Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

In honor of Ceiling Cat’s Day, we have contributions from two readers today. The first is our Official Website Videographer, Tara Tanaka from Florida. (Her Vimeo site is here and her Flickr site is here.) I much regret having my lecture trip to Florida canceled, as I was going to watch birds from her famous blind.

Her notes are indented, and be sure to watch the video on the big screen:

The last two mornings we’ve had large groups of Great Egrets [Aredea alba] that are nesting in our cypress swamp gathering to eat what we think are some kind of large tadpoles, however this morning we had a rare treat – sixteen Glossy Ibis [Plegadis falcinellus] joined them and fed for about 45 minutes before they all disappeared. This was shot from inside the living room, so there is no audio.

And reader Robie sent some photos of a dangerous interspecific interaction near Chicago. Robie’s notes, which include anthropomorphic captions, are indented:

I am a daily reader (but very rare commenter under the name of “Robie”). I have been meaning to send these pictures for a while, because I know you like your squirrel friends (as do I). I took these in November 2013 at the Morton Arboretum. Most of the squirrels I encounter in the woods at the Arboretum are fox squirrels [Sciurus niger] rather than grays.

While walking on a wooded trail I heard a commotion up in a tree, and looked just in time to see a red-tailed hawk [Buteo jamaicensis] land clumsily on a branch. As I admired the hawk, I noticed a fox squirrel right nearby, so I assume the hawk had been attempting to catch the squirrel. The squirrel started boldly pestering the hawk. I watched for almost ten minutes while the squirrel ran all around the hawk, peering at it from every angle, until the hawk left the tree.

“Hey buddy, I’m right behind you.”

“Pssst! On your right!”
“Now you’re looking the wrong way!”
“Oops, I think I’ve been spotted!”
Finally the hawk appeared to tire of this, and it left the branch and flew to the ground. It seemed to have forgotten I was there (or didn’t care), because it landed only about three feet away from me.
I hope you are weathering the stay-at-home situation without too much boredom. These pictures remind me that outdoor spaces are still open, and (I hope) it won’t be long before we have some fine early-spring weather.
I hope so!

10 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    That squirrel/hawk interaction is worth the price of admission!

  2. Posted March 22, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Very good! One should never tire of egrets.

    Very fine documentation of the inter-species interaction. Of course birds will harass birds of prey, but I did not know that sqrlls would do the same.

  3. Debra Coplan
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Both contributors did beautiful work.
    Great Egrets are really something to watch, especially when they take off…

    That was a brave squirrel, and a very funny one.
    Thanks!

  4. Posted March 22, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Squirrels seem to be very brave and, at the same time, a good knowledge of what they can get away with in the presence of predators.

    A local squirrel used to taunt my two cats all the time. Now the cats are older and have experienced many failed attempts to catch the squirrel, they seem to have completely given up. They respond to the squirrel’s taunts by occasionally looking up but nothing more. Perhaps this is the evolutionary explanation for the squirrel’s taunting.

  5. Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Egrets, I have a few
    Sorry, could not resist.

    • Posted March 22, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      As I was filming them, I thought “better to have Egrets than regrets.”

  6. rickflick
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful feeding frenzy at Tara’s swamp.

    I’ve watched a squirrel with a perching red-tailed hawk from my deck. In this case (a fox squirrel), he sat quietly about 6 feet from the hawk on the same branch. This went on for 5 minutes or so. I took it to mean they were ignoring each other. The hawk would most likely be interested in smaller prey on the ground. The squirrel did not seem to think the hawk posed an immediate threat. That near encounter with the hawk is priceless.

  7. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Neat hawk-squirrel experience!

  8. Mark R.
    Posted March 22, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Great contributions, thanks.

    This typo made me smile in regards to Tara:
    Her notes are invented

    And indeed they are. 😉

  9. Posted March 23, 2020 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    +1


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