Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have a potpourri of photos from readers who sent in just one or two. All readers’ comments are indented, and the first is from Barbara Wilson:

For years, native Western Gray Squirrels (Sciurus griseus) was the only squirrel in my neighborhood in Corvallis, Oregon.  Two or three years ago, they were replaced by Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis).  On June 12, a Western visited my yard.  Soon after it left, an Eastern appeared.  I hope the Westerns wipe out the Easterns, but they’ve been losing ground here.

The Eastern has brown in the fur and is facing right.  The Western is all gray and white and is facing left.

From Christopher Moss, a buck in velvet and an eagle:

There’s a pair of white-tailed deer bucks (Odocoileus virginianus) coming through the garden quite regularly, and I’m surprised at how quickly they are growing antlers. Two weeks ago this lad had a pair of little nubs. If they decide to continue life in the village they may have the chance to grow a decent rack as they will be safe during deer hunting season here!

Not especially stunning photo of a bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, but remarkable for this – they were taken while I stood in the middle of my living room floor! This chap was interested in the remains of a raccoon carcass that the foxes who live under that tree had left outside their den. Actually managed to fly off with a good sized chunk of it, too!

From Alexandra Moffat in New Hampshire:

This picture was taken on Vinalhaven Island, Penobscot Bay, Maine,  June 2020 by Banner Moffat. I looked it up in Maine spiders and could not find it -unless it is perhaps some life stage of Yellow Garden Spiders. The latter appear quite different in the guide where I searched. [JAC: To me it looks like some sort of crab spider, but what do I know?]

From Andrée Reno Sanborn. Help provide and ID for these. I’m not sure if it’s a mimic, but the coloration does look aposematic (“warning coloration”):

The first pic was from far away and I knew it was a creature and then thought “must be a bee/wasp/hornet.” Took the long shot, and crept closer and closer till I got the 2nd pic and said,”whoa! I never get a face-on shot.”
Do the colors and wing position say mimicry to you? Or am I reading too much into this? I see it everywhere: moths that look like bark or autumn leaves . . .and this.

From Mark McCauley:

I saw the octopus video on your site. This is a photo of me with an octopus on a night-dive off Cozumel. It was white because it was previously resting on the sand.

11 Comments

  1. Posted June 18, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The butterfly looks like a skipper of some type, maybe a small (Thymelicus sylvestris) or large one (Ochlodes sylvanus)?

  2. Posted June 18, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The spider is one of the flower crab spiders. Looks like genus Misumenoides. She is of course waiting for an insect to visit the flower.

    The small skipper butterflies are cute and fun to watch, since they seem so reactive to each other and even pugnacious. The wing posture appears to be a form of communication between them since I see they will position their wings like that in reaction to another skipper. The eyes are reflective. I don’t know if the colors are meant to be aposematic. It certainly could be.

  3. rickflick
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The introduction of the Eastern squirrel is troubling. Unfortunately many indigenous species in the West are at risk of replacement. The barred owl is displacing the northern endangered spotted owl. The Eurasian collared dove is reducing the mourning dove. The plant kingdom is much worse, with many species from Europe replacing native species. It’s not a happy picture.

  4. Posted June 18, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Hi, everybody. Yes, the butterfly is Poanes hobomok – Hobomok Skipper – Hodges#4059. My question is about mimicry: does it count as mimicry if I thought I saw a wasp/hornet before I realized it was a butterfly? I have a lot to learn about this.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted June 18, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      I suppose the answer to that question really depends on whether it looks like (or a bit like) a hornet to one of the normal predators for this kind of butterfly (and one that primarily hunts by vision). To my eyes it does not look very hornet-like but I am not a bird so that might not mean very much…

      It is as likely that the bright colours are to do with communicating to other members of their species whether it be to tell rivals to back off or to convince a member of the opposite sex that they are a good potential mate.

      In any case a nice couple of photos.

    • Posted June 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      It could be that the colors are both warning to predators: ‘I taste bad’ and also a communication to members of its species: ‘I am one of you.’

  5. David Harper
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    We have a problem with grey squirrels here in Britain too. They were introduced in the 19th century and have pretty much driven the native red squirrel out of England and Wales, so that only Scotland, Ireland, the far north of England, and the islands of Anglesey and Isle of Wight have significant areas where only red squirrels live. Not only do the greys out-compete the reds for food, but they also carry the virus that causes squirrelpox, a disease that is fatal to red squirrels but rarely so to greys.

  6. Frank Bath
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I like your bald eagle. It looks as if it means business.

  7. ratabago
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Mark Sturtevant on the spider. It’s a flower crab spider. If I had to guess a species, and it is a guess, I’d go with the goldenrod spider Misumena vatia. Like many flower crab spiders this is a visually variable species.

    https://bugguide.net/node/view/6751

  8. Lee Roseberry
    Posted June 18, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I recently learned that under Washington state law, animal rehabilitation organizations and veterinarians who are presented with non-native squirrels for rescue, must euthanize them. There is however, a network of private individuals who will rehabilitate and release grey squirrels and fox squirrels. I find the right and wrong of this a tough call.


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