Readers’ wildlife photos

Some kind readers have sent in photos, but I really could use more, so if you have some good ones (no duds!), send them along. Thanks!

Here’s a single photo, but a good one, sent just this morning by reader “grasshopper”. His/her/zir/their notes are indented:

Here is a photo I took this morning of a Grey Goshawk (Accipiter novaehollandiae), near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. This bird happens to be the white morph of the species. The bird sits upon my aviary quite frequently hoping to get a free feed, I think. [JAC: Beyond finding out that grey and white morphs interbreed freely, I haven’t located any genetic information on this variation, though I suspect, given the distinctness of the morphs and no reported intermediates, it’s due to segregation of alleles at a single gene.]

From reader Christopher:

I found this massive centipede  (at least 4 inches long) under a large rock on a hillside in Climax Springs, Mo, on the Lake of the Ozarks. Perhaps some of the readers can identify it to at least the genus; I haven’t the foggiest idea. Whatever it is, it was spectacular!

From reader Chuck Spotts:

About 10 days ago (Feb 15 or so) a charm of hummingbirds arrived at my feeder here in NorCal.  In the winter months prior, I had very few.  In the winter a full feeder lasts 2 weeks or more.  But recently I fill it every day and they drink it dry!  I don’t know if they are just passing through or if they will sick around (I’d prefer the latter). They appear to be Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) both female and male.  Time to buy sugar.

Finally, a lovely moth from W. Neil Everett, with some twig mimicry I hadn’t realized was a feature of this species:

Found this luna moth (Actias luna) resting at my front door this morning. Looks like he survived a bat or bird attack (frayed wing tips, looks asymmetric). I say “he” because the antennae are fairly feathery, which is supposed to be a characteristic of the male, although I don’t have another moth with less feathery antennae for comparison. I’m in central Texas, and it seems like this is about as far to the southwest as they’ve been spotted. The mimicry of a stem with leaf buds is phenomenal (especially in the early spring time), and it even has shading and highlights. Hard to fool echolocation, however.


  1. Posted April 2, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The centipede checks out to be in the family Scolopendridae (one of the bark centipedes), since it has 21 pairs of legs, including the pinchy looking pair on the rear. But I can’t get it to genus.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the Bark Centidpede (Scolopocryptops sexspinosus)? Those seem to be all over the US & parts of Canada.

      • Christopher
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        I submitted it to the Missouri dept. of Conservation website and they simply filed it under “soil centipedes” and labeled it even more simply as a “red centipede”. Not very helpful, but they seem to write for their articles at 3rd grade level at best.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Well, that’s a start at least. Thanks. I don’t believe I have any books about centipedes, not sure we have any books on many insects specific to Missouri beyond butterflies, of course. I don’t even know what diagnostics to look for so every little bit of info about it is new and much appreciated.

      • Christopher
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        That should have read “insects or other Arthropoda” but you get what I mean.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Scolopocryptops sexspinosus has 23 pairs of legs, and I counted 21 (by counting body segments best I could). I could have miss-counted, but anyway counting should include the last pair of legs that are modified into pincers, but not the first pair which are now poison fangs.
      There are a lot of centipedes that look like this, but fewer that are reeeally big. Bugguide is often especially useful for the U.S. and Canada, even showing records of species for a given state. But the only two species from this family in Missouri that are recorded in Bugguide are the giant desert centipede (wow!) and the red-headed centipede. Neither really looks like this one so I basically gave up on it.

      • Christopher
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the attempt. Perhaps I should try submitting the image to bug guide. I’ve never done that, and I’m off tw@tter, so it may be my only access to experts.

  2. Christopher
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Wow. What a neat hummingbird pic. It almost looks like a time lapse photo. I never see more than three around my feeder, usually fighting each other over who’s turn it is to eat.

    • Chuck
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Three or four is typical for my area as well. This was an unusual treat. That group has gone, but another group arrived just last week! (3/24). The new group has a couple of Rufous as well as the Anna’s.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        Beautiful hummingbird pics! We only have Ruby-throateds out here, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them coexisting peacefully.

  3. kathy
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    regarding the hummers: my Samsung 8, and probably other cell phones, has a slow-motion video feature. Their acrobatics and chirping are more amazing when they are slowed down to our human slow paced abilities

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Wow! Look at all those hummingbirds. Awesome!

  5. Liz
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if a white morph is the same as a leucistic bird. I love the second picture of the hummingbirds.

  6. Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    We got two hummingbirds to regularly visit last year and it was really the first time we had any. We were excited to see them. They are a fun bird. This winter I’ve also attracted a pair of Downy woodpeckers (I assume they are a mated pair but am not sure). They hit my feeder every day and are especially interested in my suet.

  7. Mark Joseph
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Superb pictures all!

  8. Posted April 2, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Lovely photos. I’ve seen hummingbirds getting captured by praying mantises before, not sure if it was on this site.

  9. Diane G.
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful goshawk, grasshopper! And quite the centipede, Christopher. I hope you do post it to BugGuide and report back. 🙂

    Neil, after decades of seeing Luna moths now and then, this is the first time I’ve noticed that twig/bud camo! I feel like such an idiot.

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