Readers’ wildlife photographs

Today we catch up with the contributions of Stephen Barnard from Idaho.

Mimetic fly? It’s pretty scary looking and wasp-size, but I’m not aware of an actual wasp that looks much like this. It almost looks generically mimetic, like it’s covering all the waspy characteristics without any one species in mind.

Stephen then found the correct ID:

On closer examination, it looks like it has four wings, although it’s not very clear at first glance. So it’s a wasp. I did a little googling and found the ID: Ammophila thread-waisted wasp.


Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata). Yes, snipe actually exist. I was using my little waterproof fishing camera that doesn’t have much of a zoom. I’ve noticed that when you’re in a float tube birds let you get much closer, but every time a go out with a good camera instead of a fishing rod the fish are feeding, so I don’t do it any more.


Male Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). No problem identifying this one. They’re battling over my feeders, with their own kind and with Rufous (Selasphorus rufus).

RT9A4791 (1)

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis), wet from a bath in the wheel line, a little suspicious of me.

Sandhill crane Aug. 2

For some reason I lost the ID on this bird, but either Stephen or the readers will surely identify it:


Immature female Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). These birds are getting tame. I shot this with a 100mm macro lens (a very sharp lens). I normally use a 500mm.


I asked what the “drop” was on its beak, and Stephen responded: “It’s some sort of detritus that trapped a drop. Here are an earlier and a later photo that clarify it.



As a bonus, I see this cow and calf moose [Alces alces] nearly every morning. The little guy is growing fast.


As a bonus, a honey bee [Apis mellifera] in flight over a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant [Cleome serrulata].



  1. Debbie Coplan
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Just delightful to see these photographs…Thank you!

  2. Posted August 5, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Great photos, Stephen, wow. The hummer photos are pretty amazing. SS = 1/2000s (or less)?

    The non-IDed hummer looks like an immature male rufous to me (Selasphorus rufus).

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted August 5, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      1/8000 — When I want a stop-action shot of a hummingbird in flight I typically use 1/8000 shutter speed and auto ISO. The f-stop I use depends on the lens and the distance to the subject.

      By the way, the shot with 100mm lens is the last hummingbird photo.

  3. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Good photos, Stephen!

  4. Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Yes, snipe are real. Decades ago at a girl scout camp, some girls decided to take me out for a snipe hunt. Their idea of how to catch a snipe sounded unlikely, but I’d have loved to see one. The problem was, they wanted to take me out in the woods. Snipe live in marshes. I insisted we had to go to the marsh. They insisted on the woods, and I just wouldn’t go to the wrong habitat.

    Good thing they didn’t take me to the marsh, actually; I might still be there!

  5. Damien McLeod
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    How come there are no hummingbirds on Key Largo? I put up a feeder for a couple of years but got no visitors, so I finely took it down.

  6. Vaal
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m so often astounded at the quality of photography contributed by readers. These are superb.


  7. Stephen Barnard
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    The hummingbirds with the reddish coloration are rufous. The one perched with the red throat is, I believe, a mature male rufous coming into his breeding colors. They become quite resplendent. The ones without the reddish coloration are, I believe, juvenile and/or female black-chinned.

    • Posted August 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I’ve enjoyed and loved all your fabulous photographs, Stephen. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort to share them. Thanks for posting them, Jerry!

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