Violet Sabrewing, Costa Rica

Return of Bird of the Week: Violet Sabrewing


Another stunningly beautiful hummingbird, to which WC’s photo doesn’t begin to do justice. A gem of purple, blue and green, with a strongly decurved bill, this is another ridiculously colorful hummingbird. It’s also Central America’s largest hummingbird, measuring 15 centimeters (a little over 5.25 inches). Unlike most hummingbirds, male Sabrewings compete for females on a…

On June 2, members of the D.C. National Guard stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during ongoing protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

Notes on Win Mcnamee’s Photo


WC had never heard of photographer Win Mcnamee before this photo appeared in the Washington Post. His capture of the Washington, D.C. national guard members standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is among the most forceful images to come out of the protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. The photo…

Black-crowned Night Heron headed to the rookery; Snake River Canyon, Idaho

Watching Commuter Traffic


WC was off the grid the last few days, which explains the absence of a blog post yesterday. It wasn’t exactly a hardship post: Banbury Hot Springs, which has a very nice RV camping area and private hot spring-fed, jacuzzi-jetted hot tubs, which are very thing for a geezer’s sore muscles after schlepping a camera…

Sora, Centennial Marsh, Camas Prairie, Idaho

Sora Sighting


WC has written about Sora before, and the difficulties of photographing them. Sora are rails, a clade of birds that are famously secretive. Sora are probably the most widely distributed of the North American rails. You hear them much, much more often than you see them. The Sora takes its name from one of its…

Yellow-breasted Chat, Blacks Creek, Idaho

A Road Trip to Prairie


It’s not a prairie; it’s another victim of Idahoans’ tendency to name any modest-sized, nearly flat spot a “prairie.” In fact, Prairie is in the middle of Smith’s Prairie, a volcanic caldera, the same caldera that is believed to have produced the basalt flows that dammed the South Fork of the Boise River. The “prairie”…