Readers’ wildlife photos

Once again I have begged some lovely animal photos from Pete Moulton. He lives in Phoenix, where these photos were taken, and his descriptions are indented.

*;) winking I haven’t traveled too far from home lately, so these are all from my usual haunts at Papago Park and the Gilbert Water Ranch.
American AvocetRecurvirostra americana, in basic plumage, late February at Gilbert.
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus, same day, same location, so now we have all the North American representatives of that Family.

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) at Gilbert for this lot’s grebe du jour. I’m not delighted with this image because the lighting was so poor, but have never been so close to this species before, so I just had to try. You might wish to exclude this one, and I wouldn’t be disappointed. [JAC: it’s fine!]

Female Williamson’s Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus thyroideus) at the Desert Botanical Garden. She spent about a week at that spot nectaring assiduously at the blooming aloes, and then decamped, much to latecomers’ disappointment.

Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) in Gilbert. These little acrobats occur in Arizona every winter, but they are rare at best.

Male Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) in Papago Park. These are abundant and familiar even to nonbirders in Arizona, but it wasn’t always so. Representatives of two different Mexican populations began to invade the state only in the late 1930s. And they aren’t done yet. They’re still expanding north and east, so that now there are breeding populations as far north as Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa. The males are beautifully iridescent.

And finally a couple of mammals: a female Round-tailed Ground Squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus) munching on a fallen mesquite catkin, and a Harris’s Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii) with her head buried in a cactus flower.


  1. rickflick
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Wonderful images. The lighting is fabulous! You could publish a book for the coffee table or a museum collection or a birding book or…

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Thank you, rickflick.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 21, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I may have asked you before, but what camera and lens is your favorite for these?

        • Pete Moulton
          Posted April 21, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          All these were with a Canon Rebel T6i and my trusty 100-400mm lens. My favorite walking around setup.

          • rickflick
            Posted April 21, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            I’m shopping for a telephoto lens. What lens are you using?

            • Pete Moulton
              Posted April 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

              Canon 100-400mm zoom. There are also good offerings from aftermarket manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron, but I haven’t been in the market, so I don’t know all the details.

    • Jim Knight
      Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Pete, I agree with rickflick! Many more photos like these and you would have a publishable collection for a coffee table-type of book that would probably be a hit, certainly locally, almost assuredly regionally, and some of us from the East Coast would buy one, also.


      • Pete Moulton
        Posted April 21, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Jim! That’s what I’m really after. So many people who have never visited the desert Southwest don’t realize just how beautiful it can be, and how interesting the desert-adapted flora and fauna are.

  2. Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos Pete! Cheers!

    • Pete Moulton
      Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Thanks, jblilie!

  3. Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    A beautiful series of pictures today! There are several here that are simply outstanding.

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Sorry Pete but it makes me want to leave the camera on the shelf. Excellent photos.

  5. philfinn7
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Truly spectacular photos!

  6. Posted April 21, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I love animals! Wonderful photos!

  7. Posted April 21, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Lovely pictures.

  8. Debbie Coplan
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Really wonderful group of animals…delightful!

  9. Mark Joseph
    Posted April 21, 2017 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Great pictures. Thanks!

  10. Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, everyone, for all your nice comments!

  11. Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Yep very nice, enjoyed.. thank you.

  12. Posted April 22, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Lovely pictures, I bet the Grackle with it’s iridescent feathers is gorgeous when the Sun catches it just right.

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