Readers’ wildlife photos

June 9, 2018 • 7:45 am

We have two contributors today, and the last one sent a felid photo.

First up is Randy Schenck from Iowa, whose contribution is called “Finches Gone Wild”:

I cannot identify specifically but maybe the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus).  The water fountain continues to amaze every type of bird and they become unhinged in this water paradise.

Readers, are these house finches?

Tara Tanaka in Florida (vimeo site here, flickr site here) sent a photo of their resident bobcat (Lynx rufus ), photographed two days ago and conveniently called Bob. Her notes (she adds “please view large”):

After dinner last night I looked out the bedroom window and saw Bob walking toward the front yard, right next to the house. Our back doors are very noisy to open, so I grabbed my GH5 with the manual focus Nikon 300mm f2.8 and ran out through the garage and walked slowly around the corner and into the back yard. Just as I was putting the already lowered tripod on the ground, Bob came back around his corner of the house and began walking toward the swamp. I’m not 100% sure it’s the best idea to be squatting on the ground near a hungry bobcat, but so far so good. I’ve set the blind up and plan to eat dinner early so I can be out there when and where he’s been appearing the last two evenings.

Sadly, it rained and there was no bobcat spotting, but it will resume and we might get more photos and videos.


19 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Due to the angle of the shot, which doesn’t allow a clear view of the head of either male or female, or their bellies, which I usually require to make certain of the species ID, it’s difficult to tell. However, I’m going to say they are H. mexicanus due to the amount of brown over red. The male purple finch almost glows red in comparison to the house finch. If we could see the head, the presence of a dark cheek stripe on the female or the lack of dark chest and belly stripes on the male would be the clincher. Of course, the best way to ID them is when both species are present at the same time.

    Is your fountain hooked up to a hose for constant water supply, or do you have to keep it filled? It looks great, and while I’m sure it’s out of my price range, may I inquire as to the make and model?

    And wow, what a beautiful bobcat! What a stunning cat! I cannot for the life of me understand why many people, like my father, see that and want to shoot it. Magnificent beastie, so lucky to have it in your life! how I envy you!

    1. I should have included a sitting still picture for identification. The way this fountain works is with a water well or pit underneath with 20 or more gals of water in there. Then you just put a small electrical pump in the water with hose attached to the hole in the rock. This way you just recycle the water. You will have evaporation so every so often you add water to the well. The pump also has a regulator on the hose to adjust pressure. This pump has been running continuously for about a year.

    2. Thanks Christopher! Yes, I can’t believe how fortunate we are to have such a great diversity of wildlife here. The whole reason I started digiscoping (shooting photos through a spotting scope) was so I could share what I get to see daily with others.

    1. Thanks Mark. I consulted with Jerry as I’ve always had dogs, not cats, but he marks the bushes every 25′ or so, so that’s what I’m assuming.

  2. Beautiful bobcat! And to think that they are hunted and trapped for fur. I sign every petition I can to stop it. Most state Fish & Game Departments side with the biophobes and need more bio-philes on their Boards

    1. House finches. House finches – male and female – have darker stripes on the lower abdomen, but purple finches do not. The amount of red in both species varies considerably. Some are bright red and others barely red at all. The house finches arrived here in the middle of the US 30-40 years ago approaching from both coasts. When they arrived they put a big dent in the “English sparrow” population. Just as the urbanization of crows and their arrival on campus in the late ’80s or early 90’s all but eliminated the robust pigeon population (that would be in Mankato, Minnesota). Or maybe it was the hippie population since they both disappeared at about the same time.

      1. We see house finches here every day (rural eastern Virginia); purple finches rarely. The differences are immediately apparent when you see them together at the feeder. As you say some male house finches have much more red than others. Some even appear orange. The females are the giveaway sometimes. I believe that the eastern and western birds have now overlapped ranges and have been interbreeding for some years.

  3. They look to be house finches. The female lacks the eyestripe of the purple finch and the color of the male is a warm shade of red, unlike the more raspberry tone of the purple finch. Difficult to be certain without clearer shots of the head though.

  4. I have those birds too, so now I know they’re house finches. Nice action shots. I saw a male golden finch a couple days ago; too fast for me to snatch a photo. It’s nice you have such a sophisticated fountain. I have an ornate one, but it only holds a couple gallons and in the summer it’s almost a daily refill. After running dry for too long the pump went out. Now it’s just a fountain ornament, holding water only when it rains.

    Great photo of Bob. The bobcats in Florida are a lot different than the ones here in Washington; longer and taller with thinner legs- sleeker I’d say. Around here they’re squat and I don’t recall spotted legs. Beautiful felids. I hope you capture more shots and/or video.

    1. Thanks Mark. I have some video I shot the other night that I’ll try to post. My dinner-time photo session got washed out again, but I’ll keep trying. I really want some super-close shots if his face from the blind.

  5. Nice action shots Randy! I’m terrible at distinguishing Purple and House Finches, but it sounds like there are a lot of readers who know their finches.

  6. Wonderful to see cats and birds getting along so well on this post. I’d say house finch, but don’t quote me. That cat has attitude.

  7. The water fountain continues to amaze every type of bird and they become unhinged in this water paradise.

    I saw a report somewhere recently, but didn’t note it’s details. Someone was wondering why birds wash thoroughly – did it have any effects other than keeping the feathers aerodynamically neat and efficient. They took feathers and bent them at two places – in the air-exposed bit of the feather (rachis?), and in the same structure but which would normally be in the flesh (some different name).
    The quills contain a keratinous outer tube and a spongy inner core of something else. At the different points of damage, the rachis would recover over half it’s strength after being wetted, and straighten out naturally. But damage at the flesh-end of the feather didn’t recover on wetting. (Presumably, in flesh the humidity is buffered.)
    So it appears that by wetting damaged feathers, Birds can to a significant degree repair them.
    Sorry, I didn’t note the authors or journal.

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