Readers’ wildlife photos

This is the second set of photos taken by reader Joe Dickinson on a recent trip to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge in California’s Central Valley (his first set is here). Joe’s captions are indented. 

We’ll begin with another raptor, the diminutive and colorful American kestrel (Falco sparverius).

Several shots of snow geese (Chen caerulescens) and Ross’s geese (Chen rossii) both in flight and down on the water, often standing in shallow water.  They seem always to occur in mixed flocks, at least in winter in central California.  I think I finally have learned to distinguish them if they’re given a good look.  Like the cranes (previous post) they “commute” in and out of the refuge but on a reverse schedule (out in the evening in in the morning).


  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    What a pretty kestrel – bathed in the light of a low sun

  2. rickflick
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Very nice shots. The snow geese have a special place in my heart. When we first moved to Idaho last March we were welcomed by thousands of them. I’m looking forward to their return, but, I won’t be offended if they hang around warm California for a while yet.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted February 19, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      When we lived in Utah, we went a few times down to the small town of Delta, southwest of Salt Lake City, for their Snow Goose Festival. A nearby reservoir is a stopping place, about the end of February, during the northbound migration. A little later in the spring and further north, tundra swans put on quite a show at the Bear River Refuge on the northern edge of the Great Salt Lake.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 19, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        That’ll be on my bucket list.

      • Posted February 19, 2019 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        How can I send pictures?

        • rickflick
          Posted February 19, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          You can send them to Jerry’s email address which is on his University of Chicago page. Include description. Up to 10 photos.

  3. Posted February 19, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Posted February 19, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos!

  5. Mark R.
    Posted February 19, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The snow geese photos look noisy. I don’t think I’ve ever been that close to so many geese. Beautiful Kestrel shot.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted February 19, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, they are particularly noisy in flight (to help groups stay together?). Often the best way to spot groups in flight is to orient towards raucous honking.

  6. Posted February 20, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It is my understanding falcons are more closely related to parrots than to the accipiters.
    D Petty

%d bloggers like this: