Readers’ wildlife photographs and videos

We have two videos today. First, reader Beckie sent a short video of an Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) taking off. These birds seem very awkward in the air, but I guess they do good enough.

Stephen Barnard from Idaho sent a fishing video, which you should enlarge and put in HD on its site. His notes:

I was at Harker’s Island North Carolina in October, flyfishing offshore for false albacore (Euthynnus alletteratus). When they get on a bait ball of glass minnows the action is furious, which I tried to capture in this rough-cut, impromptu video. False albacore (also called little tunny) are a small tuna, and they’re strong and fast. They have a reputation of being inedible in North Carolina, so there’s no commercial fishing, and they’re abundant.

When I asked how he took the underwater shots, he replied:

While hanging off the transom, I reached the camera underwater and blindly recorded several minutes, mindful of several large sharks in the area.

And here’s an old photo of his that I neglected to publish:

This is Lucy visiting the nest long after her young have fledged and left the area.

When I asked him what the magpies were up to, he replied, “They’re just doing what magpies do — looking to steal food.”


This elk herd was bedded down in a field across the creek. I saw them far off from the truck, parked out of sight, left the dogs behind, and sneaked up behind cover. The wind was favorable. This shot is from about  150 yards. They didn’t spook, even though I was standing clearly in the open, and I left them in peace.

This second shot is of the distant mountains directly above the elk.



  1. Dominic
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I love magpies.
    Don’t you just want to walk on towards those mountains?!

  2. rickflick
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Puffin takeoff is actually pretty stable, but the beats per minute is very high. They are a chunky looking bird with small wings so they must depend on speedy flapping to generate sufficient lift. A bit like a bumblebee.

    Here’s a landing Puffin in slomo:

  3. George
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    There is a suburb of Chicago not far from O’Hare Airport called Elk Grove Village. You might think the name is a flight of fancy – like towns which feature “Estates” or “Highlands” in their name. But Elk Grove is actually named after a (small) elk herd in a nearby forest preserve:

    • George
      Posted November 21, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      There is another Chicago suburb called Buffalo Grove. No buffalo there. Not sure if there ever were or how the village got its name.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Fishing for the little tunny looks like a hoot!

    And NC in October is probably a lot warmer than ID.

    Nice puffin video too. Who doesn’t love a puffin? Thanks!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted November 21, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      It’s a hoot when it’s on, but you spend 99% of the time looking for fish, often in rough seas. The approach is to look for birds, usually in the far distance, feeding over busting albies, and then haul ass over there before another 20 boats show up. Terns and, to a lesser extent, gulls are the best indicators. There were an enormous number of pelicans actively feeding, but they never showed any interest in the glass minnows so we ignored them.

      • Mark R.
        Posted November 21, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Very nuanced it seems…but you were successful (at least enough to make a video and catch some) so cool!

        Another fishing adventure under your belt. I always enjoy your fly fishing experiences, so thanks a lot for sharing.

        • Dale Franzwa
          Posted November 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Stephan, thanks for the fishing video. Real albacore used to be quite abundant here off San Diego in years past but haven’t seen any in recent years (fished for them in the same way you describe except anchovies were the primary bait; mostly located them by trolling feather lures far offshore). Currently, big bluefin and yellowfin tuna have replaced the albacore as prime sportfishing targets. Best of luck.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Sounds very like mackerel fishing on the West coast of Scotland. Look for the gulls feeding on the sand eels driven to the surface by the mackerel (which are similar to the false albacore, but slightly smaller, and probably related). Very easy to catch, often with a line with six hooks, each with a large bright feather attached – once in the right spot, you’ll get six mackerel at a time. Delicious!

  5. somer
    Posted November 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    The shot of those Idaho mountains is (however inappropriate to say) *divine*.

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