Readers’ wildlife photographs

April 2, 2015 • 6:45 am

Reader Joe Dickinson sent some lovely pictures of sea turtles. I had no idea that they had “cleaning stations,” or even engaged in a symbiotic relationship with cleaner fish. I suppose it’s a genuine symbiosis because the turtles also benefit by the fish removing algae that cause drag.

Here are some green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) photographed a couple of weeks ago on and around a famous turtle cleaning station in the Olowalu Coral Gardens just off the southwest coast of Maui.  This is another mutualistic “cleaner” relationship involving several species of fish. Note that you can see streaks with differing amounts of algae on the shells even of turtles not being cleaned at the moment of the photo.  The lighting varies considerably depending on depth and clouds or sun (the latter changing frequently because of the shifting clouds that hang around the West Maui mountains).  Once again, just snorkeling with my little Canon Power Shot D20.

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We haven’t had pictures by regular Diana MacPherson for a while, but here’s a recent contribution:

Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  On Deck with Seeds:

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Male White-breated Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) Sits on Deck Railing:

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Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) Flattens Out on Deck:

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Eastern Chipmunk Goes Squirrely:

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The next frame after the squirreliness:

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16 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

    1. Delightful. The sniff, the start, the full flight.
      I’ve encountered the term squirrely as an aviator. A squirrely wind is accompanied by the wind sock acting like a cat’s tail.

  1. Wonderful turtle photos. I’ve dived a number of sites off the west coast of Maui and it’s so lovely; these photos are causing me to pine!

    I’m not sure I’d describe Olowalu as southwest Maui – the southern tip of West Maui is how I would put it, since it’s halfway between Kihei and Lahaina (unless there’s another Olowalu).

    And – the tripmunk chiptych is hilarious!

    1. It seems like I’ve driven by there hundreds of times and never thought to get in and check out the snorkeling. Guess I still have many places to check out on Maui.

    2. “All hands on deck! Get into attack position…”

      “Aaah, stealth mode fail. I’m framed!”

      “Let’s engage afterburners.”

  2. Sea turtle hide makes for some seriously good-looking cowboy boots. I looked at a pair a few months ago that a guy here in Dallas was selling on Craigslist but they were a little too small for me.

  3. Oooo lovely turtle pictures! I spent a lot of time watching turtles eating algae and hanging around on Big Island HI. I so wanted to touch them but you can’t as they are protected.

    It’s funny how underwater everything looks blue like that. When I went to the Great Barrier Reef, I thought the reef was dead but it was just the lighting. You realize how what we’ve seen on TV etc. has been well lit by strobes.

  4. Beautiful turtles…I’ve actually snorkeled at that exact spot. Hawaii is the best.

    I’m happy to find out the name of the Black Capped Chickadee as I see them flitting about around here and never knew what they were.

    1. It depends on where you are – here in Texas we have Carolina chickadees instead of black-capped. I’m not sure I could tell the difference, but my field guides tell me these are Carolina ones.

      1. They can be hard to differentiate–it’s easiest to use voice, then there are some subtle plumage differences–but thankfully they remain pretty geographically separated, with only a narrow hybrid zone.

  5. Love the turtles! I’ve never been to Hawaii and have always wanted to do a bit of snorkeling there – now I want to even more!

    Great pics as always Diana – love the squirelly chipmunk. 🙂

  6. Great shots of turtle cleaning, and just plain turtles!

    Nice shots, Diana, and that chippy has a lot of character!

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