Readers’ wildlife photographs

The first four photos today come from reader Stephen Barnard of Idaho.  The captions are his:

This Barn Swallow [Hirundo rustica] is raising a brood over my porch and making a  mess of the deck.



Hitch [the new border collie puppy] in a goofy pose.


A garter snake photographed by Rick Longworth:

I used to catch Garter Snakes [Thamnophis sirtalis] as a kid living in Ontario.  Even though I knew they were not poisonous, once a really big one clamped onto my hand and wouldn’t let go.  I could feel dozens of tiny teeth embedded in my hand as I tried to walk home with it.  I didn’t want to pull it off for fear of damaging the poor thing.
I saw this fellow in the yard (central New York State).  It’s about 2 and a half feet long.

P1070800Finally, some woodpeckers by reader Laurel Strand:

These were taken over Memorial Day weekend 2016, using my point-and-shoot Nikon. With its 30x optical zoom, it can take some pretty good photos.
The first photo (lewis 1) is a Lewis’ woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis) outside its nest in a tree at Fort Simcoe State Historical Park about 35 miles from Yakima, Washington. If you look close, you can see an orange-y grub in its beak. I also took a short video showing the bird entering the nest. The second photo shows it peeking out of the nest hole. The third photo was taken of one getting its own lunch from another tree in the park.
lewis 1
lewis 2
lewis 3


  1. Posted July 7, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Wonderful shot… 🌻

  2. Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Here is a link to the video.

  3. Stephen Barnard
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I like the garter snake photo. Never heard of one biting and I’ve handled several.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never been bit and handled many as well, but I have been regurgitated on (frog) and squirted with vile snake-shit.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Me neither though I think my dad got bit by one once.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        The worst they’ve ever done to me is leave a horrible stink on my hands.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The swallow nests are really interesting. We have several here and they always leave just a small space, inch or two, from the nest to the ceiling.

  5. John Harshman
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Helpful tip: I have found that if a snake bites you and won’t let go, immersing it in a bucket of cold water does the trick. At least it works on king snakes.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    That 3rd swallow photo is gorgeous.

    Nice capture of the garter’s tongue.

    I find it difficult to get good woodpecker shots, so kudos. I love the photo of the bird poking its head out.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Great capture of the garter snake’s expression. Seems to be saying, “Sssssaulutations! How are thingsssssss?”

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