Readers’ wildlife photographs

November 19, 2015 • 7:30 am

Today we have a set of diverse photos from reader Susan Heller, along with her notes (indented):

Here are a few pix from the San Diego area in California for you, showing some of the things I’ve run into in recent years.

A Bighorn Sheep [Ovis canadensis] in the Anza Borrego Desert.  There’s a canyon there where you are guaranteed to see them.  Last time I was there I watched 16—a couple of rams, 6 females and 6 babies—make their way across a bouldery hillside. They are so nimble!


The little possum [Didelphis virginiana] showed up on a lawn behind my house, so I left him there thinking his mother would return. Two hours later I found him in my house!  So I took him to a possum rescue lady in Valley Center, who told me he needed a couple more weeks of bottle feeding and she’d take him on.  She graduates them from her house to a pen where they can practice digging for food, before she releases them.


The huge crab (?) spider lived on a rosebush in my front yard for a long time.  I don’t know spiders, so I’m guessing what he was.


The long-eared owls (Asio otus) appeared in a small flock in a camp ground in the Anza Borrego desert a few years ago.  They hung around for a couple weeks, then disappeared and we haven’t seen them since.  The dimorphism is wonderful!

The lazy raccoon [Procyon lotor] eating dog food lives under my sister’s deck: it’s one of several mothers who raise litters there, and last time I visited she had five babies with her.


The Allen’s Hummingbird [Selasphorus sasin] has been a resident in my backyard all summer; it’s interesting that Allen’s seems to be nudging the Anna Hummingbird out of the area. This one is a feisty little guy, guarding his feeder with twittering attacks on the interlopers, who are often house sparrows (how they learned to slurp up the sugarwater is beyond me. No one else has this problem here but me – and the Allen’s).


Burrowing Owl [Athne cunicularia] from the Salton Sea area.


My old moggie, Shelly.  I got him as a rescue cat when he was 8 years old and it took him several years to calm down (the scars on my arms attest to this). That’s why he’s included here in ‘wildlife.’ He was a great kitty, and lived to 20.

Shelley 12-2006

14 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

  1. The spider is a Green Lynx, Peucetia viridans. They are a pretty good sized spider.

    That baby ‘possum looks so fierce. Does he haunt your dreams by chance?

    1. I used to see these too when I lived in the area. They were very good at catching bees that come to flowers, as I recall.

      1. They are also common all the way over here on the righthand coast.

        When viewed from a low frontal angle their cephalothorax reminds me of a Jawa sandcrawler.

    2. Peucetia (Lynx spiders) are neat. Besides pouncing on prey, they often live on plants with sticky hairs where they ‘graze’ on gnats and other small insects that become ensnared. Lynx spiders may interact as mutualists with the plant by helping keep plant pests down, with the plant, by means of sticky hairs, subsidizing resident spiders with free food.
      Roses, I think, have glandular trichomes.

  2. This is an amazing series of pictures. I had visited Anza Borrego many times when I lived in …San Diego (excuse me…. *sigh*)… ok, when camping there we were overrun by the cutest kangaroo rats that came out at night to constantly hop across our camp site. I wish I knew about the bighorn sheep.

  3. Owls so often seem to have the most funny expressions. Burrowing owls especially. To me, this one seems to be impatient, waiting for you to take the picture already.

  4. Great selection and some were highly amusing the ‘yes can I help you’ looking owl two shot and the lazy raccoon..

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