Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we feature the bird photos of reader and regular contributor Joe Dickinson, whose notes and IDs are indented.

Here is the first of two sets of bird photos from a recent visit to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge over in the California Central Valley near Los Banos.

By far the most plentiful species are mixed flocks of snow geese (Chen caerulescens) and Ross’s geese (Chen rossii). These are almost always in mixed flocks, at least here in Central California at this time of year, and are hard to distinguish unless you can see the heads up close (which was not the case this time).

Based on expected distribution, this almost certainly is a white-faced ibis (Plegadis chihi):

Black-necked stilts (Himantopus mexicanus) are among my favorites—so “elegant” looking.

I’m pretty sure this and the following are red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), possibly  juveniles.  I couldn’t see the tail.

Not as abundant as the geese, there still were very large numbers of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis).

Following are four shots of large flocks of the geese.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’ll pick the adjective “grand” for this set!

  2. Debbie Coplan
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos. I especially love those last four shots of all the geese.
    The body of the white-faced ibis looks like an impressionist painting.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Some great photos. Let us hope California does not burn up like Australia.

  4. Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Wow, those are nice! I would be thrilled at seeing so many geese.

  5. Posted January 13, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  6. rickflick
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The images of snow geese are reminiscent of our first spring on the Snake River in Idaho – 2018. Thousands stopped here for the spring, feeding in the river and in farm field around our house. What a great experience. This year they must have found another stop-off on their way to the Arctic breeding grounds.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      These guys are overwintering at the southern terminus of their migration but when we lived in Utah, we went a few times to the Snowgoose festival in the little town of Delta. Just as you describe, the geese stop off for R&R (rest & refuel) in a nearby reservoir and farm fields.

  7. Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    As my friend Raven would say, “What a lot of wonderful gooses!”

  8. Posted January 13, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for these. I’m not usually a huge bird fan, but your white faced ibis makes me want to walk like an Egyptian.

  9. jhs
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I wish I had wings!!!

  10. Dominic
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Very nice!

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