Readers’ wildlife photos

Don’t forget to send in your good photos, folks. I’ll be here all year (well, till December 15). I am running a bit low.

We have a selection today from Stephen Barnard in Idaho. His and IDs are indented.

These photos were taken through a spotting scope at full magnification in poor light, so they aren’t quality photos but they show some interesting behavior.

A cow moose (Alces alces) with two calves was crossing a field at a good pace to get to the cover of the ponds. One of the calves has tiny spike antlers. They were followed by two mature bulls, probably intent on hanky panky. The bulls will drive off the calves and likely fight for mating privileges.

As a lagniappe, here’s a Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) that sensed prey (probably a meadow vole) by sound and is banking for the kill.

This is the very tame Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) that hangs around the house — the same individual that was eating a vole in a photo I sent before. He or she is looking at my d*gs, and I’m as close as I can get to fit the bird in the frame. I’m flummoxed at choosing a name. Male or female?

A herd of Elk  (Cervus canadensis) across Loving Creek from my house. The rut is over.

A sunrise landscape this morning, pointing in the opposite direction  of the sunrise. The sunrises are spectacular here, but the angle on the  landscape isn’t photogenic to my taste. Sometimes, with the just right  weather conditions, the opposite view works.

Finally, the Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) have arrived for the winter. These are  an adult and three juveniles in Loving Creek.


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Love those trumpeter swans, largest flying bird in North America. Would the moose situation be a different form of sexual assault in another species.

  2. Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! On the internet, if you ask for suggestions to name something you are going to get ideas like “Hawky McHawkface”.

  3. Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Zawesome photos and great commentary. Do the moose have any tick problems like in the northeast?
    Thank you!

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Ticks aren’t very common here, but I’ve seen magpies on the backs of moose, presumably eating ticks.

  4. Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “Sometimes, with the just right weather conditions, the opposite view works.”

    Wow. It sure does in this photograph.

  5. Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Stephen, yet another spectacular sunrise. I have your last one with the blue heron on my LG 34inch Widescreen and it is powerfully meditative. Therapy from stimulated electrons. Your photos make me appreciate the universe.

  6. rickflick
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    A fine collection Stephen. I especially like the harrier. It’s a single image that seems to tell a story – the bird is banking to turn and monitoring pray with a glance over the shoulder, ready to make a dramatic dive. At least that’s how I see it.

  7. claudia baker
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I’m falling in love with Idaho through Stephen’s pictures.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      I’ve spent a few months in Idaho and decided I probably won’t make it my home. I’ve learned that, while it is a beautiful state with tons of great forests, mountains, etc, it has a few drawbacks. One is that it is very conservative politically, unless you live in a large city like Boise. cell phone, and internet reception falls off dramatically outside the city. Much of the state is a high desert – hot and dry – which means if you come from, say east of the Mississippi where humidity and rainfall keep thing green, you might find yourself under pesky adaption pressure. Also, the forested areas consist of few species compared to the diversity in the East. Agriculture surrounding Boise/Nampa for instance is only possible due to a carefully regulated irrigation system fed by mountain snows. The summers are thick with smoke from forest fires, the winters are fairly mild with not a lot of snow unless you are up in the northern panhandle or in a mountain setting.
      Living in Idaho means some trade-offs would have to be made.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        The place where I live in Idaho is atypical of the state in terms of wildlife and, in general, the ecosystem, and especially the hydrology. If fact, it’s atypical of anywhere I’ve been, in the Rocky Mountain West or anywhere else.

        • rickflick
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I know about where you are. You are in the central area with what looks to be a more complex environment than in the west. It is quite remote from human centers of civilization as I recall. (No ballet or opera 😎

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            I wouldn’t call it remote. It’s 30 minutes to an airport, and that gets me anywhere in the world. My tastes run more to the natural world than to opera or ballet (especially ballet). In truth, live music of any genre has never appealed to me.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos. That Mallard looks insignificant next to the 4 swans.

    You can always call the Hawk a gender-less name like Pat or Chris.

    • revelator60
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Or Evelyn. Vivian used to be a multi-sex name as well, until Gone with the Wind. There’s also Robin, but a Hawk cannot be a Robin.

  9. Posted November 30, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Lovely photos, Stephen. My suggestion for your hawk’s name is either Bob Marley or Rita Marley. 🙂

  10. PJ Crepeau
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    “Her final argument: “Yes, I’m a woman; that’s not a liability. That’s an asset!”. In other words, being a male is a liability.”

    Isn’t that a straw man argument?

  11. Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I love the photos of the predatory birds. Thank you for your pics!

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