Readers’ wildlife photos

September 1, 2014 • 3:44 am

We’ll start with three raptor photos from Stephen Barnard in Idaho, and then proceed to the cats.

First we have a Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni):


Then a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis):


And a Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus):


Reader John sent some cheetah photos and notes (indented):

Following your recent call for photographs I decided to dig out some of a feline variety. The attached were taken in 2004 in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The Kruger is SA’s largest ‘park’ at 20,000km2 – about the size of New Jersey. Its size means that it doesn’t have the feel of a park and if you wander of the beaten track, you can spend many hours exploring the bush or siting by waterholes without seeing many other visitors. The trip was not long after I made the switch to a Canon 300D, an early digital SLR; up to that point having been reluctant to discard traditional film.  The sharp eyed will notice I hadn’t quite got to grips with the auto focus.

This Cheetah crossed a dirt track in front of our vehicle and then spent some time in a small tree sharpening its claws whilst also keeping a watchful eye on us.

2004-12-19_Kruger National Park_Cheetah_Coyne-0002

It then wandered into the scrub, which was quite lush because it was December and the rainy season. Shortly afterwards it reappeared from the bush and walked slowly alongside the track as we inched our vehicle along and took photographs.

2004-12-19_Kruger National Park_Cheetah_Coyne-0006

It was clearly mindful of our presence but otherwise carried on as usual including regularly marking its territory.

2004-12-19_Kruger National Park_Cheetah_Coyne-0005

Later during the same holiday my daughter was lucky enough to enter an enclosure and spend some time petting a Cheetah!

(Professor Ceiling Cat doesn’t ever get to do that. . . )

2004-12-23_South Africa-0068_Wilderness_Alex Cheetah

 I’ve been lucky enough to see wild cheetah a number of times but sadly, on a trip to the Okavango in 1988, I have also seen the darker side with Cheetah skins hanging in a tannery in Maun. I’ll spare you the depressing image.


8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great photos! Jealous that Stephen has these animals so close to him. My hawks are very skittish and you can’t even open a door or they will fly away.

    1. With lenses these days, they may not be as close as one might think. (As you well know.)

      The first two gorgeous hawks are also juveniles (not entirely sure about the harrier) and juvies are often easier to photograph than adult birds. This is a good time to see juvies, so keep your eyes peeled. 🙂

      1. Yeah, there is a young red-tailed hawk down the back of my property that I call “screechy” because he screeches all the time. I’ve found young hawks do this so I don’t know how they find their prey.

        He is timid though – won’t hang around if he sees me.

        1. Yes, there are two fledgling red-tails here as well, calling nearly constantly! I suspect they’re still soliciting food from their parents, mobile though they now are.

Leave a Reply