’d sneaked up very closely. (They’re very easily spooked because everyone chases them.) I watched them doing their typical feeding behavior — working as a coordinated group, pushing schools of small fish into the shallows where they chow down.

Here is a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica). This is one of the swallows that build mud nests on my front porch every year.

This Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) wasn’t happy about me passing by in the truck. This is a male, one of a pair, and I suspect they have a colt or an egg nearby, because they were luring/threatening me into another direction (which wasn’t wasn’t an option).

And a brown trout (Salmo trutta):

 I caught it in one of my ponds on opening day. It took a callibaetis nymph imitation.


  1. Liz
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink


  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I was wondering if there is a plus to having pelicans and other fish predators. It can mean fewer fish for fishing, but those fish have less competition for food and so they can grow bigger.

    • Posted June 6, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      The watershed is very productive and there’s lots of food. In any case, big trout eat little trout. 🙂 It’s hard to see any benefit from pelican predation. I don’t mind herons, eagles, and otters taking fish, but the mass of a large flock of large pelicans means they have to consume a large mass of fish.

      • Dominic
        Posted June 6, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Making the fish more cautious & swim deeper…? Besides, what about the benefit to the pelicans! 🙂
        …they were there before the people…
        But a serious point here, otherwise are we not reproducing the christian/religious idea that the world is laid out for humans to do what they like? Not to be speciesist!

  3. Posted June 6, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Superb photography. Truly.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes. How’d you cook the trout?

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Stephen is a true sportsman in the sense that he practices catch and release.

        • Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Some people, especially the PETA people in Europe, object to catch-and-release fishing and promote regulations to require catch-and-kill. The rationale, as I understand it, is that the angler is just “playing” with the fish for his or her amusement. There’s a point there, but the notion that somehow killing the fish sanctifies the act of catching it eludes me, especially when the typical fly fisherman spends thousands of dollars on gear and travel when buying fish at the market would be far cheaper.

          The data show that catch-and-release regulations are very effective at conserving trout populations, especially in heavily fished waters and when using barbless hooks and suitable gear. In New Zealand, for example, where the fish are huge but few and far between, anglers used to keep every fish as a matter of course, until (primarily) American anglers convinced them that catch-and-release is better. If anglers kept every trout in New Zealand there would soon be no trout.

          The strongest lobby for healthy waters, in my opinion, is sport fishermen.

  4. Terry Sheldon
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Magnificent photos as always. Thanks!!

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted June 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


  5. Gary Seth
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Day 502 of The Walking Demagogue

  6. Posted June 6, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks for these photos. In other news of humans behaving badly, 10 cygnets were stolen from their mothers in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

  7. jellen
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for all the pleasure your wonderful photographs have given me, Stephen Barnard, cooped up here in the city. The closeup of the kestrel is lovely, but so are all the others.

  8. Posted June 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos and that is a gorgeous Brownie.

  9. Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful Stephen! I particularly enjoy the firs and list shots! Nice fish! 🙂

  10. Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Released. I never keep wild trout unless it’s mortally wounded. Anyway, that trout was about 24″ long and upwards of six pounds — to big to eat.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted June 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Excellent batch of photos. That first photo of Natasha was true eye-candy.

    • Posted June 6, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      I wish Jerry had done his magic to make the photo enlargeable.

  12. Posted June 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Those kestrels are the cutest.

  13. Posted June 10, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Beautiful birds!

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