North Dakota - June 2017 - More Photos

Images of Prairie Dog, Ruddy Duck, Upland Sandpiper, Eastern Kingbird and Yellow-headed Blackbird follow.

Larger versions of the photos can be viewed by clicking on the image.

Prairie Dog - Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit - North Dakota

I saw several colonies of Prairie Dogs as I drove through the various areas I birded, but did not see Burrowing Owls in or near any of these locations.

Ruddy Duck - Chase Lake NWR - North Dakota

Adult male Ruddy Duck in breeding plumage. All About Birds (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology) notes that Ruddy Ducks have "seemingly oversized tails that they habitually hold upright" and that breeding males "are almost cartoonishly bold, with a sky-blue bill, shining white cheek patch, and gleaming chestnut body." The prairie pothole region of North Dakota is one of their major breeding areas.

Upland Sandpiper -  Rhame Prairie area - North Dakota

These "shorebirds" are found in grasslands, not on shores. Upland Sandpipers are found in open country with tall grasses and, according to Wikipedia, at airports, blueberry farms and abandoned strip mines.

Eastern Kingbird - Lostwood NWR -  North Dakota

Eastern Kingbirds were everywhere, but I did not take many photos because they are also commonly found in many areas that I visit in the southeastern U.S.

Yellow-headed Blackbird - Horsehead Lake WMA - North Dakota

I rarely see Yellow-headed Blackbirds in my usual birding areas and enjoyed watching their behaviors and trying to capture decent images of these birds.

Yellow-headed Blackbird - Horsehead Lake WMA - North Dakota

Adult male Yellow-headed Blackbird

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.