Readers’ wildlife photographs

We have three bird photos from reader Rob Bate; his captions are indented:

More photos from our Falklands/South Georgia/Antarctic expedition here. The first is Magellanic (or South American) Snipe (Gallinago paraguaiae) from the Falkland Islands.  There is surely a distinct group of Magellanic Snipes from the Falklands though even the Magellanics themselves are closely related to the Common Snipe of the Old World.  They have excellent camouflage and are easily overlooked.  There are no trees, bushes or other cover to speak of on the Falklands and they rely on their camouflage to escape detection.
This next is a Long-tailed MeadowlarkSturnella loyca, endemic to the tip of South America and the Falklands.
The next is Snowy SheathbillChionis albus, found everywhere on land from Tierra del Fuego to Falklands, South Georgia and even in Antarctica (this one is from the Falklands).  It is primarily a scavenger and is the only landbird native to Antarctica – it doesn’t have webbed feet.  There is only one other species in the genus Chionis and that one is also restricted to the Antarctic regions.
[JAC: there will be a quiz on this: “What is the only landbird native to Antarctica?” Remember this!]

Stephen Barnard has returned after a photo hiatus. He sends a single photo a Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), which apparently is subsisting on the willow shoots in the photo.   His caption:

Signs of life in snowpocalypse. Every time I walk by this guy’s burrow, even with the dogs, he pops his head up, knowing he’s safe behind 10 yards of four-foot-deep snow.


From Diana MacPherson:

Eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) Standing on Barbecue Cover



  1. darrelle
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Wow. The beak on the Long-tailed Meadowlark looks deadly. Wide at the base, triangular, tapering to a very sharp tip. It looks like a well designed dagger made for piercing through armor.

    The Magellanic Snipe is somewhat reminiscent of the Limpkin (Aramus guarauna).

    The squirrel looks like he is trying to keep his feet warm.

  2. rickflick
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Quite and exotic menagerie today. Diana’s chipmunk is too cute. The tail wrap-around is nice touch.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      He sat like that in that exact pose for several minutes too.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Cold tush? Or perhaps modest.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 25, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          I think just careful of hawks. It was October when I took that and probably still pretty warm. The chippies are all in torpor now.

  3. nurnord
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    “What is the only landbird native to Antarctica?” Snow petrel, Pagodroma nivea.

    • Posted January 24, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I believe that the snow petrel, while indeed native to Antarctica, is not a landbird but a seabird.

      • nurnord
        Posted January 24, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I thought so too, but I read a bit about them quite often being found inland, and thought I would give it a go !

        P.S., and rather belated, I’m sorry for my intemperate remark about the cats a while back. I hope I can come out of the fishing net (moderation) and be set free to roam the ocean once more…

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Chipmunk wants some BBQ.

  5. Bob Bottemiller
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Q1: What is the only native landbird in Antarctica?
    A1: Snowy Sheathbill

    Q2: How did the non-flying Snowy Sheathbill get to Antarctica?
    A2: Stowaway on Shackleton’s ship?

  6. Jean Hess
    Posted January 24, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    How does Stephen walk by a rabbit burrow with the dogs when the snow is 4 feet deep? Are they all using snowshoes?

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted January 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      We’re walking on my plowed driveway. (Actually, I use a big snowblower on a skid steer tractor with huge chains.) Here’s a photo. The rabbit hangs out in the willows to the left of the driveway.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 25, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink


        Those snow walls must drive the dogs crazy!

  7. Diane G.
    Posted January 25, 2017 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Rob, wonderful shots of fascinating birds! I’ve been captivated by Snowy Sheathbills since I viewed the segment on them in David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds; then managed to catch a few screen shots of them from an Antarctic web-cam a few years ago. What a thrill it would be to see one in person (er, bird)!

    Cute chippy as always, Diana. 🙂

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