Between getting over a cold and waiting out the most epic storms the Bay Area has seen in decades, I haven’t gotten many opportunities for photography in 2023. I finally was able to take advantage of a break in the weather to visit the Palo Alto Baylands.

While I was walking around, I heard the distinctive trill of a Bewick’s Wren. I’ve only recently started looking for wrens, after photographing Carolina Wrens in Raleigh, and photographing the unrelated fairywrens in Sydney.

Wrens are such fun birds. They love to dash around wagging their long tails, skipping up to a high perch to belt out of an elaborate song, and then running off keep insect populations in check. Happily for photographers, they don’t like getting too high off the ground.

I see a lot of Carolina Wren photographs on Instagram, but fewer photos of Bewick’s Wrens. I’m not quite sure why, but I suspect it’s a combination of Bewick’s Wrens being a bit harder to find and being a bit more drab than their eastern cousins. Their population has been decreasing as they’ve been outcompeted by House Wrens in the eastern US. House Wrens have a nasty habit of knocking Bewick’s Wren eggs out of nest to limit their ability to compete!

Fortunately, Bewick’s Wrens are doing better on the west coast. We’re also lucky to have one of the more colorful Bewick’s Wrens subspecies here in the Bay Area. No matter where you go, however, a Bewick’s Wren will always sport a very jaunty stripe on its brow.

This was just a quick outing, and I didn’t have the right gear to wallow in the mud like I usually would. As a result, I didn’t get any great opportunities at the ducks and shorebirds that were flying around enjoying low tide on the mudflats. I got a nice photo of a Black Phoebe, and a fellow park visitor enjoying the view.