Readers’ wildlife photos

Keep sending in your good photos, folks—I’ll be here all year.

The first two photos come from reader James, but he says to credit the photo to “Lusoman”. It’s a very unusual deer, and here are his notes:

This is a piebald Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) that was born last spring, and which we see regularly in Freeland on Whidbey Island in Washington state. We feed her, as do others in our community, and we’ve given her the nickname “Whitey.” Luckily, the hunters haven’t gotten to her yet. She lives primarily on an area of bluff woodland that is posted for hunting.

I hope nobody shoots her; she’d stand out in the woods like a sore thumb.  The first picture was taken in February, the second in late June. At any rate, this deer shows the condition of leucism, non-albino loss of pigmentation:

The next set of photos come from our youngest photographer, Jamie Blilie, who’s just 13 but has a great eye. Notes are from his dad James.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (Pheucticus ludovicianus), male and female.

Here is Jamie’s big “score” so far this summer:  A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). He’s been wanting a good shot of one for a while.  These were taken from about 100 meters away, so they’re a little grainy.  The woodpecker sat there for about 15 minutes(!). We think it’s because just after it landed on that tree, in our neighbors’ yard, a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) flew over our backyard (and briefly landed in a tree 10 feet directly over our heads).  We think this made the woodpecker freeze for a long time (very unusual).

A female Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) on the pond behind our house.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), they nest each year in the park on the far side of the pond behind our house.

Here’s Jamie, looking at the Minnesota River (at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, right in the middle of the Minneapolis/St. Paul cityscape. You can see we’ve had flooding this spring.Minnesota means “muddy water” and you can see the river is aptly named.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Wow look at that Pileated Woodpecker! Great pic! That must have been exhilarating!

    If you’ve never been in one’s presence- it’s something else!

  2. Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Great pics James & Jamie.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the nice photos today. Those Merganser shots were especially nice.

    In regards to hunting the deer, is it legal to shoot does? I don’t hunt, but I did as a boy, and you could only shoot bucks. That was a long time ago in Nevada and I’m sure laws differ state to state.

    BTW, My wife grew up on Whidbey island; it’s a lovely place.

    • jpetts
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s legal in WA, even with fauns at foot, which sickens me.

      Whidbey is going to be our retirement home. We currently live in Redmond, but even though it only got its first stop light in ’76, and the population was only 25K till around 1990, we’re sick of the urbanization.

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a typical black tail deer in the Olympic Peninsula:

  6. Diane G.
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    James (from WA), what a cool deer! First leucistic one I’ve ever seen, and we have a lot of deer back here (MI; whitetails).

    Jamie and James, what a lovely set of shots. I can always tell when there’s a Cooper’s Hawk in the vicinity when the woodpeckers–mostly Downy, Hairy, & Red-bellied–freeze on the feeder poles. And they do stay frozen for a long time!

    Love the Hooded Merganser–a favorite of mine. And how fortunate to have ospreys so close by!

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