Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader James Blilie sent some landscapes, plant, and fungi photos; his notes are indented:

White pine (Pinus stroba) left foreground and red pine (Pinus resinosa) right foreground and cottonwood trees (Populus deltoides), background, along the St. Croix River.  Minnesota in the foreground, Wisconsin in the background.


 Some newly-emerged leaves (not sure of species):


Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), an early emergent:


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), one of the first-emerging forest plants.  The cool spring has slowed all the emergence down.



Mushrooms. After doing a little research, I think these are Coprinellus micaceus:


And have a new contributor today: Garry VanGelderen, with these pictures taken at Penetanguishene, Ontario, about 80 miles north of Toronto.

Two pics of a Red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) taken yesterday in my backyard.



Finally, lagniappe from reader Bruce Thiel, whose fossil preparations I’ve shown before (e.g., here). These photos were in an email titled, “30 MYO crab starts its return journey to the ocean.” His explanation:

Thirty million years ago, the Oregon coast was 50-70 miles inland. This crab was fossilized in a concretion in the bedrock and over the course of several million years was lifted several hundred feet upward and 50 miles inland.  Storms and erosion finally set it free and it started tumbling down the creek on its way back to the ocean.  The erosion from tumbling has taken its toll, exposing the remains of the crab inside.  Will it make it back to the ocean before being reduced to a grain of sand?  In this case, it was rescued and set free with small pneumatic tools to show the remains of the extinct Pulalius vulgaris crab inside.




  1. Posted May 18, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Nice shots of the redheaded woodpecker! We don’t get to see those, except very rarely.

    The crab pebble and fossil are very cool! I think one would need training to get the right search pattern into one’s head to see things like that outdoors.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 18, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      The crab fossil is really cool. I do wish I had the ability to see such things. I expect that I’ve held them in my hands many times, since I’ve picked up and examined many rocks with some line running through it in some odd pattern. Sadly, I lacked the the knowledge or imagination to perceive the creature contained within.

    • Posted May 20, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Your photos are fantastic too! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. Merilee
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Beautiful, all, especially the first one with the exposed tree roots by the lake.

  3. ToddP
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Wonderful plant photos, James! That lake shot is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  4. jaxkayaker
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Great photos and thanks to all who shared. I really like red headed woodpeckers and really get to see them.

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted May 19, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Argh! Really = rarely.

  5. Kevin
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I like the skunk cabbage. Reminds me that the bloody cold mountain weather is about to abate.

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed all the photos: The plants, the fungi, the bird, and the fossil (which took a lot of work, I am sure).

  7. Posted May 18, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Nice plant photos, James Blilie. The Sanguinaria flowers are so white I find them hard to photo effectively.

    • Posted May 18, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I often use exposure compensation on the camera. This is a classic case for it: Tiny white area (that you don’t want to be burned out) surrounded by a large dark area in the background.

      I almost always have my camera set at about -0.7 EV. Sometimes even 1.0, 1.3 or lower. I generally find that (minor) underexposure areas “clean up” better in SW than do blown out highlights.

      (It may also be a fossil habit from my days of almost exclusively shooting Kodachrome 64 (positive transparency) where it almost always paid to err towards underexposure.)

  8. phar84
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable narrative of the crab’s journey. And the final product is amazing, thanks for sharing.

  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    All wonderful pics – thank you.

    I am always blown away by the skill and beauty of your fossil preparations Bruce.

    • Bruce Thiel
      Posted May 18, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Heather & phar84, for your kind remarks and encouragement!

  10. Eric Salzman
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    The mushroom is Coprinellus micaceus (formerly Coprinus micaceus). It is one of the Inky Caps and, if left to its own devices it will deliquesce (love that word — if I spelled it right). However we fry ’em up and eat ’em. In the life they show little sparkly things in the caps (barely visible in this picture).

    Eric S.

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