Readers’ wildlife photographs

Today we have bird photos from three folks, the first being reader Karen Bartelt. Her notes:

I just got back from a trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos.  I thought I’d send things as they get processed.  These hummingbirds are from a rural area near the town of Ibarra in northern Ecuador.  The first is a Sparkling Violetear (Colibri coruscans).  The last two are of a male Black-tailed Trainbearer (Lesbia victoriae victoriae).  This subspecies is said to have the longest tail.  I did see females, but only got one poor photo; enough to know that her tails are about half as long as the male’s.



I love this silhouette:


Anne-Marie Cournoyer contributed a lovely but somewhat rumpled (with bedhead) northern flicker (Colaptes auratus):

And a hybrid (our first) from reader Randy Schenck:

Watching a group of 6 Canadian geese in the back yard today it took a bit before I realized that one was not a Canada Goose but it took some checking to determine what it could be.  It did not look like Greylag Goose but close.  Then I found it, a hybrid of both species (Anser anser Χ Branta canadensis).  Where would we be without the internet?




  1. Dominic
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    A hybrid from two different genuses? How unusual is that with birds? I wonder if it is fertile? I have seen what might be a mallard that must have a large measure of Indian Runner from its upright stance. However they are all from varieties of the original domestic duck which is the mallard…

    • Dominic
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      PS I love the fluffy flicker!

  2. jaxkayaker
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Amazing photos and IDs. Thanks for sharing.

    Hybridization across genera is possible and is known in orchids and snakes, although usually occurring in an altered environmental context, such as in captivity. Also, keep in mind the delineation of genera is somewhat arbitrary.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      And the fact of a hybrid’s existence may indicate that some changes might be in order. Just a couple of years ago a large meta-study suggested a widespread, large reorganization of bird taxonomy.

    • steve
      Posted September 16, 2016 at 4:40 am | Permalink

      And African Cichlids.

      I have a tank full of accidental hybrids between a male Maylandia lombardoi (“Kenyi”) and a female Pseudotropheus zebra (“Cobalt blue”). Of course the Pseudotropheus might actually have been misnamed originally and might actually be of the Maylandia genus.

      The “problem” is particularly strong in Lake Malawi Cichlids like these because of their recent speciation in rift lakes from what I understand.

      This is why in small aquarium pet fish stores there is often a tank labeled just “cichlids” or “mixed cichlids”. Their pedigree has been lost from indiscriminate home breeding.

      It has become a bone of contention for some cichlid purists.

  3. bluemaas
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Aaaah, the Archipélago de G a l á p a g o s !

    Which, Ms Bartelt, of the 27 or so isles were the ones visited ?

    If gone around in early September, then what was the insect milieu like ? During any of one’s explorations thereof, did one have to fend off a lot of flying and / or biting insects ?

    Was your particular pilgrimage throughout the various isles then i) betwixt each isle visited, a sleep – upon voyager ship type or ii) a take out a speedboat each different day from a centralized isle locale over to another isle – type ?

    Thank you.

    • Karen Bartelt
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      This is a second trip. We also went in 2010. This time we saw Mosquera, Santiago, Bartolome’, Isabella, Fernandina, Santa Cruz, Genovesa, and N Seymour. We flew into Baltra and spent most of the time on a catamaran with 15 other passengers, two guides, and a crew of eight. We also visited a “tortoise camp” in the Santa Cruz highlands.
      No bugs beyond an occasional (invasive) wasp. Now that I’m back, I’m full of mosquito bites. The weather was lovely – clouds in the morning, sunny by noon.
      I’ll be putting more photos up whenever Jerry thinks they’re appropriate. Right now I’m going through over 1500 (my husband shot nearly 2000). Karen

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        I thought I’d send things as they get processed.

        Someone still using silver salts on plastic film? No wonder it’ll take time to get them processed – its going to be a job to find someone with the chemicals and darkroom thee days.

        Right now I’m going through over 1500 (my husband shot nearly 2000).

        Or maybe you do mean the post-processing of the digital images? Ummm, maybe; maybe not. I know people who would hit 1500 images in a month-long holiday, in the early 1990s. It’s do-able – only 50 images a day. But you’d struggle to find someone who could do the wet chemistry these days.
        Just as a matter of interest, what photo-processing pipelines (in the digital sense) do people use for regular photography (I know the astrophotographers will have their own pipelines for things like applying blanks and flats to their image stacks).
        My pipeline is to go through the days photos each evening – first copyng thm from th memory card to the laptop ; then using a thumbnail-viewer which can also edit the JPEG “comment” field on multiple image I jam comments into the photos somewhat like “location, general subject, more subject detail”. I normally do this with a GUI programme (“Irfanview” – so good that I’ve actually brought a copy! Works under Wine and Windows), but I have done it by constructing script files with a spreadsheet and “exiftool“. It’s always wise to have a fal-back position
        Then, once I’ve got the comment metadata into the image (or interleaved in the pipeline it if I’m cutting a script), I do a bulk-renaming so that the file comes out renamed in this format :
        YYYY-MM-DD HH-mm-SS Comment-field-contents Original-File-Name.Original-File-Extension
        It’s is rare for me to take more than one photo a second.
        It’s a significant fankle, but with a bit of practice I can crank through several hundred files in an hour or so. But I developed it for job when by the time I’d finished there was a corpus of about 15000 photos. Which I had to be able to file so that someone completely unfamiliar with the project would be able to find data 20 years later. Some high heidj’un had said “photos will be taken and kept in the permanent record”, so some poor schmuck had to figure out how to implement that.
        Sometimes I think to myself – are digital cameras a good thing? Or do people start to think that “collect enough data and someone will be able to figure out what to do with it later”. Whereas recognising a problem, and then addressing how to solve it is often a more economical solution.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Very nice. The hummingbird pictures are very interesting and natural, and the flicker too has authenticity. Birds are not always presentable.

    The hybrid goose is pretty extraordinary. A very interesting find!

  5. darrelle
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Wonderful batch of pictures.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Yes, lovely pics all ’round. 🙂

  6. rickflick
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    When I see shot’s like these my urge to travel is punched up.

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 15, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if that flicker is a juvenile as he/she appears awfully fluffy!

  8. Mark Joseph
    Posted September 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Love the hummingbird pictures!

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