Readers’ wildlife photos

September 30, 2019 • 7:45 am

Stephen Barnard, whose photos may have initiated this regular feature, has been taking a break and fishing. But today he’s back with a new batch of pictures of birds, fish, and flies. His captions are indented.

All photos except the last are in chronological order.

Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) This time of year they gather in flocks, preparing for migration. (They breed here.) The first few photos show what I think is a friendly interaction.

I’ve included photos, mixed in, of the three species of trout on my place: rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). Rainbows are by far the most numerous in the creek. However, in the ponds the browns dominate and get very large by eating the rainbows, among other things. Brook trout are technically not a trout, but a char. They’re a rarity and never get very big. None of these species are native. Rainbows are from the Pacific coast, brookies are from the Atlantic coast, and browns are from Europe. All are wild, meaning not stocked and naturally reproducing. One large rainbow that I see often has a strangely colored head — I suspect a genetic mosaic.

Three photos I took yesterday are a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), with very high probability Lucy, who has appeared in these pages before; a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis); and another sandhill crane, probably a juvenile, showing off its wings.

As a lagniappe for the entomophiles, two midges (family Chironomidae) apparently copulating on the stripping skirt of my float tube. These are tiny.



17 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Angler speak:

    “…stripping skirt of my float tube”

    had me foxed, but Mr. Google sorted me out. 🙂

    Sandhill crane pics especially interesting, I assume this is a bonded pair dancing for each other.

    1. I don’t think so. The mating displays are in the spring, when the male does the gymnastics and the females look on passively.

  2. First rate, as always! Do you ever catch the same trout more than once?

    Interesting random discovery which you probably already know: steelhead trout are really the same species as rainbow trout. But the rainbows stay in fresh water. Blew my mind a little when I first learned that.

    1. Many anglers, including me, have stories of hooking and breaking off a fish, and later catching the same fish and retrieving the fly. Something even more unusual and wildly improbable recently happened to me.

      I hooked and broke off a very large trout with a grasshopper pattern. Weeks later I hooked another large trout in the same place, this time with a small mayfly pattern. It got into the weeds and slipped off the barbless hook. When I retrieved the fly I found it attached to the grasshopper pattern I’d lost! I was gobsmacked.

  3. Instantly recognisable as being from Stephen Barnard — completely stunning photos. I especially like the red-tailed hawk.

    And thanks to all who contribute to this extraordinary long-running series, and of course to the tireless host who somehow finds time to solicit, select, edit and upload all this extraordinary material and information. (Jerry always says he’s running low on photos, and then posts 14 of this quality all at once!)

  4. Great photos as always. I should go north about 275 miles by road to see the cranes in the Sandhills around March. From the Flint hills to the Sandhills.

  5. Thanks for all the comments. I enjoy this feature of WEIT, even though I don’t comment on it much. Send Jerry your photos and videos!

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