Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

Today we have a potpourri of miscellaneous photos (and one video).

Tara Tanaka sends a specimen of my favorite genre of animal videos: newborn ducklings leaping into the water from their elevated nest. These are wood ducks (Aix sponsa), and there are only two this time (but see below). Here are Tara’s video notes (be sure to watch the video on the site, and Tara’s Vimeo channel is here):

She probably would have brought her babies out sooner, but it took me about ten minutes to get a water snake out of my blind before I could set up the cameras. As soon as I was in the blind with both cameras, I saw her dive back in the box. I think she was just about to call them out when I made my first trip to the blind, but my extended presence delayed her plans. She brought them out just 15 minutes after I’d gone back in the house.

As she sat in the entrance, performing her final “predator check,” you can see her talking to her ducklings. As soon as she dropped to the water and checked the area under the box, she called them out. I was very surprised that there were only two – it’s by far the smallest brood I’ve ever seen. There was one unhatched egg left in the box. I speeded up the video 20x after both babies had jumped until the time that they disappeared from view of the camera. I think they are eating insects from the vegetation as she zig-zags them to a safer location.

She has her work cut out for her 24/7 for at least the next 60 days until those little babies are flying. She’s probably glad to have a different view than the inside of a wooden box – her view for the last 30 days. Good luck little family!!

Tara adds this, so stay tuned!

This morning I looked out the window and saw a Black-bellied Whistling Duck on top of a box looking as if he was looking for predators, so I took the camera out on the back porch (it was threatening rain) and let it run.   When I reviewed the card, the pair had brought out 20 (!) babies. MORE video to follow next week

Reader Tony Eales from Australia sent some photos of mimicry:

Another ant-mimicking jumping spider. This one is from a monotypic genus that was discovered only in 1999. The “common” name is given on as Judy and Alan’s Yellow Ant-mimicking Spider, which is charming if rather long, and probably not that common. The binomial is Judalana lutea; presumably Judy and Alan are commemorated in the genus name. The species of ant that it mimics is one of my favourites, from a small Australasian genus known collectively as “Strobe Ants” because of their rapid jerky random movements. J. lutea is specifically a mimic of the Black-headed Strobe-ant Opisthopsis rufithorax. I love this Latin name too: it’s like a little C.S. Lewis poem.

Here’s the ant it’s said to mimic, Opisthopsis rufithorax:

Reader Tim Anderson, also from Oz, sent a bird photo.

This is a Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata). It is a common bird in suburban gardens throughout southern Australia and has a distinctive “chukk” call which it emits while pointing its beak straight up.

Finally, a photo from reader Graham, who has a family of four foxes (mom and three kits) hanging about his property.

Just another lazy Sunday afternoon in the garden!




  1. Randy schenck
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Those foxes have it pretty nice there. Another fine video on the Wood ducks. Notice the protection collar on this house as well.

  2. Posted July 31, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    All wonderful. Thanks to everyone for sharing.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Opisthopsis is Greek for “backward appearance”. Yes, I dorkily took 10 minutes out of work to look it up because I became obssessed when it looked like a Greek word. I didn’t go so far as to get out my Ancient Greek books.

    Don’t you hate it when your Latin binomial is half Greek? I do.

    • tjeales
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Like Australopithecus? I wonder if the “backward appearance” refers to the jerky movement where it appears to dart forwards then a half step backwards then forwards again or if it refers to both ends looking similar.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        I thought the butt colour sort of made you think that was the face end.

  4. rickflick
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Fine collection of images. The wood duck images are fascinating. We have wood ducks on a local pond, but I don’t know where they nest. There are dozens of offspring this year.

  5. Tom
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    J lutea has fascinating blue eyes. Is this just a trick of the light or do they really look that scary?

    • tjeales
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s likely an artifact of the new ring flash I’m using

  6. nicky
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Here I can see the fox!

  7. Mark R.
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know birds could have such a large brood. Fascinating and fun to watch.

    The photos were great too, thanks all.

%d bloggers like this: