Archive for the ‘Bird Discoveries’ Category

Birds of Safari West

Today I visited Safari West in Santa Rosa, where I had the pleasure of seeing more than 30 different species of bird from Africa and around the world, including:

  • African Lesser Flamingo, African Spoonbill, American Flamingo, Black Swan, Blue-Crowned Pigeon, Cape Thick-Knee, Cattle Egret, Demoiselle Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Fischer’s Lovebird, Greater African Flamingo, Green Turaco, Hamerkop, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Laughing Kookaburra, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Purple Swamphen, Ostrich, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red Junglefowl (rooster!), Sacred Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill, Spur-winged Lapwing, Taveta Golden Weaver, Trumpeter Hornbill, Waldrapp Ibis, White-Bellied Stork (also called Abdim’s Stork), White-Faced Whistling Duck, White Stork, & Wood Duck





Scarlet Ibis

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.13.28 PM

Hammerkop & Sacred Ibis

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 11.17.26 PM

Waldrapp Ibis & White-Bellied Crane


Damoiselle Crane


Jane Beal,




Did a bone vulture kill the Greek playwright Aeschylus?

As myth has it, a bone vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) did kill Aeschylus, the Ancient Greek playwright who wrote the trilogy called the Oresteia, the tragedy of Agamemnon and his family. The vulture did so by dropping a bone on his head, a bone which the bird intended to shatter so that it would be able to eat smaller pieces of it. For bone vultures, also known as lammergeiers, eat bones.

They also “paint” their white feathers red or orange, using reddish soil, but they do so secretly. The behavior appears to be instinctual and is used to assert status among the vultures, who are cousins to the much smaller Egyptian Vulture. To learn more about bone vultures, read on.

  • Thanks to ULV English major, graduating senior, and future librarian, Meredith Jones, for bringing the bone vulture to my attention!

Reddish Egret


I saw the Reddish Egret today for the first time, and it was completely amazing! The bird had so much energy, dancing in the shallow waters of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and snatching up its breakfast. To see a recording of this dance, visit:

The Reddish Egret

Handlist of Birds Seen in England, Summer 2018

Leeds Castle
Barnacle Geese
Black-headed Gull
Brown Wood Owl
Chacao Owl
Eurasian Eagle Owl
Harris Hawk
Snowy Owl
Steppe Eagle
White-Fronted Goose

Canterbury Cathedral, WWI Memorial
English Robin

Warwick Castle
Andean Condor
Black Kite
Egyptian Vulture
Golden Eagle
Milky Eagle Owl

University of Leeds
European Kestrel
Giant Saker Falcon
Red-Tailed Buzzard
Saker Falcon
White-Faced Owl

House Martin
Sand Martin
House Sparrows
Wild Pheasant (from the train window)

York (on the river)
Canada Geese

Kennilworth Castle
Stock Pigeons

Royal Victoria Park, Bath
Canada Geese
Common Gull
Garganey (female)
Great Black-Backed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-Backed Gull
Rock Doves
Yellow-Legged Gull

Carrion Crow

Abbey in Lacock

Castle Combe
Mute Swan


Chalice Well Garden, Glastonbury

Glastonbury Abbey

Stock Dove



Peacock & Cross (ca. 1970s), Wells Cathedral, Wells


Birds at Omi’s House

Omi's Birds

Happy Thanksgiving, Mew Gull!


This morning, I went out to hike Bonelli Regional Park, and I noticed a new bird by the water: the Mew Gull! I spotted six or seven at least during my time walking around Puddingstone Reservoir. The large black eye, blacked-tipped wings, dual-colored bill (black and yellow), and light-colored legs made the ID. A beautiful bird to see on Thanksgiving Day! I loved watching it circle in flight and zoom through the American coots to compete for bread a little boy was tossing out to the birds from the bank.

I also saw the red-tailed hawk, black phoebe, Canadian geese, greater white-fronted geese, mallards, a Great Blue heron, Great White Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, several lesser goldfinches, a juvenile gull — very gray!

I saw yellow-rumped warblers darting between tree branches. I usually only see them in NorCal when it is cold, around January … but it is not cold here, today. It’s 90 degrees!