Readers’ wildlife photos

August 29, 2014 • 3:56 am

There are lots of birds today, but we have one creature for the herpers, too. American reader Joe Dickinson sends some photos from California:

From my morning walk down by Rio del Mar Beach and Aptos Creek, here are a brown pelican (Pelicanus occidentalis) sleeping on the wall adjacent to the promenade, oblivious to (or ignoring) walkers and joggers passing within 3 or 4 feet. . .


. . . and another black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) perched in exactly the same spot as the one I sent about 10 days ago, but with better light.  This one is a mature adult displaying its debonair plume.

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For contrast, I’m throwing in pelicans engaged in something of a feeding frenzy, taken about two months ago a little way along the beach.  The location of the sleeping pelican is  near the left edge of this shot.


Reader John Scanlon sends birds and a skink from Oz:

Herewith are several pics taken at Busselton, south of Perth on the west coast of southwestern Australia, that might be nearly good enough to use. Common and widespread species that I managed to get close to, so no testament to fancy skills or equipment.

Tiliqua rugosa (called Bobtail in WA, usually Shingleback in NSW, Sleepy Lizard in SA) on beachside dunes at midday, showing particularly good cryptic pattern on leaf litter and moss. One of the large Bluetongue skinks, obviously.

Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata), a common species of large honeyeater (Meliphagidae), close to camera with flash. [Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen) out of focus in background.]

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosus), nice waddling pose, and good light.
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7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Wow!
    I particularly like the stumpy lizard – as this example has a different pattern to the one in the link which is plain, does it belong to a subspecies or is there just a fair degree of variation?

    1. There are a few named subspecies, but colour and pattern vary a lot with soil type (this is a white sand area) and climate, e.g. very dark in relatively high, cool and summer-wet areas in the east.

  2. I am wondering why the Shingleback has the blue tongue. Is it mainly an attempt to startle a predator? As in ‘wow, this thing is nuts. Guess I better move on’?

      1. Tongue color is a mystery to me (as many things in nature are for that matter). Chow Chows have blueish purple tongues as well as Polar Bears, many parrots have black tongues as do many snakes, and as pictured the Shingleback and other skinks blue tongues. I’ve read that Parrots’ tongues usually match their beaks- sort of makes sense. Though most animals it seems have pink hued tongues. Just some random musings here.

        Oh, and great looking birds. Really nice night heron this time. And the scale-like symmetry of the Pelican’s wing feathers is striking…evolution at work.

        1. On further reflection, I would propose that the tongue of the Shingleback might be an attempt to make it look all putrid and icky.

          1. Should any predator get close enough to be nipped by a bobtail then they will discover it ain’t all bluff. They hold on too.

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