Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Mark Heath sent three photos from Mexico:

This is a Orange-breasted Bunting, Passerina leclancherii, taken at Playa Chipehua in Oaxaca, Mexico.


A female Oaxacan Spiny-tailed IguanaCtenosaura oaxacana, Mexico’s most endangered Iguana. It is endemic to 100 square kilometers of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, and it is estimated that only about 2500 breeding couples remain. A very lucky shot, as she lives with her partner in a hollow in a pile of old bricks in my partner’s grandmother’s garden in Magdalena Tequisistlan, Oaxaca.

The last photo is a Mexican Rock Squirrel, Otospermophilus varigatus, taken at Magdalena Apasco, Oaxaca. I hope you like them. I have a bit of a collection of wildlife shots taken in Oaxaca, mostly of birds and my passion . . . lizards.

And some woodpeckers from Cuba, sent by Karen Bartelt:

From Cuba!  I just got back from an 11 day birding trip to Cuba.  I had envisioned soldiers, checkpoints, looking at passports, but nothing could be further from reality.  I saw a few traffic police and never a long gun, even in the airport.  No one asked for any papers at all.  I don’t know what life is like for ordinary Cubans—there seems to be a dearth of consumer goods, especially in rural areas.  However, I always felt safe, and the guides were wonderful and knowledgable.  Yes, you do have to be a part of a People to People tour, but that’s part of the fun, as you get to meet some great Cubans.  Since we were a birding tour, we met with Cuban naturalists, park rangers, and took school supplies to a very rural school.  If you are afraid to go to Mexico, consider Cuba.  And I flew on Delta, something I’m now very happy about.
Of the 28 endemic birds, we saw 24, though I don’t have good pictures of them all.  I’m going to send a few batches of photos before I go in for a shoulder replacement in mid March (last year’s birding injury).
Cuban green woodpecker (Xiphidiopicus percusses), Havana Botanical Gardens, endemic:
West Indian woodpecker (Melanerpes superciliaris), Rancho San Vicente, near Vinales, regional (Greater Antillean) endemic.  Common bird.
Pair of Fernandina’s flickers (Colaptes fernandinae), near highway east of Playa Larga (near Bay of Pigs), endemic.  All of the power poles in Cuba are made of cement, but this courting pair apparently liked them well enough.


  1. Posted March 11, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Wonderful pictures! That is a rather strange looking iquana, and I never heard of it.
    I now see that Cuba is another great place to visit for nature photography. So many places, so little time…

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted March 11, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Also a thumb up for photography in Cuba. Point of order on a point raised in the article – you *don’t* have to be part of a tour to travel about the country.

      • Karen E Bartelt
        Posted March 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        If you are a US citizen, there are new restrictions since the cheeto came to power. If you are from someplace else, I’m sure there are more options.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted March 12, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          I am, mercifully, from someplace else.

  2. Colleen Milloy
    Posted March 11, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m so appreciative that these people not only have the patience to take such beautiful pictures of wildlife but also that they take the time to share them. Thank you!

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted March 11, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink


    • Posted March 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      +1 more. Thank you Karen Bartelt and Mark Heath (and Jerry)!

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted March 11, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    What the Eastern US, or at least my back yard, is a good green woodpecker.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      What we need? Concur! 🙂

  4. Posted March 11, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Very nice!

  5. Posted March 11, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I love the Wildlife Photos series. It keeps letting me see animals I’ve never seen before.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Most interesting info at that iguana link! For one thing, these guys are tiny–“[a]verage length from snout to vent is 4.75″; average weight 2.2 oz.” And of course their biggest threat is loss of habitat, specifically, “[h]abitat conversion for cattle grazing.”

    Beautiful bunting and cute squirrel as well–I hope you send in more of your Oaxacan photos, Mark!

    Karen–wow, what a trip! Very interesting about the logistics, and what a success bird-wise! What was the total number of species you saw?

    Also–I don’t quite get your remark about Delta…

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted March 12, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I would assume it’s about Delta’s decision to discontinue NRA member discounts.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 12:28 am | Permalink

        Oh, right! Thanks!

  7. Mark R.
    Posted March 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    These species were all new to me. Thanks!

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