Readers’ wildlife photographs

We have two sets of urban wildlife photos today, the first from reader Diana MacPherson, who’s been absent for a while. Everyone’s captions are indented.

Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) Among the Seeds:

Eastern chipmunk %28Tamias striatus%29 Among the Seeds

Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) Nibbles Seeds:

Eastern chipmunk %28Tamias striatus%29 Nibbles Seeds

Red-legged Grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum) Perched on Bean Trellis

Red-legged Grasshopper-%28Melanoplus f. femurrubrum%29 Perched on Bean Trellis

And these are from reader Christopher:

I hope these meet your standards for inclusion, even though I lack both equipment and skill to take great pics. These were all taken with my iPhone, the first five are from a Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, nest found on a back patio shelf in Olathe, Kansas back in 2014.  The exact dates are 4/9, 4/23, 4/25, 4/29, and 5/2. Unfortunately I missed the fledging, which happened a few days after the last pic.






The Three-Toed Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina triunguis, is from Fiery Fork Conservation Area, in the Missouri Ozarks near my grandfather’s home town of Climax Springs, MO. I have always loved how colorful and different each individual is, especially the males of this subspecies. I would love to know why they are so bright and wonderfully colored. Any ideas? [Readers?]



  1. Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    To Reader Christopher, thanks for sharing.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      You are welcome! I am thrilled to be able to do so. It’s quite an honor to have them posted on this site where so many excellent professional-grade wildlife photos have been shared. It’s like I’ve been allowed to move from the kiddie table and sit with the adults for the first time. Cheers!

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I love how birds often look so easily ticked off. The last picture looks like the cardinal chicks are reacting to something they find offensive.

    I love box turtles and I think the Eastern Box Turtle was once considered endangered. The eastern guys I’m used to have pretty yellow patterns on their shells.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      They’re probably pissed off because I scared their food delivery system off when I went outside! I never got a pic of the parents, but the mother was missing most of her head feathers. Parenting is stressful; caused her to go bald.

      I really like that the grasshopper pic shows the faint little hairs (setae?) on its head, legs, and thorax, like a bit of peach fuzz.

      and as for the yellow patterns on the eastern box turtles, some of the three-toed box turtles have that too. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re a subspecies of the eastern ones or because they interbreed with the ornate box turtles who have it too, or perhaps a bit of both.

  3. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Nice time sequence. I am impressed at the way the cardinal chicks are scraggly blobs of flesh at hatching. Then they turn fuzzy, then their pin feathers come in, then they turn into turtles.

  4. Woof
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Go Cards!

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    A nice line-up of pictures today. We see once again how quickly birds grow!

  6. Ken Elliott
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Another great set of wildlife photos.

    Whew! The transformations those birds go through to end up as the beautiful cardinal are astounding, at least to me. This evolution thing god designed is something else, isn’t it? (JK. I have a cousin whom I’ve admired my whole life who sincerely believes evolution is simply the mechanism by which god processes life. He also believes in a book call Urantia instead of the Bible or the Koran. The two aren’t directly related).

  7. Kevin Colquitt
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Christopher, regarding the photographs of the Northern Cardinal eggs and chicks: the first photograph shows a nest with two eggs, then the second shows a hatchling with two eggs…did the first chick spontaneously generate?

    • Posted August 25, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I guess, the first photo was taken before the last egg was laid.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted August 25, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        This is very much like what I have seen too. The mother lays eggs over a period of a few days. What I had seen because of that was that the chicks differ in size. Although the 3 chicks here look pretty similar to me.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 25, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      The nest was at a friend’s house, so I wasn’t able to see the goings-on as frequently as I would have liked. I missed the nest construction and the full sequence of laying as well as when the left the nest. I do hope that their cat, who sneaks outside with the dogs, missed it as well. Still, it was great fun to see how fast the grow and change since I’m never lucky enough to have birds build an observable nest at my house.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I just want to add, Christopher, that these iPhone pix are really good. Please go out and get moar. It’s also really fun, as you no doubt know.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Well thank you very much for the comment. I do have more, most of them, like for insects, I take for ID purposes, but to do what I really want, I’d need some serious $$ and twice as much skill. I see Alex Wild or Piotr Naskrecki and wanna just throw up my hands! Many of the readers who submit here make me feel almost that way as well. But, I will continue. Maybe even upgrade to a new phone at some point, or perhaps learn to use the Cannon I have, but I really want/need a macro lens to even begin to do what I want to do. Cheers!

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted August 25, 2016 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        Sorry for the late reply, but no you don’t need a macro. Get a set of electronically connected extension tubes, and use a smaller lens, like a 50mm lens or a small zoom lens. Most of my stuff is done that way, and you can look here in WEIT for examples of what I do.
        Alex Wild and P. Naskrecki are at a pinnacle, and it takes years (and lots of post-processing!) to do what they do. There is always someone better.

  9. Karen Bartelt
    Posted August 25, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Loved them all, but the box turtle is soooo unusual in color! I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • Christopher
      Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      The males are usually the beauties! Any combination of red, maroon, orange, yellow, black, and white on an olive background; they are crawling canvases. The Females can be colorful too, but tend to be olive with yellow.

      In Missouri they occur primarily south of the Missouri River, and according to my copy of The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri by Tom R. Johnson, they are also found in eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and on into southern Alabama and NW Florida, so they are fairly widespread but east of MO they interbreed with the Eastern Box Turtle, T. c. carolina, and west and south they overlap with, and sometimes interbreed with the Ornate Box Turtle, T. ornata. I associate them mostly with the Ozarks, since that’s where I first found them, but they do live in pockets of parkland in KCMO. In fact, I can say with honesty that my introduction to the box turtle was THE life-changing event that made me who I am…unfortunately, other issues prevented me from being who I should have been, a biologist.

      • aldoleopold
        Posted August 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Yes, sexual dimorphism — the males have red eyes, female generally green. Among other qualities/traits 🙂

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