Juvenile Common Yellowthroat

I’ve sighted several Common Yellowthroats at Theler this year, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a juvenile Common Yellowthroat, and this little guy seemed almost as curious about me as I was about him.

Normally, you get one quick chance at getting a shot of a Common Yellowthroat before they disappear into a nearby thicket.

This juvenile acted more like the nearby Marsh Wren than a Yellowthroat, hanging around for a good ten minutes while I snapped shot after shot.

You Know You’re Paying Attention

when you manage to sight a Virginia Rail. You’re just plain lucky, or patient, if you manage to get a decent shot of them.

The highlight of one of our recent trips the Theler Wetlands was finally managing to sight this Virginia Rail

as it wove its way in and out of the reeds searching for food. Even more exciting was seeing the chick following it.

I’ve never seen one this young before and was a little shocked that it appeared to be jet black.

Normally I move on after I’ve sighted a bird, but having seen the chick that I’d never seen before, I stuck around awhile longer until both of them were in better light.

The adult colors seemed quite different in full sunlight,

and the mud provided a nice contrast to the chick’s black feathers.

Pretty clear why they stay in the reed’s shadows most of the time.

One Good Bird Weasel

When I started birding with Ruth Sullivan when birding was slow she would always say, “One good bird, that’s all we need” to make our day successful. The Green Heron we saw on our first visit back to Theler would have been enough to make my day, but then Leslie spotted this weasel

at the main bridge while I was gazing into the distance. It was so close that I had trouble finding it even when she pointed it out.

I have seen a weasel several times but never this close. I was surprised when it climbed up onto the bridge,

ran forward a couple of feet,

and ducked behind a post,

all the time staring intently at me.

Though I’ll admit to being a tad nervous when it ran toward me and not away, it made my day.

Still Learning at 75

I don’t know if 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ but I have found that seeking out beauty

often leads to new insights about nature. I never miss a chance to get a shot of a Snowy Egret because it yields some beautiful photos.

While photographing this Snow Egret, though, I saw something I had never noticed before. At first I thought it was just trying to quietly walk while stalking prey, something common to all herons,

but it soon became clear that wasn’t what was going on.

The egret was actually moving its foot up and down in one spot, consciously stirring up the water.

I still don’t know exactly what it was trying to stir up, but it was clearly a hunting strategy.

I found this intriguing enough that I was going to post it earlier, but about the time that I was going to post it Robin Andrea posted an article noting the same behavior on her blog so I thought I would wait a respectable period before posting my observations. Cornell’s “All About Birds” says that the Snowy Egret "often uses its bright yellow feet to paddle in the water or probe in the mud, rounding up prey before striking with its bill.”