Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

Let’s begin with a movie of two pileated woodpeckers taken by reader Rickflick. (Be sure to enlarge it by clicking on “vimeo” to the lower right after it starts.) His notes:

The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a charming, showy bird, about the size of a crow. I saw this adult and juvenile feeding on a dead maple trunk early in the morning. The adult(male) was all business, picking ants out of a hole dug months earlier for easy access. The juvenile (the one with the crew cut) seems to be trying to impress the parent by pretending to be busy foraging while obviously looking for a handout.

Some nice insect photos by Damon Williford. His notes and IDs are indented:

Attached are some photos of insects that I took last fall with my new macro lens. All of the photos were taken in an area near Portland, Texas on the central Texas Gulf Coast about 230 miles south of Houston and 10 miles north of Corpus Christi.
A Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanilla):
Megachile leafcutter bee. helped me identify the genus but not the species. It may not be possible to determine species from a photo:
These two photos are of Roseate Skimmers (Orthemis ferruginea). The first photo is the male and the second the female [JAC: the dark spot on the wing is a pterostigma, a heavier bit that is used to help the insect glide]
This last photo is a Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum):

We need an ID of this turtle, whose photo was sent by James Blilie (data below). Readers?

My son Jamie took this photo today of an unusual turtle on our Turtle Island.
We think it’s a Spiny Soft-Shell (Apalone spinifera), probably with snout damage.We are looking for help IDing it.  We live just north of St. Paul, Minnesota; and our pond is on the Mississippi drainage (via our local Rice Creek).



  1. Posted August 25, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Very nice! The juvie woodie does look like its just going through the motions.

    Have fun with that macro lens, Damon! It brings a life of intrigue and adventure. I especially like the male roseate skimmer with its beautiful ‘bokeh’.

  2. Terry Sheldon
    Posted August 25, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Pileated woodpeckers are among my favorite birds. I’ve seen one maybe a half dozen times and count myself fortunate to have had each encounter. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Posted August 25, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting the turtle shot Jerry!

  4. rickflick
    Posted August 25, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The macro shots are well done. I wonder how you get such depth of field. Many of mine are too shallow.

    In Michigan we used to call those soft shelled turtles “rubber backs”.

    • Posted August 25, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      There are two factors at play. One is a smaller aperture, of course. Then there is the distance from the subject. Focusing on objects that are farther away will have more parts that are acceptably in focus.

      • Posted August 26, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget the most important factor, which is plain dumb luck.

  5. Posted August 25, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Very nice work by all.

  6. Aaron Siek
    Posted August 25, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Definitely a spiny soft shell turtle’ the small, cone-like projections at the front of the carapace, just behind the neck, are diagnostic. Does look like the fellow suffered an injury that snipped off the tip of the usually more snorkel-like schnozz, though I’ve seen a few that hatched with shorter-than-usual pig-like snouts. These guys are fast, even on land! There are some fun videos on YouTube of softshell turtles freaking out onlookers by tearing across a lawn or something at surprising speed.

    • Posted August 25, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the confirmation! Jamie will be pleased.

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


    The pileated I saw was moving its head like it was filled with a very dense weight – these guys are much more agile.

%d bloggers like this: