Readers’ wildlife photos

September 9, 2014 • 4:47 am

Mammals, leps, and birds today.From Joe Dickinson, we get—gophers! I think they need some whitening treatment:

The campground at Half Moon Bay Sate Beach, CA, is riddled with gopher holes.  These are pocket gophers, probably Thomomys bottae.  This guy, recognizable based on some bad upper incisors, popped up at several openings over a few minutes.



Reader Dom sends us two butterflies:

I attach some common butterfly photos taken with a Pentax ‘bridge’ camera at the end of August in North Norfolk between Gimingham and Trimingham.

A Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta – I had no idea that it was also found across Asia & into North America… With its wings closed it is hard to pick out on the brambles – Rubus fruticosa

Red Admiral 4

Red Admiral 1

 . . . and a speckled woodPararge aegeria which is less ‘in your face’!  The UK Butterflies website says it forms a cline “where individuals in the north are dark brown with white spots, with those in more southerly locations being dark brown with orange spots. This has given rise to a number of subspecies. “

Speckled wood

Finally, Diana MacPherson has some hummingbird snaps, showing how the iridescent appearance comes and goes:

This male ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) has taken to perching in the weigela bush so he can keep an eye on any interlopers to what he perceives as his nectar. I’ve watched the hummingbirds “cheat” with the rose of sharon next to this weigela; the rose does not have very accessible nectar, so the hummingbirds poke their beaks into the base of the flower on the outside of it. Smart. They must be able to smell the nectar.



Here the male turns his head to check out a female who is manoeuvring nearby, revealing the red colours in his feathers. You can also see his fluffy down near his bum.


7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Look at that gopher’s little ears! I think this guy needs to gnaw something then brush his teeth!

    I love the antennae on the butterflies. That first one looks completely different when closed up too!

    1. The construction would have been very intricate, because you’d only get very short planks out of a gopher. Even if there were giants in the earth in those days.

  2. The ‘pockets’ of pocket gophers are pretty remarkable. They are deep folds in their cheeks so that they can ‘stuff their faces’ without having to hold their food in their mouths. I think their pockets might be lined with fur, but I do not recall for certain.

  3. Pocket gophers can be the bane of existence for us western gardeners, as they dig tunnels and feed on roots. Gophers are recognized not by holes, though, but by the mounds of dirt they leave as they push it up out of their tunnels. I have had water spouting up in the garden and traced a tunnel back over 100 feet to the irrigation ditch – they undoubtedly dug the tunnel during the winter when the ditch was dry. Although trapping can help, according to one potato catalog I get, the best defense is, “a pack of hunting cats,” which, fortunately, I have.

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