On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
We have an interesting week ahead! Bird butts are first on the menu, needing no introduction, then Gin & Tonic takes us from the desert to the sea, and Bill takes us to the lake. Then way2blue takes us drinking in the countryside (I took quite a bit of poetic license with that description!) and we finish off the week with first-time contributor Cheryl who peeked her head out in the lurkers thread and talked about the shelter photos she takes of rescue pets!
Oh, and if you don’t start sending in Christmas photos of when you were a kid, we may have to take a week or two off for Christmas! Come on guys, I want to see all of you in your jammies when you were 5.
Week 2 of Bird Butts Before Breakfast features some handsome heinies, and another Quiz Bird!
Here’s a bird that is on the want-to-see list for lots of North American birders, since it tends to most common in places where humans and human habitations are less common. You won’t often see them perched in a tree, however. Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus).
This bird, Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) is named (twice!) for its bright yellow head, which is indeed an obvious and helpful field mark. But a better name might be the Yellow-vented Blackbird!
This Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) paused on its annual migration from our North American prairies to the pampas of South America, and gave me a chance to admire its better side.
‘Tis the season for consumption of Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), but you will have to wait until spring to see this fan-dancing display for the ladies.
Second-year male Summer Tanagers (Piranga rubra) have interesting blotchy plumages, with red and yellow patches distributed seemingly randomly. This one has a very attractive look from the rear, however.
A flock of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) pretending to be the Rockettes.
Most birds do not have a particularly distinctive rear end, but the rufous undertail of the Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is familiar to most North American birders.
Upland Sandpipers (Bartramia longicauda) usually land in a wings-up display, then primly fold their wings into a more normal position. One of the iconic birds of our local prairies.
This slim profile of a Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is not a typical angle; usually we see the more elongated side-view. But they are handsome from any angle, including this one. That genus name, by the way, means Earth-cuckoo, and they are indeed mostly ground-dwelling members of the cuckoo family, although they can fly quite well.
And finally, here is your Bird Butt Before Breakfast quiz bird for the day! The correct answer will appear in the comments later.
Er, um … goldfinch?
Love the Rockettes
The Swainson’s Hawk seems to have given us a projectile opinion.
The plumage on the roadrunner is exceptional.
Gin & Tonic
I’ll play–vireo? Or a warbler of some sort. I don’t have a good sense of scale, and zero sense of the birds in your area (I’m in eastern MA).
Not going to guess. But thanks for giving us a new perspective on birds!
Great Crested Flycatcher?
The Upland Sandpiper shot is amazing.
I like how the blackbird’s butt matches the flowers!
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Hey not to highjack the thread, but I saw this yesterday and wondered if you use this technique at all: image averaging. I know you work on your astrophotography pictures a lot, but I don’t recall if this specific technique was one that you use or have tried, but I thought of you when I saw it.
@Rob: Yes! You can see a hint of rufous in that tail, and the bill profile from underneath says “flycatcher”. Good work!
I love these photos so much, every time. Thank you Albatrossity.
Gorgeous, all of them!