Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have a potpourri of photos; the first comes from reader Tim Anderson in Australia, who does astronomical photos:

This is a picture of the Jewel Box (NGC 4755), a “small” open star cluster located very close to the Southern Cross. It contains about one hundred stars. The Jewel Box was first described by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1751. The image is a composite of 30 frames each of red, green, blue and white filtered light.

And from Jerry Piven, who didn’t identify the bird (readers?), but said that his friend IDed the snake as a black snake (probably Pantherophis obsoletus):

Perhaps this might make your wildlife posting? I’ve never seen a bird follow a snake through the grass and over a path only to nip at its ophidian tail so assiduously. Perhaps the snake had tried to purloin her eggs or chicks. I’m no ornithologist so I can only speculate.

And three from Stephen Barnard, who gets special kudos as he finally trapped the mother of Jerry Coyne VI and Not Jerry Coyne. Mom was feral and wild, but Stephen saved her from being euthanized and is trying to get her adopted as a barn cat.

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota):

These moose twins (Alces alces) hang out together. I used to see them with their mother, but she’s moved on.

Sandhill Crane family (Grus canadensis). I see these birds every day in the field across the creek. It’s interesting to observe the growth of the colt. (That’s what crane chicks are called.) It can’t fly, and I’m puzzled why the coyotes don’t get it. Maybe the adults are effective at defending it.  This photo is heavily cropped.

Finally, my own mallard ducklings (Anas platyrhynchos) in the pond outside my office. I feed them three times a day with a combination of oatmeal and Cheerios, and, with the combination of their normal food of insects, minnows, and vegetation, they are waxing fat. In fact, I can hardly continue to call them “ducklings”: they’re DUCKS! This is just an iPhone photo; no time for even a point and shoot when I’m using one hand to toss them their noms:


  1. Posted June 15, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    That photo of the snake chased by a bird completely changed my perception of snakes! Won’t pet one but I kind of feel sorry for them now. 🙂

  2. tubby
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The bird appears to be a grey catbird, Dumetella carolinensis.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Good job there in Idaho. Very good photos as well.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Nice open cluster. I’ve often found open clusters boring to look at because they are so scattered but this looks almost like a globular cluster in its tightness.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the potpourri of photos.

    Are the moose twins or siblings? I’m being a little pedantic, spurned by Jerry’s question the other day about twin cats.

    The cliff swallow photo is a beauty.

    And yes, thems are now ducks! Healthy ducks at that.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    All great pics as usual.

    I love that bird Jerry Piven! She’s really making sure that snake doesn’t come back!

  7. Posted June 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    From the stars down, duly entertained and visually replete, thanks all.

  8. Tony Eales
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I love in flight shots but that Cliff Swallow is beautiful bird well captured.

  9. rickflick
    Posted June 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the catbird thinks the snake is a big worm???

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 15, 2017 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      Probably trying to chase it away from her nestlings or fledglings.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 16, 2017 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        (As Jerry Piven speculates.)

  10. Diane G.
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Tim, wow, am I right? That shot is composite of 120 other shots?! Most impressive!

  11. Diane G.
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Stephen, amazing swallow capture! Along with swifts, probably one of the most difficult ever BIF subjects!

    Sweet cranes & meese as well! 🙂

  12. Diane G.
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    I think I still see some down on those ducklings, Jerry. 🙂 What lucky ducks. 😀

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