Readers’ wildlife photographs

Many thanks to the several folks who have sent me wildlife photos in the past two days. I’ll post a dollop of them now.

Reader Joe Dickinson sent an honorary cat:

Some urban wildlife:  This raccoon (Procyon lotor) faced me down (and my d*g as well) during an early morning walk in Capitola, CA.  You can see windows of an apartment building in the background.  A companion (mate?) had just disappeared into a hedge on the other side of the street when my companion’s behavior called attention to this one much closer by:


John Williamson sent this photo (not his; it’s from National Geographic) of a juvenile longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus), with the comment “quite a set of choppers”. Its location is puzzling until you read the Nat. Geo. story, which explains why the damn thing was caught in a fence.


Photo by Andrés Ruzo from National Geographic

Douglas Grohne sent an alligator snap:

I was taking a walk this morning in Lake Charles, LA, and this amazing native asked me to extend an invitation to your other readers’ wildlife. He would love to have them for dinner.

Due to a successful conservation effort, Alligator mississippiensis has come back from near extinction. In fact, we are seeing them trying to reclaim some lost territory. One was seen marching across a casino golf course, and another visited the Garden Center at the local Lowe’s.
Finally, Stephen Barnard sent some bird photos from Idaho:
This Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) fledgling was in a newly cut hay field with an adult, probably preying on mangled and displaced  voles. The adult flew off before I could get a shot and the fledgling flew onto a wheel line before joining the adults on a favorite perch. Two chicks were hatched and grew to fledgling size, but I think only this one survived.
Also, the hummingbirds have started showing up in good numbers. This is a Rufous (Selasphorus rufus), but I’ve also seen Black-chinned  (Archilochus alexandri).


  1. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Years ago I went inner-tubing down a river at ‘Turkey Run’ in Indiana. It was amazing, with water snakes hanging on the branches like so many vines, and alligator gars lurking below in the crystal clear waters.
    Not a trip for the squeamish.

  2. eric
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Re: the first pic, it is fascinating to me that there seem to be so many cases of convergent evolution for the ring tail fur pattern. Is there something specific to tails that makes rings a good camouflage for them?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      In the ring tailed lemur it is a flag for communication that says ‘follow me’. Perhaps it is a signal between racoons.

  3. Diane G.
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Joe, beautiful shot of that raccoon!

    John–fascinating! But–poor gar!

    Douglas, lol at dinner invitation. 😀 I love the way gators always seem to have grins.

    Stephen, great looks at that fledgling! Too bad only one survived. And that hummer is stunning!

  4. Posted July 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    This is, admittedly, an odd thing to say about alligators, I’ve always found watching them swim along the surface to be peaceful. They just easily wag that immensely powerful tail back and forth and glide through the water seemingly effortlessly.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      “…glide through the water seemingly effortlessly.”
      Until they see a sunburned guitar dude flopping about in shallow water. Now the alligator goes into non-peaceful mode. Hungry, alert, swift in purpose, he heads in your direction, jaws agape.

      • Posted July 13, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Yes, they do have an emphatically less docile side.
        My Grandfather and I used to go camping along the banks of the Kissimmee River during the late winter to fish for what colloquially were referred to as speckled perch. What little I know about icthyology suggests that this species is not an actual perch, but I digress.
        Our quarry’s favorite hangout is close to the bank with lots of cover. Which means, when you go fishing for speckled perch, your chances of surprising and annoying an alligator are very high.
        They don’t like it when you rumble across their gator hole.

  5. Marella
    Posted July 10, 2015 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Life is very fragile, I bet “caught in a fence” is not how that Gar thought it would die!

  6. Posted July 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    What an awful way to die, stuck in a chain link fence. 😦 When I was into fishing, many years ago, I once caught a gar. It’s true, the skin is like armour plate and those teeth are fierce. Now that I’ve read about gars, if I ever should catch another one, I’m throwing it back into the drink.

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