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20070524.jpg

Black-crowned Night Heron (nycticorax nicticorax)

(279 views)
by Terry Costales

At the sanctuary, there is a group of palm trees next to the large pond that provides prime nesting spots. It is fenced off to ensure the breeding birds are not disturbed. In late March, this was one of many night herons nesting amongst the snowy and great egrets. Its usually yellow legs are pink because it's breeding season.

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White Pelicans

(279 views)
by Terry Costales

Taking photos from a boat was a new experience. I was able to get much closer to this flock of Pelicans before they took flight. These appear to be Australian Pelicans because of the pink bills. Or do American White Pelicans have pink bills in the winter? Further research needed.

20070519.jpg

Avocet non-breeding plumage

(278 views)
by Terry Costales

This photo was taken late March of this year and many birds were still in just black and white. For courting and breeding the necks and chest acquire a rusty or tan color. They really seem to enjoy their mud-flats.

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American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

(278 views)
by Terry Costales

Yesterday I thought these birds might be Australian Pelicans but with further research I found they are American White Pelicans in non-breeding plumage. I'm glad that's settled.

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Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

(274 views)
by Terry Costales

I had never seen this kind of crow before. As soon as he noticed me he walked over the peak of the roof and out of sight.

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Killdeer in Flight

(274 views)
by Terry Costales

Killdeer are a shy and fast bird. Consequently I rarely get a good shot of one. I was lucky this day to get that elusive shot.

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Warthog

(273 views)
by Terry Costales

The profile of a warthog is not handsome. Neither is any other view. They do have their niche in nature, but they just don't look good filling it.

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Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)

(273 views)
by Terry Costales

Of course England has it's fair share of "flying rats". For some reason this one in Hyde Park seemed more like an actual bird to me than just feathered vermin. I'm sure if I was there long enough they would become just as annoying as pigeons are here at home.

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Nesting Snowy Egret with young

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This picture was taken in late May. There were mother egrets in the colony still sitting on eggs while others, like the one above, were taking care of their small chicks. Many mother egrets were feeding larger chicks. Many larger fledglings were out on the branches but not yet flying. Quite an advance in procreation from my visit a month earlier.

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Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

The moorhen is a very commonly found bird in England, Europe and the States. Even so, I had never seen one before this day in Hyde Park. Moorhens are related more to Coots than to ducks. Moorhens and Coots both have greenish feet with lobed toes which allows them to walk over water-plants and mud.

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Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

Seeing a bright red eye on a bird, to me, is quite startling. Although the heron appears to be standing one-legged, the other leg is actually stretched out in front, grasping another branch.

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Killdeer eggs

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a photo of three very well camouflaged eggs in a Killdeer "nest." Because Killdeer often lay their eggs on gravel, the parking lot at the sanctuary had become a favorite nesting spot for them. Unfortunately a parking lot is a dangerous place for eggs, which leads to much failure for the Killdeer who lay eggs there.

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Polar Bear (Urus maritimus)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

What a face. And under all that gorgeous white fur is black skin. All the better to absorb heat and keep the bear warm.

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Young Night Herons

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This picture was taken in early May and these two seem a little older than the other fledglings I saw. They have gotten big enough to come out of the nest and perch on the branches nearby.

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Soft-shelled Turtle (Trionyx ferox)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a photo of a soft-shelled turtle. Unlike the numerous red-eared sliders, this was the only soft-shelled turtle I saw that day.

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Magpie (Pica pica)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

Flying shots are hard to get. The bird was on the path when I lifted the camera but I managed to get this photo without cutting off any part of its body, just barely.

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Cliff Swallow in its nest

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a close-up of a typical nest with the adult peering out. Mud gathering has made its bill appear lighter than it actually is.

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Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

The female Killdeer in this picture is adopting a wounded bird pose and making a distress call. She is trying to lure me away from her nest by convincing me she is easy prey. Luckily for her I only wanted her photo.

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Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

I took this photo April 4th of this year while in London. I didn't know what it was at the time but I knew I had never seen this duck before. I was quite taken with the brilliant gold of it's head. When the sun shone on its head there was an amazing metallic sheen which really has to be seen in person to be appreciated. These pochards are not found in the United States.

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Dog with orange ball

(272 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a happy dog. He's getting exercise, interacting in the park with his human companion. And that's a nice orange ball! I've been watching the Dog Whisperer lately and exercise is a hugely important factor in a dog's physical and mental health. I always thought that a big back yard eliminated the need to take your dogs on walks. Boy, was I wrong. Leave your dog in the backyard all day, wrongly thinking it will get exercise, and you will just create a very bored dog. A bored dog full of . . .

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Domesticated Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides)

(271 views)
by Terry Costales

This is a photo of a domesticated Swan Gooseoriginally called a Chinese goose. I've seen geese like this in California, Washington and France. Clearly they must adapt easily to many different climates.

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Cliff Swallow in Flight (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

(271 views)
by Terry Costales

This picture was taken just after the swallow had gathered a mouthful of mud to add to its nest. It plainly shows the tail shape that helps to distinguish it from the Barn Swallow. This is the kind of swallow that returns each year from Goya, Argentina to the San Juan Capistrano mission each March.

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Young Snowy Egrets

(271 views)
by Terry Costales

These 3 birds are all siblings but one is quite smaller than the rest. I kept expecting it to get shoved aside, or even knocked out of the nest, but it really held it's own. The mother would fly up to feed them and the little one was always in the front making the most noise and waggling its outstretched wings up and down in a frantic "feed me" dance. The young don't have the black legs or yellow feet like their parents, just a green that changes gradually to the adult colors as they grow.

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Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

(271 views)
by Terry Costales

This snowy owl at the Dublin Zoo was very quiet but, if it had spoken, it would have had an unusual voice.

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Barn Swallow

(271 views)
by Terry Costales

This picture was taken moments after the one I posted yesterday. It's a small bird, about 7 inches long, and was singing its little heart out. I only saw a couple of barn swallows that day, but there were almost a hundred cliff swallows nesting under the eaves of the Interpretive Center. The name barn swallow derives from the fact that their nests are usually found inside barns. The nest is an open cup made of mud mixed with grass.

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