Readers’ wildlife photos

T. J. Hennessy sent a farrago of photos: spiders and birds. His notes are indented. Oh, and it’s time to send me your good wildlife photos, please, for the tank is running a bit low.

I have recently retired from my day job and have more time to spend on my photography.  I have a few sets of photos that might interest you and will send them along in a series of emails to differentiate them.  First up are photos of Blue Herons [Ardea herodias].  Here in Richmond, Virginia we have a Blue Heron Rookery on the James River that is home to dozens of herons in the springtime.  A few of the photos I have here were taken along the banks of the James River.  The others were taken in the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, just last week.  I was there early to take close up photos of flowers, but I was surprised by a Blue Heron in the Japanese Garden, on a small island in a lake. It was beneath a Japanese maple tree and the combination of colors is amazing.
Tom Hennessy Blue Heron Lewis Ginter-3903
Tom Hennessy Blue Heron Lewis Ginter-3927
Tom Hennessy Blue Heron James River-9626
Tom Hennessy Blue Heron Lewis Ginter-3920
While walking along a boardwalk on the sound side of the Outer Banks, I found a very cool spider.  I am pretty sure it is an Orb Weaver [readers?], but I do not know the species.  I was photographing water droplets after the rain, and this dime-sized patch of white near me began to pulsate.  The spider appears to cause the web to vibrate forward and backward whenever it appears threatened.  Once it calmed down I was able to get a few photographs. The spider is well camouflaged in the weaving at the center of the web.

Tom Hennessy Orb Weaver Spider-2086

Along the same boardwalk I saw several Red Winged Blackbirds [Agelaius phoeniceus]. I had a good opportunity to get some close-up photos of one while it was calling for a mate.

Tom Hennessy Red Winged Blackbird-2104

Tom Hennessy Red Winged Blackbird-2114

At the beginning of June I was on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which is a long barrier island.  The Atlantic Ocean is on one side and a series of sounds are between the island and the mainland.  While taking photographs on the sound side at sunset, I encountered some Great Egrets [Ardea alba] wading in the shallows and fishing.  One photo shows the Egret with its catch.  Another is a wide angle shot of the sound at sunset with the egret visible in front of the reeds. [Spot the egret!]  I was also able to get some shots of the Egret in flight.

Tom Hennessy Egret on the Sound-2179
Tom Hennessy Egret-2130
Tom Hennessy Egret-2149
Tom Hennessy Egret-2320
JAC: I’ve made this large as it’s a gorgeous photo. Some day we should have a WEIT “wildlife photo of the year” contest!
Tom Hennessy Egret-2350


  1. Bruce Thiel
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Beautiful batch of pictures. Please consider sending more.

  2. rickflick
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Really great pics! Soothing.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Those are very good. I agree that the heron under the maple is especially lovely, as is the one standing next to the pine tree.

    As for the spider, it is an Argiope but I am not familiar with this species. The best match I have is the Silver-backed argiope, Argiope florida.
    Argiopes and some other spiders shake their web when alarmed as a first defense. The zig-zaggy webbing is called the stabilimentum, and its function is uncertain. It may be for camouflage or some other function.

  4. Posted July 9, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos. I love the golden and light blue hue changes in the last one.

    On the side,the grain farro and the verb “farrago” appear to be connected.

  5. alexandra moffat
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    A friend, to whom I forwarded the lovely heron & spider pictures, suggests
    “that spider is of the argiope family”.

  6. Sue Sommers
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Wow! Beautiful.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Great pics that took a lot of effort to capture I suspect

    @PCC Farrago: In all my reading I’ve only ever seen the word associated with a negative judgement – so I learned something today! Plus I didn’t understand before today it meant a mixture rather than say “a mess”

  8. Mark R.
    Posted July 9, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    There are some beauties in the batch today. A photo contest would be fun! Some of these could definitely be entered imo.

  9. Posted July 9, 2016 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    The first blue heron is one of the best images I’ve seen here, and all images have been of a high quality. I think I like that the colours and composition are unusual, with cool colours at the centre, the blue on white head standing out well, and purplish leaves around the bird.

  10. Posted July 11, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    I rarely feel the need to comment, but these pictures are especially stunning! I look forward to many more 🙂

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