Readers’ wildlife (and astronomy) photos

I’m in Las Cruces, New Mexico, staying with old friends, and I have had, beside convivial conversation, a fajita fix and a cat fix (there are two: one is a calico and the other a feisty tuxedo tom). Photos later.

I see from a very brief scan of the news that talks with North Korea actually look propitious, that Trump is getting ever deeper into trouble (I still predict he won’t last his first term) and two German rappers with anti-Semitic lyrics in their songs won the country’s hip hop music award, something that would never stand in the U.S. So it goes.

I take off today for six days on the road, with a few goals in mind but nothing fixed.  All this is to say that posting will be VERY light, at least by me, until the 25th, when I return here for two days before flying back to Chicago. The Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) abides. But I have a few minutes today to do a readers’ photo post.

Today we feature Aussie posters, the first being Tony Eales from Brisbane. As usual, readers’ notes and IDs are indented:

I recently went on a work trip to outback Queensland to a town called Winton. In my spare time I went looking for interesting local  wildlife to photograph. My prize find was a large wolf spider (Lycosidae). Volker Framenau is working on revising the Australian Lycosids when he can get funds. The family is apparently a mess with many misplaced at the genus level. He said it could be Hoggicosa sp or possibly an undescribed Portacosa sp. which is a new genus first described last year.

From reader Tim Anderson, who sent wildlife and planetary photos:

While being taken for a walk by Paddy the Magnificent Hound, I came upon a family of Black Kites (Milvus migrans). These raptors are very common all over eastern Australia. In some places they are so common that they displace the Australian Raven as the general scavenger.

And Jupiter:

This is an image of Jupiter taken on a very hazy night in Cowra, NSW. The atmosphere hereabouts is currently full of dust and smoke because local farmers are burning off the stubble to get ready for the next wheat crop.
I imaged the planet with a 9.25″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and an ASI224MC camera on an Skywatcher EQ8 mount. The image was captured as a video file, then decomposed to 182 still frames, then stacked with Autostakkert!, processed with Registax using the “wavelet method” (don’t ask me how that works, I just press the buttons), and finally colour adjusted with Photoshop.


  1. DrBrydon
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I think, based on the previous guide to Australian spiders, that those are of the variety known as Big Bastards.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Terrific pictures! I will always have a soft spot for big Lycosids. Years ago one delivered me the worst bite I had ever experienced. But that is just their way of saying ‘put me down, please’.

    One hears that Saturn and Mars were in close conjunction recently.

    Posted April 19, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Lovely spider, how did you keep it from running off? I don’t have any good kit for insect photos, but I do try from time to time with what I have. Spiders are a real pain, especially jumping spiders, who have a knack for jumping away or turning away as I click the button.

    Any idea what is causing the raven for kite displacement? I don’t know anything about kites, but I wouldn’t expect them to have anything close to the same niche as a raven.

    • tjeales
      Posted April 19, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      The spider was very co-operative. It would stand still for long periods followed by relatively short straight dashes making it easy to find again. I didn’t even need the macro gear for this guy but a a diffuser on the flash is necessary to get the nice even lighting instead of a harsh flat subject with long dark shadows.

  4. Mark Coggiano
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Striking photos! Marsupials have converged so much that one barely sees the remnants of a pouch?

  5. Dale Franzwa
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    As fate would have it, I just missed you. I spent eleven days in El Paso on personal business, having traveled there in my little motor home. Fairly windy on some days. But, I left on Monday and arrived in the San Diego area just this evening. Clearly, the timing here is the work of the devil. Oh, what the hell. Maybe, there’ll be a next time.

  6. Posted April 20, 2018 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Nice photos! Are the short leg-like bits on the spider its mandibles?

    • tjeales
      Posted April 20, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      They’re called Pedipalps or just palps

    • tjeales
      Posted April 20, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      They’re called Pedipalps or just palps

  7. Avis James
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I’m not old!

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