2015 Round-up – Top 40 Photos Of The Year

The sun sets behind the western horizon, casting the offshore sea stacks into shadow, Bandon, Oregon

I recently finished compiling my top 40 picks from the last 12 months. The gallery is an assortment of my various trips and outings, including trips to India, Mexico and Canada. As always, there is a mixture of bird, wildlife and landscape, including some previously unpublished.

Please enjoy the gallery below. For best viewing (especially if viewing on a mobile device), please click on the following photo:

The sun sets behind the western horizon, casting the offshore sea stacks into shadow, Bandon, Oregon
The sun sets behind the western horizon, casting the offshore sea stacks into shadow, Bandon, Oregon

To view the gallery, click here to see individual photos.


If you are interested in compilations from previous years, please see the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 lists.

Black-headed Ibis Feeding Chicks

A black-headed ibis feeds two large chicks, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India
A black-headed ibis feeds two large chicks, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India

My recent trip to India was timed well with getting to see chicks feeding from their parent. By this time in their lives, the chicks were nearly as large as the adult, however they still relied on the parent to feed and shelter them.

A black-headed ibis feeds two large chicks, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India
A black-headed ibis feeds two large chicks, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India

Although I had never seen a black-headed ibis before, I was familiar with the feeding behavior of this size of bird. Typically the adult will eat food away from the nest and then bring it back, regurgitating the food for consumption by the juvenile.

This photo shows just how far the chick will insert its beak into that of the parent. During this feeding, only one of the chicks got food, pushing its sibling away from the parent with its wing. This survival of the fittest instinct is common amongst siblings – sometimes they go so far as to push each other out of the nest so that they themselves have a better chance at survival.

A black-headed ibis stands on a large rock in a shallow lake, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India
A black-headed ibis stands on a large rock in a shallow lake, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India

Although the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary was technically off season for the peak of bird activity, there were many ibis in and around the water. Most were nesting in trees and feeding their young, but several were out in the open, offering nice portrait opportunities.

A black-headed ibis stands on a large rock in a shallow lake, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India
A black-headed ibis stands on a large rock in a shallow lake, Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, India

While not a beautiful bird by any means, it was great to get up close and personal with a new species. Appreciation of even the most common birds brings forward interesting and previously unseen details, allowing for much greater enjoyment of the natural world.

Black-necked Stilt Chicks

For my New Year’s post this year, I added an image of a black-necked stilt chick and its mother. I have finally processed additional photos from that day of the same chick and its siblings (there were three altogether).

A black-necked stilt chick wades through shallow water looking for food
A black-necked stilt chick wades through shallow water looking for food

I found this family at a popular birding spot near my home. While I had heard reports that nesting activity had occurred here in the past, I had never seen stilt chicks here myself. It was a joy to watch these little guys stumble around on shaky legs until they got tired, and had to take a break by sitting down on the shoreline.

A black-necked stilt chick takes a rest on the shoreline next to a still pond
A black-necked stilt chick takes a rest on the shoreline next to a still pond

Soon enough, they would recover and bounce back into action. One of the three was more adventurous than then others, venturing away from the shelter of the brush in search of food.

A black-necked stilt chick is reflected in still water as it looks for food along a narrow island
A black-necked stilt chick is reflected in still water as it looks for food along a narrow island

It was fun to watch them interact with each other. I could imagine talking to each other in their own little language, telling each other where the best food could be found.

Two black-necked stilt siblings stand close together in shallow water
Two black-necked stilt siblings stand close together in shallow water

When one chick would wander off too far, the mother would swoop in and corral it back to the others. Hopefully this family had good luck and all of these chicks made it through the nesting season. I look forward to scoping out this spot in the future for more nesting activity and a close up view of parents bringing these little ones into the world.