Readers’ wildlife photos

September 4, 2014 • 4:17 am

We have photos from two readers today.

Stephen Barnard has sent us four pictures from Idaho and notes. The first is a beautiful vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) , which he originally misidentified:

I’ve started to make lists, like a 19th century naturalist or a modern day birder. I thought this was a Song Sparrow because they’re super common here, but my local Idaho birders on Facebook set me straight. There is no joy greater than to be proven wrong on the Internet, by trusted friends, when it results in a lifer ID.


A violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina), with the note:

These are ridiculously hard to photograph in flight.


Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis):


Cow and calf elk (Cervus canadensis)


And finally, from reader D. P. McCarthy, a lovely bee photo with the neelessly self-deprecating caption:

I’m no Stephen Barnard, but here’s snap of a bee visiting  Tithoniablossom.

It looks like a Bombus (bumblebee) to me, but I don’t know from bees. Readers?


12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. It’s even better when you can get such a superb photograph of a life bird. Congratulations on both, Stephen!

  2. I would’ve thought that sparrow was a song sparrow too because of all its stripes! I aways mix up the terms, tree sparrow and song sparrow because I imagine a tree sparrow being stripy because of tree bark!

    Those elk have oddly shaped mouths. I’ve never noticed that before.

  3. Wonderful pictures, as always. I too have expended much effort having fun taking pictures of insects and spiders outdoors, but ‘I am not worthy’, in comparison.
    There are carpenter bees that have yellow fur and resemble bumble bees, but I do not think this is one of them. The closest bumblebee I found to this one is Bombus rufocinctus, which often sports a broad orange band, but often not. This looks like that species, but I cannot be sure.

  4. Lovely photos!

    But where is the body of the shorter, dark crane strolling between the two others? 🙂

    I have never heard of Mexican sunflowers before! What great annuals to grow for the bees and the butterflies.

  5. Nailing the exposure like that in the first shot of the sparrow is impressive. Hard direct sunlight like that with the subject of interest shadowed and directly-lit objects in both foreground and background is kinda the textbook example of “you gotta be crazy if you think you can pull this off,” but Stephen did….


  6. The vesper sparrow is terrific, so beautifully framed by that dark-green and pale foliage. Couldn’t be better.

    And so is the bumblebee. The contrast of colors there is truly exciting.

    1. Ditto, an amazing looking bird that I’ve never heard of. Sigh, yet another thing in the world I really really want to see.

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