Category Archives: Photos of Fauna

A favourite photo of something from the animal kingdom; from my collection.

Wood Ducks, Ladner BC

Recently I visited the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary again.  This time there were no sandhill cranes out and about to distract me from the wood ducks.  Are these crazy-amazing birds to find outside the tropics, or what?

Male and female wood ducks, beak to beak.


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American Coot, Chandler AZ

Pity the American Coot: It’s light on beauty in almost every category.

Its name is commonly used to derogate geezers, as in, “You old coot.”

It squawks rather than sings.

Its head is, well, a little less ugly than its feet, which are, frankly, kinda creepy.

American Coot with foot held up out of the water.

Even the Cornell Ornithology Lab, which has a thing about birds, has trouble finding something nice to say.

The waterborne American Coot is one good reminder that not everything that floats is a duck. A close look at a coot—that small head, those scrawny legs—reveals a different kind of bird entirely.

But seen close-up and in the right light, its iridescent feathers are fabulous.

Standing on right foot; wings spread, from side.

Hokey-pokey move


Standing on left foot; wings spread, from side.

Yoga pose


Wings spread, from back.

A big caboose


Wings spread to form a bustle.

Built-in bustle


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When You

By the time I learn about internet memes, they are generally past their prime, to put it no higher. The “when you” meme takes photos and adds captions intended to elicit both a laugh and an “Oh yeah, me too” reaction.  Some are funny; many are gross and crude.

But as with many things, they’re harder than they look.

When You First Learn How to Play Hide & Seek

Duck peeking out between reeds.

When You Feel Like a Duck in the Headlights

Being stared down by a duck

When You Hear Big Teeth Behind You

Duck in close-up, looking askance at photographer.


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Filed under Day-to-Day Encounters, Photos of Fauna

White-Crowned Sparrow, Gilbert AZ

You put your left wing out, and you shake it all about.

Sparrow with left wing stretched out.

Do the Hokey-Pokey!

If I had not been trying to freeze wing action on other birds (using a fast shutter speed), I might have got a better shot of this one (with a lower ISO).  There you go.  A year ago, I wouldn’t have known what was wrong with this – or how it could have been better.

So, maybe a year from now I’ll be doing better, not just knowing better after the fact.  Or maybe not.

But I still like the shot.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.


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Avocet, Gilbert Water Ranch

Next to black-necked stilts, these are my favourite wading birds, but I find them a little shy.  They tend to stay further from shore, and are also in almost constant motion, making it tougher to get a good shot.

But sometimes I get what I’m looking for.

Female avocet wading through pond.

Sometimes I get more than I was looking for.  Taking photos of moving birds makes me watch them more carefully, trying to time my shutter release.  I’ve learned, for example, that mallards usually dunk themselves before flaring their wings, but ring-necked ducks not so much.  Watching avocets through a camera lens for that rare moment of stillness, I’ve learned that they don’t stab their bills into the water to grab food.  Instead, they swish their bill sideways through the water, scooping up munchies.


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