Readers’ wildlife photographs

April 13, 2015 • 7:15 am

Photographer Pete Moulton, who’s supplied us with some great pictures, always forgets about us, and I have to go onto his Facebook page and beg him for some of the photos he posts there. Here’s a batch of herp photos I wheedled out of him:

Per your request, here are a few lizards. A lot of people think of Arizona as a pretty snake-y place–and it is!–but we’ve got lizards too. In fact, I think Arizona’s state lizard list is the largest in the US at 49 native species, plus three introduced species.
First up is probably the most commonly photographed of our species: a Desert Spiny LizardSceloporus magister. These are large and easily seen, which makes them photographic favorites. This one is a half-grown female at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
Desert Spiny Lizard_4-11-15_DBG_3094 copy
Common Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana from the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area in south Phoenix. Sky-blue dorsal spotting indicates a male. These are very common lizards hereabouts.
Side-blotched Lizard_Rio Salado 5-30-10_0028
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard Gambelia wislizenii from the confluence of the Rio Salado and the Rio Verde north of Mesa. This female was a side benefit during a dragonflying trip.
Gambelia wislizenii
Tiger Whiptail Aspidoscelis tigris, also from the Salado-Verde confluence. The most numerous whiptail in my area. Aspidoscelis is an interesting genus, in that six of our eleven species aren’t really species at all, but parthenogenetic clones. This one, however, does reproduce sexually.
Tiger WT_Granite Reef 6-7-09_5500
A cryptic lizard (in fact, this is the “chameleon” once sold in pet stores) from reader Barn Owl, who still has not adopted the barn cat La Reina:
I was out in the backyard with my d*gs this afternoon, checking my vegetable garden after the rain showers rolled through, and I spotted a Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) on the snow pea vines.  It was almost exactly the color of the undersides of the leaves – I’ve attached a photo, which unfortunately isn’t of the high quality typical of most Readers’ Wildlife Photos (but it’s about the best I can do with my little FinePix).
Finally, we have two photos from perhaps the youngest reader to grace the photography page. Brianna, daughter of reader “darrelle”, is only eleven, but has already entered a wildlife photography contest. The captions are her father’s, but the photos are hers.
The first is of a Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) in breeding plumage. He was looking fairly comfortable, all snuggled up, but he was keeping an eye on the photographer!
Brown Pelican in Breeding Season Plumage -Pelecanus Occidentalis
The second is of a Great Egret (Ardea alba), sometimes also called a Great White Heron. He is just smoothly gliding into the sunset. I really like the lighting on this one.
Great Egret-Ardea Alba

27 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

  1. I envy Arizonans their lizards. Especially the Side-blotched. (I was ready to see it slowly unfold into a covey of female nudes) NY must have a few, but I’ve never seen one.

    1. Come on down for a visit, rickflick! Arizona’s a great place for all kinds of wildlife watching and photographing. The reason I moved here, in fact.

  2. I’d say Brianna has a great future as a wildlife photographer ahead of her, should she choose to go in that direction. These two images are terrific!

    1. Thank you, Pete! I love snakes and lizards,and I am very good at identifying the snakes in our area.Also, I have always wanted to live in Arizona, because of the wildlife.

  3. Just to be pedantic, the great egret(ardea alba) and the great blue heron (ardea herodias) in its white morph (quite uncommon) are not the same bird. If it has black legs it’s an egret. Yellow legs = heron.

  4. We have a phrynosomatid relative of the Desert Spiny Lizard here: the Texas Spiny Lizard. I usually have at least one in my backyard, hanging out around the cottonwood tree. Very quick, and quite skittish.

    I love the photo of the brown pelican eye, with all the detail of the facial feathers and skin.

  5. The side blotched lizard has a very interesting mating system, where different morphs of males compete with each other in a game of ‘rock paper scissors’. I think it is that orange males out-compete blue males, blue males out-competes yellow males, and yellow beats orange.

  6. I’ve seen clouds that resemble birds before, but that egret marks the first time I’ve noticed a bird that looks like a cloud.

  7. Great work, Pete and Brianna. Thanks a bunch!

    Pete, for a moment there, I thought that the black critter entwining the snow peas was the subject of your photo (like a snake or something). 😀 Great camouflage.

  8. I’ve seen anoles like that in Hawaii. I’m sure they are different species, but they look the same to a layman like myself. Does it have chameleon abilities? I know the ones in Hawaii will turn brown depending on what it is perching on.

    Great lizards…never met a lizard I didn’t like.
    Can a parthenogenetic clone reproduce with another parthenogenetic clone? And if so, are their offspring always parthenogentic or can the male genetic info influence a later generation? I guess the clones would always be female, right? I have a hard time wrapping my head around that one.

    1. Great lizards…never met a lizard I didn’t like.

      Exactly; them and spiders. Anything that keeps down the bug population while being cute ranks high on my list.

  9. Thanks for all the lizards. Not that I mind birds and mammals, but it’s nice to see my specialty now and again.

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