Readers’ wildlife photographs

Reader B. Wilson sent some photos of a lovely larva, and this information (photos are by Nick, her business partner):

Sere are two photos of a caterpillar of Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini) on Hooker’s Willow (Salix hookeriana).  The adult is black, white, and orange, no doubt threatening toxic chemicals.  The larva seems to be imitating a bird dropping, though those funny antennae-like things may provide a line of chemical defense.  Photo and plant identification by Nick Otting.  Caterpillar identification by Paul Hammond.

Here’s a photo of the adult taken from Wikipedia:

Lorquin’s Admiral

Darryl Ernst sent a bunch of swell bird pictures, but today I’ll show just two: they’re of the sandhill crane:

A sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) taking a moment to preen. I really like the lighting in this, and the following, images. It is evening, just on the verge of poor lighting conditions.

This image is of the same sandhill crane with its mate and two chicks foraging among the reeds. This is the same mated pair I’ve mentioned before, that we have observed for 5 or 6 years now. They’ve raised a pair of chicks each year. Though not in these pictures a pair of adolescents, presumably from the previous year, were also foraging around the reeds with the rest of the family.

And three photos from Stephen Barnard in Idaho, with his captions.

Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina). There were four species of swallow feeding on a midge emergence this morning, all mixed together: Violet-green, Tree, Barn, and Northern Rough-winged. Hundreds of individuals.

Below: not a good photo of a Wilson’s Snipe [Gallinago delicata]… but interesting. For weeks I’ve been hearing a low pitched, spooky whistling sound and have had trouble locating the source. It seemed to be coming from all different directions. Eventually, I saw some small birds way high up that were making the noise, flying in pairs and in circles,  but they were far too high to identify. I asked birders, listened to recorded calls of suspects — no luck. After many fruitless attempts, I managed to photograph one with a supertelephoto lens. (Getting the autofocus to lock on to a tiny, fast moving object was a challenge.)  They’re snipe, it’s a mating ritual, and they make the noise with specialized tail feathers. Learned something new today.

There’s a lot of information and strange facts about these unusual birds here:

Strange fact example:

  • Although only the female tends the eggs and nestlings, Wilson’s Snipe parents split up the siblings once they’re ready to fledge. The male takes the two oldest; the female takes the younger two with her. After they leave the nest the mates have no further contact.

They remind me of Kiwis in their morphology, but they’re much smaller and are exceptionally fast and powerful fliers.

Here’s another snipe photo from this morning (May 9):

Here’s a recording of the snipe’s call I heard. It’s called “winnowing”.

A very sharp photo of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis):


  1. Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Very very nice – thanks!
    So lucky to live there…

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I love the preening pic -beautiful.

    I heard Sibley’s bird book is great but can anyone recommend a specific edition/etc? Amazon has mixed reviews, and there’s also some that cut corners on drawings,??

    • darrelle
      Posted May 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. The two Sandhill Crane pics were taken by my daughter.

  3. Posted May 15, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Great photos, thanks!

    Stephen, the Violet-Green Swallow shot! Wow!

  4. Posted May 15, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    A good photographer can take a pic of a snipe – the hard part is getting a great shot of a left-handed snipe.

  5. loren russell
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    No idea if Lorquin’s admiral adults are tasty to birds, but whether this is true, the coloration very likely functions for species-recognition. Males are strong and aerobatic flyers and are conspicuously territorial, probably the most aggressive butterflies in western Oregon. They chase just about anything flying into their territory: other admirals, butterflies in general, and supposedly birds, though I can’t confirm the latter.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted May 15, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Snipe…gotta love the name. The bit about the male taking the two oldest fledglings and the female the two youngest is fascinating. The sentence implies that they always have 4 eggs and 4 fledglings. I wonder what happens to an odd numbered brood.

    All the photos were great today. Thanks for the variety of photos and photographers.

  7. Posted May 15, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Nice offerings for today, thanks

  8. Neil Faulkner
    Posted May 16, 2017 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    Here in the UK, ‘winnowing’ is known as ‘drumming’. I remember being quite perplexed the first time I heard it, until I looked up and saw several Snipe weaving back and forth above me. A very faint buzzing sound, rapidly rising and falling in pitch. My most immediate thought was along the lines of “That could be a sound effect from Dr Who.”

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