Readers’ wildlife photos

Today is catch-up day, in which I put together a few singletons and doubletons submitted by diverse readers. Their captions and IDs are indented.

First, two lepidopterans from Diana MacPherson.

Here area couple of moth pictures I took. I never noticed this moth before though it’s around a lot. I think I only saw the fluttering around and they look just plain brown but you can see the brilliant orange and blue they have on them. I took these pictures hand held with a Canon macro lens mounted to my Sony full frame camera. The full frame allows me to shoot at higher ISO than I normally can and therefore I can shoot slower frames and have more light get in while still not shaking the crap out of the camera so the image doesn’t end up with motion blur. The first picture I put on Flickr ( and it was chosen by them for their Explore page which is a page showcases images. When that happens, thousands view your image.
Ctenucha virginica Moth on Catnip:

Ctenucha virginica Moth Eating Catnip Nectar:

An adorable baby squirrel from Christopher Moss:

Usually it’s the second week of July when I see the baby American Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), so we must be running a few days behind this year. Generally I find them lying on the ground and looking rather dazed, as if their parents have thrown them from the drey without much care for where and how they land. But the first I’ve spotted this year has already discovered where the sunflower seeds live. We’ll see if we can fatten him, or her, up enough to make it through the winter.

From Gregory James, sent yesterday with the title, “An alien at our door.” Does anybody know the species?

From Kristin Wells:

This picture was taken from Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas near Congress Bridge. The dark grouping is a stream of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats (Tadarida brasilliensis) flying out from under the bridge. This was taken in mid-October last year and despite it being later in the season, I was lucky enough to see three streams of bats.

If you’re ever in Austin, show up at sunset to see this spectacle:

From Patrick Tracy:

Here’s a Cynomys ludovicianus, a.k.a. a black-tailed prairie dog, caught in the act of a jump-yip. The photo was take at Rothman Park in Lafayette, Colorado on March 23, 2020 (yesterday).

Here’s another Cynomys ludovicanus (black-tailed prairie dog) photo, taken about 30 meters from the last one I sent. This shot was taken with a GoPro Hero2, one of about 640 images taken for a time lapse video [JAC: see below]. When I look at them they make me think of cynodonts, which shared many traits and behaviors.

Here’s the video:

18 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. What an interesting and varied set!
    Diana, your excellent picture of the Ctenucha is quite a prize, I think. That moth is not easy to approach and so is hard to photograph. It is a Mullerian mimic with a very common species called the collared scape moth.

    The darner dragonfly is hard to ID. It is young, so it has not developed its full colors. Male. But also it is one of the “mosaic” darners which are one of several species that are virtually identical in color pattern from an above view. Canada darner, black-tipped, spatterdock, etc. etc. The main way to tell is to see the stripes from the side of the thorax, or do a very close inspection of genitalia.

    1. I think these moths were so excited to be consuming the catnip nectar that they let me get pretty close. There were probably about six of them flying around the catnip. It was a really tricky shot being in the shade with somewhat darty individuals though.

        1. Yeah maybe the morph into cats or something or maybe they should call this plant mothnip….next we’ll be saying “like a cat to an open flame”.

      1. I agree with Mark, Diana. That’s an excellent photo of that moth, and I shall have to look out for any that might show interest in my huge catmint plant growing from the crack in my concrete patio. It’s slightly different from catnip, so I shall have to see.

        Meanwhile the sulphur moth caterpillars are making lace out of my daughter’s kale plants.

  2. Nice pictures! I am pleased to see the prairie dog ones. I used to live near Lafayette, CO and would observe them closely on my bike rides and daily commute to Boulder. I remember one prairie dog family in particular. I would drive past their mound every weekday and almost always see the whole family lined up next to their home. I watched the little ones get bigger every day. They are wonderful creatures.

    1. It’s been fun photographing and doing video recordings of them, but I may be curtailing those activities because plague (Yersinia pestis) has been detected in a population in nearby Broomfield.

      1. That’s too bad. I remember Broomfield. In ’83-’86 I used to live in Erie and then in Gunbarrel near the Diagonal. I did a lot of bicycling in the area.

  3. Diana, Nice to see you taking advantage of that full frame camera. That’s one fine bug!

    That baby squirrel looks very top heavy.

    Bats at night must be hard to photograph on the wing. But, at least you can make them out.

  4. Dragonfly species unknown, but shape and markings suggest its one of the aeshnidae (hawkers and hunters). Presumably the photo us of a US species. If so I don’t know any (I’m a UK resident).

  5. I am really fond of prairie dogs, but end up mostly looking at them through a rifle scope. There are just not enough predators out there to keep them from multiplying and expanding their territory at a frightening rate.

    Very nice images, just the same.

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