Readers’ wildlife photos

Stephen Barnard in Idaho weighs in with some diverse and lovely pictures from Idaho (I especially like the swallows and the heron being harassed). His notes are indented.

Two species of kingbirds in the same day. A Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis), showing off his yellow breast in early morning light. An Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), less flashy but debonaire. Both species are bold and feisty. They typically occupy a conspicuous perch, daring lesser birds to approach. They aren’t called kingbirds for nothing.

Meanwhile, the American kestrels (Falco sparverius) are breeding, though the chicks remain hidden in the nest box:

It gets bloody. Natasha appears to have prepped this rodent for the chicks.

A few more photos of Natasha, the female American Kestrel. In the first photo Boris had just brought her a freshly killed vole.

Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius) harassing a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis):

Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) feeding over the creek:

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus):

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). In the second photo it’s being harassed by a Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus):

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis):

Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni):


  1. Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Swallows in flight are the ultimate challenge for a bird photographer. That must have taken some effort!

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Those birds are hovering? Making divots in the water? How cool is that – for its own sake and the photography

  3. Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos, Stephen, wow!

    Love the swallow shots.

  4. Terry Sheldon
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Lovely stuff as always, especially the swallow shots. Thanks!!

  5. ladyatheist
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The red wing blackbird pleads self-defense, erm… nest defense!

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted June 15, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Yes. Stand your ground-er- strafe your perimeter -er…

  6. Posted June 15, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  7. Avis James
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink


  8. Christopher
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Beautiful, as alway. The tree swift and the heron harassment most especially. And I do love a kingbird. Tyrannidae is a wonderful family, especially their common family name, the Tyrant Flycatchers. They are especially active at Kauffman Stadium during Royals night games, and considering how poorly KC is playing, the birds are more entertaining than the baseball.

  9. Liz
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    All amazing. The first picture of the tree swallow is so good.

  10. Roger
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Red wing blackbirds are omnipresent on my walks because they’re always up there on the power lines lookin down on me chippin at me the whole time lol. I can hear them now… chip… chip chip… chip… chip chip chip chip…

    • Roger
      Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I wonder if it’s because they like hay fields or something. Lots of hay fields and corn fields around here.

    • Roger
      Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      They’re judging me aren’t they. Looking down on me… judging me… chip… chip chip chip… suddenly I’m in an Edgar Allen Poe story… chip… chip chip… chip…

  11. Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The swallows on the water pics are stunning!

  12. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    All of them a feast, but the tree swallows fantastic

    How you do it? luck? Cropped frame off a video recording?

    • Posted June 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I need good light, a strong headwind, and lots of targets because maybe one in a hundred shots might turn out, if that.

  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Simply amazing. I wonder if kestrel mom skins the prey now for the chicks to de-flesh themselves. They gotta learn sometime..

  14. Mark R.
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Simply mahvelous!

  15. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely wonderful Stephen. I’m trying to pick my favourites, but I keep thinking, “I can’t leave that one off the list,” so it’s rather long! Come to think of it, that’s pretty much always the way with your pics.

  16. Posted June 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the kind words. Appreciative comments remind me that I live in a special place. It’s sometimes too easy to take it for granted.

  17. Posted June 15, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Impressive detail!

  18. rickflick
    Posted June 15, 2018 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful. All these species I have seen locally, but so far no good pics or videos. I’m still trying.

  19. Paul Doerder
    Posted June 16, 2018 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Great photos, you do live in a special area. Last spring we saw hundreds of migrating Tree Swallows feeding over a wetland pond, themselves looking like a cloud of insects. Such graceful birds.

  20. Posted June 16, 2018 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Are there baby kestrals?

  21. Posted June 17, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Stephen, for these. This is the first time I have seen confirmed what we have observed: red-wings harassing herons. In the bog here, the red-wings, during nesting season, forbid herons from coming to fish and mob them. As soon as the red-wings leave in August, though, the herons return. I told a woman from Michigan, who claimed to be a park ranger there, about this and she said it could have never happened. Thanks, again!

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