Readers’ wildlife photographs

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Lou Jost, a biologist, naturalist, artist, and photographer who works in Ecuador, but I have a feeling we’ll have more photos from him soon (and, if Hillary wins, he’ll owe me some dosh). The first batch of his pictures sent shows a marvelous bird. His notes are indented:

My shower is outside, with the shower head tied to a tree. I was taking a shower today when one of my favorite birds, a secretive Golden-crowned Tanager (Iridisornis rufivertex), came up through the undergrowth and landed at my feet. I was washing normally and moving a lot, but this bird must have really wanted a shower. It sometimes stood only a foot or two away from me. I finished washing and got my camera and photographed him still there enjoying himself. Other species of birds also approached at the same time. The sound of falling water is irresistible to many birds, but this is the first time they tried to join me while I was showering! It was one of my nicest wildlife experiences ever.




Here’s a photo, from the Cornell Neotropical Birds Site, of the tanager when it’s not wet:


I also wrote Lou, in light of the amazing cryptic “lichen katydid” that I posted a few days ago, whether he’d seen anything like it in Ecuador. His response (and a photo):

Yes, I have excellent pictures of it in lichens from Costa Rica, but they are on film and I haven’t scanned them yet. But a few weeks ago I found a different species of lichen katydid here in one of our reserves. Here it is, different from the one you showed last week. This is more robust and was found at 1300m elevation in the understory of our Rio Zunac Reserve in eastern Ecuador.



  1. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Very good, Lou! The katydid would be a good lichen mimic but it looks to me that it is on moss right now.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, you’re right, not much lichen there. However, there isn’t much moss there either. Those are actually liverworts. Mosses tend to have whorled “leaves” while liverworts have two-ranked “leaves”. In tropical cloud forests most “moss” is in fact liverworts, though quite different from the big flat thalloid liverworts in the US. See

  2. frednotfaith2
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Must have been a fun experience having birds join you in a shower. Very nice photos!

  3. Tracy
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I love the bird story and photos. What a wonderful experience! It made me happy just reading about it.

  4. rickflick
    Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    What a heavenly experience! Let’s all go together next time.
    So, you still shoot on film and scan the film? There’s a way you can skip a step.

    • Posted September 18, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      No, the film is from the distant past. I just haven’t gotten around to scanning those thousands of Kodachromes. I may take a shortcut and just take pictures of the slides with a macro lens. That’s very fast.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 18, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        For large batches I’ve used my Epson 4990 flatbet photo scanner. The software crops the frames and the image quality is very good. Newer models are probably available:

        • Posted September 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I’ve heard that the quality is not as good as my Nikon Coolscan.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 18, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            Hard to say. My Epson has so much resolution I almost always have to back it off quite a bit to keep file sizes manageable. I guess you could just compare the specs.

            • Posted September 18, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

              A search on the internet just now suggests that the Epson makes very good scans but the real effective resolution (not the nominal resolution) is quite a bit lower than that of the Nikon Coolscans. But the Epson scans lots of slides faster than Coolscans.

              I vaguely remember having this discussion before somewhere….

  5. Diane G.
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    You live an exceptional life, Lou. How extraordinary to shower with birds!

    Free-associating with the epiphyte/Doctrine of Signatures theme…one of the most wide-spread arboreal foliose lichens of the northern temperate zone is Lobaria pulmonaria, commonly known as Lungwort. (I’m sure you’re well acquainted with it.)

    Not relevant–I’m just a big fan of epiphytes.

    Also OT–during my OTS course, we once showered with army ants. They were the column-forming kind, and we had to be careful to straddle the column(s). (All in all, I’d have preferred birds.)

    • Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      If you had been showering when the attacking front of the army ant column passed trhough, you would have had exciting antbirds all around your shower!

      • Diane G.
        Posted September 20, 2016 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        Dang, what a missed opportunity!! 😀

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