Tres Amigos, Redux

As I mentioned long, long ago, in a previous post (it seems) not only do you find Black-necked Stilts where you find American Avocets, but you are also likely to find White-faced Ibis.  

I couldn’t quite believe my eyes the first time I saw a White-faced Ibis at Malheur.  I would have sworn it was a tropical bird that had wandered off course, not a bird you can regularly find in Southern Oregon and Utah.

When I first saw one, it was that long, curved beak that stood out.  Over time, though, it was the breeding plumage that fascinated, 

White-faced Ibis

and frustrated, me as a photographer.   At a distance or in poor light the plumage appears to be a dark, muddy brown, but seen in just the right light and right distance it is absolutely beautiful,

White-faced Ibis

and the closer you get

White-faced Ibis

the more beautiful and distinctive it appears.

close-up of White-faced Ibis

Color me Confused

I got a bit of a shock yesterday after posting my entry on Black-necked Stilts at Bear River.  When I received my entry by email it was accompanied by a warning from Google that it contained a malicious link to a Wikipedia article.

While looking up information about Black-necked Stilts on Google’s Bard I copied a part of a line that said that stilts are“colonial nesters” with a link to Wikipedia where that information could be found.  

In the end, I didn’t quote the line directly but paraphrased it and took out the link to Wikipedia — at least I thought I did.  I deleted the blue highlighted word and typed in my own words.  

Apparently, the link stayed though it doesn’t appear anywhere on the page I entered in WordPress.  I’m not sure how to get rid of a link that doesn’t even appear on the page.  In an abundance of caution, I went back and deleted the whole section — but I have no way of knowing if I actually managed to delete the link.

This whole incident raises so many questions. First of all, why would Google’s Bard include a link to a site that Google itself says is “suspect”? I know they warn you that you need to check the “facts” they use, but that’s really not the same as embedding a link to a site that they consider “dangerous,” or at least suspicious.

Second, does Wikipedia really contain links to sites that may mislead you or trick you into downloading dangerous software?  If so, why the heck aren’t they policing their links?

Finally, if you delete a linked word, how can you be sure that the accompanying link has actually been deleted?  If the linking word has been deleted, how can a reader click on that link to go to that site?  

More at Ft. Flagler

We may have gone to Fort Flagler to see shorebirds migrating, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t notice all the other birds that were there.

Though I’ve begun seeing them in other places, I have seen more Black Oystercatchers at Ft. Flagler than all the other places combined.  On this visit I finally got a picture of one with a catch, a small clam.    

Black Oystercatcher with Clam

A little research revealed that Oystercatchers eat all kinds of shellfish, not just oysters.

A Bald Eagle is also a resident of the park, and, though I would have preferred to not have seen it while birding the peninsula, there he suddenly was.

Bald Eagle

I suspect Mr. Eagle is the reason there have been so few Harlequin Ducks at Ft. Flagler the last two years, but this pair seems to still be hanging in there.

pair of Harlequin Ducks

It’s nearly impossible not to see birds when they’re this close (though a surprising number of the people walking the beach apparently don’t look at them), but, if you look out into the bay long enough, you’re sure to see even more birds offshore, like these three Red-Breasted Mergansers, 

Red-breasted Mergansers in the distance

and these Bufflehead ducks.

a small flock of Bufflehead ducks

Sometimes you even catch a glimpse of a different kind of wildlife even though you’re just focused on finding birds.

Loon and Harbor Seal

I suspect there might not be as many birds at Ft. Flagler in the summer but I don’t really know since we usually head up to the mountains then, but it has always been an awe-some place to bird when we’ve been there.

Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitchers

When it comes to camouflage, the Dunlin’s breeding plumage is nearly as good as the Black-Bellied Plover.  Though it’s not nearly as distinctive, its black belly and spangled back, made it hard enough to see that my auto-focus ended up focusing on the barnacled rocks rather than on the Dunlin. 

Dunlin in breeding plumage

Luckily, its habit of wading out into the water to feed makes it easier to get a good photo.


Although the Short-Billed Dowitcher has the same spangled back as the Black-Bellied Plover and the Dunlin, its rusty breast and long beak clearly set it apart from those two.

Short-billed Dowitcher

Although they’re called Short-billed Dowitcher, their bill is much longer than most shorebirds,  and watching them feed made me wonder what the heck they were eating.  

According to the Cornell Lab All About Birds:  “Short-billed Dowitchers restlessly probe muddy substrates with the bill held vertically, in search of buried invertebrate, especially marine worms, mollusks (small clams), crustaceans (fiddler crab, shrimp), and isopods and amphipods of various kinds. … When they detect prey beneath the mud, dowitchers consume it immediately with the exception of larger worms, which they pull from the burrow and consume above the water.”

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