Readers’ wildlife photographs

August 30, 2014 • 4:13 am

Reader Diana MacPherson is busy documenting her birds and chippies, and reader Matt sent some loons:

This first picture is a bit blurry but I thought it was interesting to see the size difference between the Eastern Grey Squirrel ([Sciurus carolinensis] this guy has really red fur) and the Chipmunk ([Eastern chipmunk: Tamias striatus] who you can see peeking up from the grass). The chipmunk is careful around the squirrel but they seem to get along okay at the feeder; I’ve heard squirrels kill chipmunks but I’ve never seen it at my feeder.


A very bendy chipmunk grooms himself.


Grooming the tail (notice the dirty snout – must’ve been foraging earlier).


A female house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) looks like she is gathering nesting material. It’s too late for that, silly bird.


Reader Matt G gives us a first for this site: loons (at least a first of the avian variety). The chicks ride on mom’s back, and this is the Common Loon, Gavia immer. Matt’s notes:

I teach science in NYC, but spend the summer on Caroga Lake in the Adirondack Mountains.  A pair of loons also spends the summer on Caroga Lake, and I have had the privilege of watching them raise their young.  They have not been reproductively successful for the last couple years (eggs which fail to hatch, predation from snapping turtles and eagles) but they have easily done their share to perpetuate the species.  These were taken with a Canon Rebel XS from the wooden kayak I built several summers ago.

Loon 1

Loon 2



26 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

    1. Loons and ducks are in the same class (Aves) but different orders. According to TimeTree, they share a common ancestor somewhere around 95 million years ago.

    1. Oh, we have both kinds up here. This is redneck country. I drove past a little white church (white in both ways) a few years ago which had posted on its billboard “Fish Don’t Walk – Jesus Saves”. My neighbors across the lake have started flying the Confederate flag (and have positioned it ABOVE the US flag). I worry that one of the many overpowered motorboats or jet skis will cream one of the loons one day.

      1. Motorboats, jetskis & kayaks do not get along! I haven’t kayaked in years, but I have a 14′ (perfect for my short size – anyone taller will tip it) plastic one with two deck hatches. It tracks beautifully! I never took it where people motorboat as I’m way low to the ground & hard to see if you aren’t looking (which is what I wanted so I could observe wildlife). The only thing you can really see of me from a distance is the yellow of my paddles flicking as I paddle.

  1. Very nice pictures Matt and Diana.

    Matt, the baby loon’s expression/body language in the last pic is priceless.

    1. A buddy of mine rescued a chick several years ago. The chick was very young and way too far away from its parents (rejected, perhaps?). My friend was in his canoe and scooped the chick up. He placed the chick on the bottom of the canoe, where it prompted snuggled up to his foot. He had seen the parents earlier, and so paddled back to them. Both chicks (loons lay two eggs at a time) were successfully reared that year, so the parents were obviously willing to take the chick back.

      1. Regarding the chick, that is wonderful!

        I’ve read that loons are intolerant of boats and other disturbances, and that many lakes have boat restrictions during breeding season. I doubt the lake you are at would be able to do that based on what you wrote about the inclinations of its human inhabitants/landowners, though.

        1. I’d like to clarify… When I wrote that comment above about boats, I was thinking about how boats could in theory cause a loon chick to be abandoned/lost in the first place. You had written earlier that there are jetskis and motorboats permitted on that lake.
          Obviously a canoe saved the chick in this case –a good thing.

  2. Great shots all. Diana, in the first picture it looks as though the chippie has a really really long grey rail. Guess the squirrel’s just hunkered down.

    1. That squirrel is really healthy. I rarely had any squirrels at my feeder this summer & assumed they were living it up in the woods. Only now do I see them showing up again. I was very impressed with this guy’s lovely bushy tail.

      There is also a black squirrel that comes to the feeder. Whenever I let my gigantic dog out, I yell “run animals” & make sure they’ve all made it to trees, holes, hiding spots. The black squirrel is the slowest squirrel in the history of squirrels. He looks alert and thinks a while if he should leave, I usually have to tell him twice to run away.

      Yesterday, there were three chippies & one squirrel. One chippy on the deck (which I didn’t see and only darted off after my dog was outside) & two chippies & a squirrel under the feeder. One chippy went to the right while the remaining chippy and the squirrel both ran up the same tree to the left. The little chippy pretty much kept pace with the big squirrel!

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