Readers’ wildlife photos

July 11, 2014 • 4:09 am

We have two sets of photos today. Keep ’em coming in, folks, but remember that I can’t guarantee that what you send will be published.

First, reader Pete Moulton sends three photos of his favorite bird, the Green Heron. Pete also has a public ipernity page with many more photos. Click all photos to enlarge.

Here are some shots from the series I posted over the weekend. First, the Green Heron (Butorides virescens} taking aim at its morsel, that barely visible Mexican Amberwing (Perithemis intensa). You can tell this is serious business, even when it involves such tiny prey. Mexican Amberwings are only about 25mm long.

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Second, the strike.

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And, finally, proudly displaying its catch.

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Reader Tyler also sent three photos of my favorite beast, Procyon lotor:

My girlfriend (a U Chicago Alum) and I were visiting my parents in Ohio over the Fourth of July weekend, and we spotted a couple juvenile raccoons in the back yard. I snapped a few pictures from the porch, and [girlfriend] moved in for a closer look with the zoom lens. Initially, the raccoons (apparently siblings) ran up different trees. They were both vocalizing in a somewhat agitated manner until one worked up the courage to join its sibling in the other tree. At this point, their vocalizations seemed to change and become more relaxed. Eventually, they both made a break for it and escaped the pesky paparazza below.

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They are such beautiful animals, aren’t they?


17 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Lovely photos. The Green Heron about to snatch the prey is cool because of the intensity of its gaze & look at that creepy long neck when it strikes!!

    Those racoons look so sweet. A few years ago, there were baby racoons here and they all are so trepidatious in their exploring together.

  2. Raccoons are adorable when they are young, but they don’t age well. I have a great shot (pre-digital, and I have no idea where it is) of three young raccoons on the same side of a tree trunk – one about two feet off the ground, one at three feet and the last at four feet. They were all staring sideways at me. Mom was at the base and had apparently sent them up when she detected me.

  3. The house us brothers and sisters lived in had a built-in garage. One morning we found a few baby raccoons wandering around inside it (we lived near a large woods and raccoons dined on our garbage)with no sign of a mother. They just walked around happy as could be, poking their noses into everything. But when one wandered into a far inside corner of the garage and one of us kids tried to get a broom behind it to chase it out of the corner, wow, this little thing got right up on its hind legs, bared its teeth, and hissed ferociously! Man, did we all back off in a hurry. We just let them alone and after a bit, they wandered out and off into the nearby brush. We got the message, don’t fool with Mother Nature…or her babies!

  4. Great shots, Pete! It would have been nice to have had the whole bug in the frame in the first one, but the single limb sticking up from behind the rock is perfect, once you realize what it is.

    Raccoons seem to have more intelligence, including social intelligence, than most other “varmints.” Not sure why I should think so, or even if it has any foundation in fact. It’s not hard imagining an alternative reality where raccoons adopted humans rather than cats — though, I should hasten to add, this reality with cats is much superior!


    1. Thanks, Ben! Truth is, I didn’t even notice the dragonfly until I opened up this image on the computer. It would’ve taken only a slight adjustment to get it all in, had I known it was there.

  5. Love raccoons. When I was a kid, my parents used to leave any chicken leftovers out on a paper plate on the porch, light on, so we could watch them come down and take it. (In hindsight, they may not have done it out of any love for the beasties, but just because its cleaner just to hand over the goods than have them rip through the trash). Then a couple years later, my parents gave me Frosty. That pretty much clinched it.

  6. I love to watch Green Herons stalk their prey. They are so deliberate and intense. I had the great fortune to grow up a stone’s throw away from the Everglades, home to scores of species of water fowl. I used to sit on a tree stump or a rock while fishing and watch these little green ninjas pluck water bugs off the surface from the banks of the canals. Great pictures, I can practically smell the muck right now.

  7. Great photos today. What a terrific hunter the Green Heron is…reminds me of how reptiles stalk and strike. Evolution.

    I once had a co-worker that raised raccoons as pets. I don’t know how well they can be domesticated. Sometimes she brought them to work in crates. I didn’t much like that and either did the raccoons. Glad to see these guys free in the wild.

  8. “They are such beautiful animals, aren’t they?”

    They are, but every time I see one I am reminded of the raccoon family who stole an entire box of Cinnabons from our picnic table in the middle of a crowded campground in Yosemite. Those buns were going to be our dessert! I yelled at the ‘coons and they stopped and looked back at me with a “What’s your problem?” look that made me laugh in spite of the loss.

    1. Yes, they deserved those Cinnabons: they are, after all, raccoons!

      I first discovered raccoons in my area in my old house, which had a cat door for the moggie. One day I came home around Christmastime to find an entire pound box of See’s chocolates (my favorite!) open, papers scattered about, and every chocolate gone. Later I found dirt in the cat’s water dish, and finally figured out the raccoons were dipping their paws in it. The real revelation came when I went into the kitchen at night and turned on the light, to find a huge mother raccoon and three babies eating the cat’s food. It was awesome! They are wonderful and clever animals and if they steal our food, well, it’s our fault, but, more important, they deserve it!

      The coons had, of course, discovered the cat door, which was three stories up the back outdoor stairs of an apartment.

      1. Someone I used to work with told me how he had had sod put down at his house but every morning, he would see the sod rolled up again. He thought at first that his neighbours were punking him but then caught racoons rolling them up in search of grubs.

  9. Sorry, I used to love the little raccoons, but not after I picked out the carcasses of my children’s little pet Bantam roosters from a triple layer of chicken wire. They could at least have finished their meal and saved me the pain of cutting the dead but uneaten chickens out of the wire.

    I will still admit that they are cute, but the antics are no longer as hilarious.

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