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Black Oystercatchers

A few summers ago, photographer Gregg Thompson followed a Black Oystercatcher family near the Tsawwassen Ferry dock outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. Look at the way they change as they grow!# # #All photos are © Gregg Thompson and may not be used without permission.Check out this story... read more »

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In Winter, Puffins Lead Very Different Lives

Every summer, puffins — like this Horned Puffin — grow blazingly colorful layers over the bases of their huge beaks. But in the winter, puffins lead very different lives, and they shed their bright ornamentation. Puffins in winter are largely solitary — and silent. They spend about seven months... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Late Summer Shorebirds

Celebrating Shorebirds!It's late summer and all across North America, millions of shorebirds — sandpipers and plovers — are on the move. Seattle photographer Gregg Thompson has been following the annual pilgrimage for the last few years.Here's a handful of the birds he's seen. Thanks, Gregg... read more »

Have You Ever Seen a Pink Gull?

Some gulls and terns may show a glowing pink color, similar to that of flamingos and spoonbills. This pink color comes from pigments in the birds' food called carotenoids. These gulls and terns are able to convert these naturally occurring pigments to hues that may enhance their success at... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Merganser Mojo

Gregg Thompson found a Red-breasted Merganser in gorgeous breeding plumage at Edmonds Marina north of Seattle. This male was making all the traditional courtship moves. We hope there was a receptive lady around to appreciate his skill and beauty.Our guy is getting ready: his crest is lowered.Now... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  behavior

Snipe Hunt!

Gregg Thompson went hunting for good photos of shorebirds in the rich wetlands of Juanita Bay, east of Seattle. He found several Wilson’s Snipes showing off their hunting skills.Cryptic brown, tan, and gray markings can make a Wilson’s Snipe hard to find in wet, open habitats like these mud flats... read more »

Black Turnstones Head South

Black Turnstones are back at Alki! It's mid-August and Gregg Thompson is photographing Black Turnstones returning to the Puget Sound area for the winter. And he's trying to sort through the group, studying different plumages and ages. Most of these birds are adult non-breeders or adults coming... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Do Penguins Blush?

Humboldt Penguins living along the Pacific Coast of Chile and Peru are adapted to cold. But on land, temperatures rise to 100+ degrees, and penguins need to cool off. So these penguins have pink patches of bare skin on their face, under their wings, and on their feet. On hot days, the patches... read more »

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Caspian Terns Tussle

At the Everett Marina in northwestern Washington State, photographer Gregg Thompson witnessed a serious squabble between two Caspian Terns: “This was on feeding grounds, and there were lots of birds in the same area. These two guys kept going at it. Lots of screeching. Stopped fighting and then... read more »

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Shorebirds Watch Their Feet

Greater Yellowlegs — not surprisingly — have bright yellow legs and feet. And why? While foraging through shallow water, a yellowlegs (like this one) can keep track of its legs by the color, which contrasts with the sometimes dark and irregular bottom. A Sanderling, on the other hand, has black... read more »

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