Readers’ wildlife photographs

First, reader Diana MacPherson goes all abstract on us with an artsy photo of a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):

Here is something completely different…I was trying out my Sony NEX-7 camera with an adapter (metabones) that allows me to use my Sigma (with a Canon mount) macro lens with it. I just wanted to see if I could make it work. The dandelion seeds look like neurons to me.


I have a substantial backlog of great photos from Stephen Barnard, which I’ll release slowly. These are from April 25:

A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) bringing material to the nest. I’ve determined that there are at least two eagle chicks and I have video to prove it. [JAC: We’ve seen it.]


American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) attacking a Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera):


Reader James Billie sent us some of his local birds:

The turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were taken from our front porch.  The hen is ignoring the display of the cock.


The common loon (Gavia immer) is taken from our back deck.  He/she is fishing in our pond.


The great egret (Ardea alba) is also taken from our back deck.  The white plumage is a bit burned out – darned that auto-exposure!  J



  1. Posted May 19, 2015 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    These are all wonderful photos. Thanks for the morning walk in your personal paradises, All.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    How are the little eaglets doing? Its been a while since I had heard anything.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      They’re thriving.

  3. Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I hate wild turkeys. I’ve held a grudge ever since elementary school, when I was just trying to walk out to the end of the driveway to wait for the schoolbus, and a wild turkey decided to chase me around my own yard. Stupid bird.

    (Honestly, I’ve gotten over it, but I wasn’t particularly fond of them when I was younger and smaller.)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I feel this way about Canada geese. I don’t hate them but when they give me dirty looks, I get nervous. I used to work in a park and they’d lolly gag across the road making drivers stop. If you kept driving at a steady pace, they’d move but they’d hiss. It made me laugh to see their beaks open in a hiss and I wonder if dinosaurs hissed rather than roared.

      • Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        I could see dinos hissing much like Gila monsters and komodo dragons.

        • Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

          Oh, and just the other day, while being captivated by a housefinch who’s been relentlessly making mating serenades (he’s been outta luck so far but he’s a very determined little fella), I wondered how the melodious twitterings and chirpings evolved
          (alongside the bodies)all the way from dinosaurs.

      • Marella
        Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Me too, but with swans. Got monstered by a pair of black swans in Perth once, never felt the same about them since.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I think its the male turkeys that can do that. And yes they can be a problem. Sitting here I can easily think that I would stand my ground and pwn the jerky turkey, but when confronted by a real one? I would probably back off pretty fast.

  4. mclaughlinr
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Great photos. I’d bet that the ignoring turkey is also a male, possibly a juvenile or jake, based on a) the red on the head, which are dewlap on the neck and snood above the beak, and b) the dark, essentially black, color of body feathers.

    • Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Interesting! I’m no expert on turkeys! 🙂

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      That makes sense. I know that a peacock will display in front of anything that remotely resembles a peahen, like a tree stump or a football. So male turkeys should be pretty similar.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:41 am | Permalink

        “…like a tree stump or a football.”

        How adaptive.

  5. Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Love the egret photo!

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, the reflection really sets it off.

  6. Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Nice ones Stephen and Diana.

    I particularly like the dandelion photo.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink


      • Diane G.
        Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:44 am | Permalink

        Very cool, Diana!

  7. Mark R.
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    If you didn’t tell me that was a dandelion, I would guess it was an alien life form. 🙂 It actually does look like neurons or something microscopic. Macro photography is really fun.

    Terrific series of birds. The loon’s red eye is sort of creepy, but I like it: demon bird. muwahahaha

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      “The loon’s red eye is sort of creepy, but I like it: demon bird. muwahahaha”

      Matching it’s sound!

  8. Mark Joseph
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Why is the avocet attacking the teal?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Pure bloody mindedness as far as I can tell. Birds are like that. They tend to be quarrelsome.

  9. Marella
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    The dandelion is very arty, and all the photos are fabulous. I want to be reborn as Stephen Barnard in my next life.

  10. Diane G.
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    jblilie, what a fantastic yard you must have!

    As does Stephen. 😀

    • Posted May 20, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks, yes, we really enjoy it; but we are much more urban than Stephen is in Idaho (I admit to be very envious of his location; my wife and I will eventually retire to a similar sort of property “out West”, which we own.)

      Our current home (near Minneapolis, Minnesota) has a large-ish pond system along the back of our yard and a large County Open Space across the street. We only have neighbors on the sides of the house, so we never see the other houses from inside the house. From the front windows, you just see the street and trees. From the back, you just see pond and trees.

      The surroundings are a mix of open meadows, small woodlots, marshes, and ponds. All of that is either protected or too wet to develop (we have pretty strong wetlands protection laws in MN now). We are also in the Mississippi Flyway.

      This provides for a greater variety of birds than I’ve ever seen anywhere else I’ve lived. I can’t compare with Stephen’s counts; but we have a bird list that is 2-1/2 columns long, single-spaced on 8-1/2 X 11 inch paper. We only record ones we’ve seen from our house or decks/porches and can positively identify.

      While sitting on our back deck, I’ve watched mink and otters fishing in the pond, very large snapping turtles mating, an osprey take a fish (right in front of me), loons fishing, herons and egrets taking fish and frogs, Coopers Hawks striking robins and mourning doves, kingfishers caching fish, etc., etc.

      All this just 20 minutes by road from downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul. We feel very fortunate.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        Ah, that is amazing! Don’t be surprised if your western retirement location doesn’t begin to approach what you have now.

        I pine for the west–I grew up in Oregon and have always wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest. But surprisingly here, in the rural area between Kalamazoo & Battle Creek, MI, I have a much more intimate association with a variety of birds. I guess we’re on the path of a migratory flyway; but I just don’t remember seeing these bird species densities in the NW.

        I regularly have Trumpeter Swans flying over and Sandhill Cranes foraging in the field. Unlike the west, this is warbler country each spring, and because we have 20 acres of old field, fencerows, & marsh, we have a number of nesting sparrows, flycatchers, doves, bluebirds, Ruby-throated Hummers, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, etc.

        I’m sure you get all those too. What we don’t have is a significant water feature(s) like you do, though we do have a spring-fed pond that acts more or less like a vernal pond most years; it attracts a mallard pair & a wood duck pair each year, and rarely a heron or two.

        Your location sounds positively ideal!

        • Posted May 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Interesting that you are from OR. Our place is in White Salmon, WA, right across the river from Hood River.

          We really love it out there.

          And yes, the variety of birds is much less there. But it makes up for it in climate, mountains, big trees, volcanoes, wild rivers, the ocean near at hand. I much prefer a marine climate!

          • Diane G.
            Posted May 23, 2015 at 12:14 am | Permalink

            Couldn’t agree more! Let me know when you finish the guest house.

            • Posted May 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

              We will have a guest house! The current small structure will be retained after we build a somewhat larger, more modern place.

              It’s a few years away yet, unfortunately.

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 29, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                What a wonderful thing to look forward to. 🙂

  11. writerswebwebzine
    Posted May 22, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on WORDS DROPLETS.

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