Readers’ wildlife photos

Thanks to the many readers who sent me photos, and remember that I can always use good ones. Today we have a panoply from several readers.

Reader “DiscoveredJoys” sent some photos of gulls, whose beauty—like that of starlings—is often ignored because they’re common. His comments (and those of all photographers) are indented.

A couple of pictures of ordinary herring gulls (I think). [JAC: probably Larus argentatus]. The one resting is actually on the uncompleted battlements of Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey, Wales. (Welsh: Biwmares French: beaux marais ‘beautiful marsh’). Beaumaris Castle (actually a fortified palace) was built to the latest technological standards of the time, but was not completed as Edward I  needed the money for other purposes.

The other herring gull is just taking off from the top of a pontoon at the  end of Beaumaris  pier.

James Lindsay sent a “spot the” photo, but it’s dead easy, so I’ll put the reveal below the first photo. There’s no identification, so weigh in below if you know what these beasts are:

I have no idea what these little critters are, but they’re excellent lichen mimics. These were spotted in the bonsai exhibit at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, North Carolina.
Walter Carson sent these photos of a tropical caterpillar; perhaps Lou Jost, who works in Ecuador, can give us an ID. The caterpillar is clearly aposematically colored, so may be toxic.
 I recently documented an outbreak of this caterpillar on Inga edulis in the Napo Province of Ecuador.  The caterpillar did not have urticating spines (I grabbed many of them) and I ate several after roasting them.  I think it is a Saturniidae.  I was not able to rear any.  Do you have any idea what this is?
And from reader Greg:
This may not meet your quality standards, but here’s a photo of Tule elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) taken last week at Point Reyes, California.  A bull and part of his harem were browsing the weeds by the side of the road near the lighthouse. I’m not an expert photographer, and did not have a proper camera with me, so this was snapped on my phone from the car window as we drove past.  Seconds later, the bull turned and displayed his full rack face-on, but I missed that shot.


  1. rickflick
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    “I ate several after roasting them.”

    I don’t think I could bring myself to eat one of these creatures if I was dying of starvation.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Needn’t worry. You would.

  2. Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Always loved seeing the Tule elk at Pt. Reyes when I lived in the Bay.

    Great spot for whale watching, too.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted August 19, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Didn’t see any whales that day (too much fog) but we did spot a few otters and harbor seals in the water, and elephant seals on the beach. All too far away for my phone camera to do them justice.

      • Posted August 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I was fortunate to get reasonably but safely close there to a few elephant seals lolling on the ground. (While some idiot jumped the fence to get a close-up photo — as I prepared my camera for a close-up of some idiot getting squashed.) Saw 50 spouts & breaches from the lighthouse one great day.

    • ploubere
      Posted August 19, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Same here. One of my favorite spots on Earth.

  3. Posted August 19, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I think Walter is right that this is a Saturniid moth caterpillar, but I am not sure.

    My friends Harold Greeney, TYom Walla, and others have made a magnificent “Caterpillars of Ecuador” website and this one is probably on it somewhere!

  4. Neil Faulkner
    Posted August 19, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    The lichen mimic critters look like they might be bagworms, moth larvae that wrap themselves in silk and then cover the silk in scraps of debris. But that’s just a provisional guess on my part.

    I’m a bit more confident in saying that the putative Herring Gull really is a Herring Gull.

    Could it be possible to put the captions after, rather than before, the wildlife photos for those of us who like to try and ID the critters for ourselves?

  5. ladyatheist
    Posted August 20, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    That caterpillar is gorgeous! It may be a previously unknown one and should be called Saturniidae Carsonis. They may be the smartest species, as they seemed to know they were fated to be eaten and thus did not develop.

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