Readers’ wildlife photographs

Sometimes I get a bunch of singletons, or pairs of photographs, all within a day or two, and from different readers. That happened yesterday, and I like to put them up immediately so I don’t have to save a lot of emails (which tend to get lost). So here’s “melange day” for photographs.

First, reader Tony Eales from Brisbane sent a:

Just had to share this magnificent wee beastie I saw out at Roma, Queensland. It’s apparently a Crested KatydidAlectoria superba. That’s one fancy ornament on its head. All the better for speculative evolutionary hypotheses I suppose!

Do readers have any idea why it’s there, and if it’s present in only one sex?



From reader Louis Shackleton, who I don’t believe has sent in photos before:

Attached please find two photos of a Great Horned Owl [Bubo virginianus]. I shot these yesterday at Carolina Beach State Park in Carolina Beach, NC. …at 11:30 AM.
While walking through the park with my sweetheart, we saw a large bird swoop up into a tree, though with all the branches and brush between us and the bird, we couldn’t immediately identify it. Thinking it was probably a hawk of some sort, I put the long lens (500mm) on it, and was both delighted and surprised to see this Great Horned Owl in the middle of the day!
I’m an avid birder and bird photographer, but the GHOW had been on my Goddamnit List (so named because that’s what I usually say when I see a new species of bird but can’t get a photo of it) for over 3 years. I confess I’m inordinately tickled to have these shots, and thought your other readers might also enjoy them.

Diana MacPherson, who’s been MIA for a while, is back with chipmunks, or at least the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) that lives in her yard:

The chipmunk was awake & grooming and I found these shots I took cute and funny. This is a sample of many more. 🙂

Ugh! This job is killing me!


And stretch! Tomorrow I get my tutu!


I’d like to put this tail in the coat check, please.


Bleh, that sunflower seed tasted terrible!


Oy! This tie is strangling me!


Okay, quick last check. Do I have my keys?


And of course Stephen Barnard has furnished some swell photos, too:

Sometimes I go through my photos to find one I might have overlooked. Here’s one. It’s Desi [bald eagleHaliaeetus leucocephalus] with a Red-tailed Hawk [Buteo jamaicensis] trophy feather from his attack a moment before. He seems to be very proud of himself. While Desi was ridding the neighborhood of Red-tailed riffraff, Lucy was chilling by the nest. Can you see the difference in their eyes?



Here’s an old landscape photo I like a lot. It’s a high alpine lake near Stanley, Idaho.




  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    That katydid is in his battle fatigues, complete with Roman helmet!

  2. M
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I love these assortments.

    The katydid is a male, and you know what that means (nudge, nudge. Wink, wink). Actually, it could mean one of two possible things. But both have to do with s.e.x.

    Louis, I totally relate to your GHO experience. Many is the time I come across a bug that I must photograph, and me sans camera. Godammit. I have been thinking of lugging it around with me wherever I go, but that probably would not go over well in the mens’ room.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I always have a camera on me, even if it’s my phone camera but of course, it’s never the right camera!

      I’ve started bringing my Sony QX1 with my “do everything lens” and that has served me well but even it can be a lot of camera to carry.

      • Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Thank you both, M and Diana.

        And let me pass on a bit of wisdom that was passed on to me back in the early days:

        “The best camera in the world is the one you have on you at the time, and it’s the only one that matters.”

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

          I bought a Panasonic Lumix GH4 micro 4/3 (mirrorless) for digiscoping. While the digiscoping isn’t going particularly well and is on hold for a while, the GH4 is a pretty cool camera. I’ve ordered the new Panasonic/Leica 100-400mm zoom for it. That’s 200-800mm 35mm equivalent. It will be far lighter and more compact than my Canon DSLR kit, which is a chore to carry and impractical for travel.

          • Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Stephen, I recently swapped over completely to micro 4/3. I have a couple of Oly OM-D E-M10 bodies. I LOVE this system.

            I have the Lumix 100-300 zoom and love it. Amazing for such a small package!

            The 35-100 Lumix is also superb. And the 7-14mm.

            I pack everything from (equivalent) 14mm to 600mm into a bag the size of a kid’s lunch box and only a couple of pounds.

            Another nice thing about the 4/3 system: All are using the same lens mount system.

            That 100-400 ia a BIG boy (relative to other m 4/3 lenses) and the main reason I went m 4/3 is reduction in size/weight. And expensive. But, who knows, maybe some day! 🙂

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted March 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

              The Panasonic/Leica 100-400 (200-800 equivalent) weighs a bit over 2lbs. The Canon 500mm f4 II weighs a bit over 7lbs, and then there’s the 1.4x extender to 700mm and the 5D3 camera body, making for about 10lbs. BIG difference. It’s not just the drudgery of carrying it around (as great as it performs). I can handle that. it’s also the responsiveness for hand-held action shots and the convenience. We’ll see.

          • Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            Stephen, how do you find the sharpness of the 100-400?

            I am very happy with the 100-300.

            Cheers. And thanks for all your photos you’ve shared all the time. I really enjoy them!

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

              I don’t have it yet. It comes out on March 15. The early reviews have been positive. The acid test will be how well it does on birds in flight, which is where the Canon DSLR shines.

              • Posted March 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

                We’re looking forward to those images!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 11, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            The sad thing is you will be spoiled by your Canon and will find other cameras okay but not as good and then you will hum and haw about carrying the big camera and then finally decide on the small one and then complain…..I speak from experience. 🙂

        • Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          Right on! I almost always carry my Lumix LX5 with me.

    • Marlene Zuk
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      The katydid is indeed a male, since no ovipositor is visible, but I’m skeptical about the crest being only found in one sex, since to my knowledge katydids all use sound for mate attraction, not visual ornaments or color. So my guess is that it’s aposematic (warning coloration). Whichever, it is a very, very cool creature.

      • Tony
        Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        you’re right as far as I’m aware the crests occur in both sexes.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    It is also good to see your ‘munk pictures, again, Diana. No one anthropomorphizes like you!

    Stephen, I don’t yet see the differences in the bald eagle eyes, except that Desi might be more alert looking right now.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      It’s a little hard to see in this photo, but Desi has tired, haggard-looking eyes compared to Lucy. There’s a ring of bare skin around them.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Well, maybe he is doing more patrolling b.c Lucy is carrying eggs. It might be that eagle chicks are sometimes hawk food, and so he decided to go after the hawk.

    • Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Diana’s photos and captions are the absolute best for spreading smiles this morning. I’m giggling.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Ha! That’s good. My friends found the captions entertaining on FB as well.

        • Posted March 11, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          They’re delightful, Diana. I’m still chuckling at your captions and the magical moments you captured.

  4. Darth Dog
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Goat Lake in the Sawtooths!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Correct. It’s the most beautiful alpine lake I know of, and just difficult enough to get to. By the way, can you spot the rising fish?

      • Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Terrific shot Stephen! Makes me lust for the Sawtooths! And well done Darth Dog for the ID! 🙂

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          I lived in Stanley for 12 years and hiked to many of the high lakes. Goat was my favorite.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Um, would that be the ripples in the reflection of the shortest gorge in the mountains?

        Beautiful photo, beautiful place!

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

          You got it.

          • Diane G.
            Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink


  5. Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Cute photos, Diana!

  6. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Kudos for the GHO. They’re beautiful birds. I’ve discovered one nesting on my place, in an area where I don’t normally go. I’m leaving her alone for now, until she’s committed to the nest, and even then I’ll be careful and occasional. Nesting owls, especially on public land, are sometimes overly stressed by birders and photographers when the word gets out. My local Facebook birding group has banned all photos of owlets and of all owls during nesting season.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Great photos and captions (esp the ‘munk).

    Those are some pristine waters. Did you have your fly rod?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Fly fishing is very difficult in this lake because of the steep banks, and packing a float tube and pump and fins in isn’t appealing. I just visit for the scenery.

  8. SA Gould
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Diana can actually hear their teeny little chipmunk conversations. They have accepted her as one of their own and feel no need to censor their conversations.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 11, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, my chipmunk name is chchchchcchweee chacha.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink


        Ever think of making a little book of these captioned photos?

  9. Posted March 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos, All.

  10. Les
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Loved the captions on the chipmonk photos.

  11. Diane G.
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Tony, what a cool katydid! That second shot is fascinating!

    The part right below the shield (looks sort of like the maw of some carnivorous plant!) is also an interesting structure. I wonder if the whole system there is some sort of apparatus to catch and focus sound waves some how? I wonder if this species has to look (listen) particularly far for a mate?

    And there’s that little mite on the “maw” lip as well…great close-up!

  12. Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    The crested katydid is amazing. Nature is stranger than we can imagine.

  13. Diane G.
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Louis, beautiful owl! As a fellow birder (and middling photographer) I can truly understand the exhilaration of such a find and (photo) capture! Not only a GHOW, but one that perched right out in the light with a mostly bare background!

    • Posted March 14, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Diane! It was quite a wonderful surprise, and everything broke just right for a couple of good, clean shots. I love when that happens!

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