Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s photos come from two sources. First, a fly from Diana MacPherson.

Hi Jerry, below are some images I took of a deer fly (Chrysops excitans) that rested for quite a long time on my glass table outside this evening. I took various angles but I think the side angle is the best even though the wings look rather pretty reflecting the colours above in the back angle.

Four photos form Arthur Williams of Ohio, whose captions are indented:

I have been combing my little sylvan suburban wilderness to find the nest of the red-shouldered hawksButeo lineatus, that I knew was in the area based on the everyday appearance of mom or dad in our copse of trees out back. I finally found it hiding in plain sight in a neighbor’s maple tree, aggressively pruned by the power company to avoid the lines that crisscross the half-hearted deciduous jungles of southwestern Ohio. The juvenile is on the left, I think, and the very next day he fledged, as I haven’t seen him back since, much to my chagrin.

The bug-eyed Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, is in our Canadian CherryPrunus virginiana, getting his carotene fix from the red berries that are nearly gone. The sharp-eyed arborist might also note a third species in the tree or at least its extended phenotype. The fungus, Apiosporina morbosaproduces the scabrous welts better known as “Black Knot” on the branches of susceptible fruit trees and is very difficult to eradicate; this explains the shabby condition of the tree.

The honey bees Apis mellifera are swarming in our hedge maple treeAcer campestre; it was an awesome site to see thousands of bees swarming their new queen, so intent on her that the whole swarm could be coaxed into a box and carted off to form a new colony. We contacted a local beekeeper’s association to see if they wanted to find the bees a new home, but they had moved on before they could arrive to collect them.


The last shot is of my little street, ordinary in every way, except when it’s bathed in the lunacy of a full moon, with the smoky mists of a summer downpour hanging in the air, filtering the reflected moonbeams into surreal pastel blues that the thousands of screaming frogs (species unknown) seem to enjoy. That there is so much wildlife in this little patch, completely incurious about some damned virus or a certain bloviating orange barnacle, keeps me centered and just barely sane.


23 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. Agree, a striking description. I also found “bathed in the lunacy of a full moon” very appealing.

      1. You need to see the face or better wing venation to be sure. Tabanids have stylate antennae, prominent cutting-sponging mouthparts, and the R4 and R5 wing veins diverge to enclose the wing tip.

  1. The honey bee swarm photograph is quite nice.

    A swarm of honey bees is a fascinating phenomenon. The bees likely originated from a nearby colony, where half the bees (~20,000) remained, sans queen. (The old hive will develop a new queen within days.)

    A swarm rarely stays the first place it lands as it is usually too exposed to rain, wind, cold, and predators. Instead, this is a ‘muster point’ where the bees wait a few hours before proceeding to a more perfect home (i.e., a tree cavity or under the siding of a house). Therefore, beekeepers have only a brief opportunity to easily snag the swarm.

    During this time, honey bees are extremely placid, having no brood to defend. A few days later, ensconced in their permanent home, they are usually much more defensive.

  2. Very enjoyable! The fly is one of the smaller species of bee flies, which don’t much look like bees.
    Would love to see a bee swarm, especially in a natural setting like that one!

        1. Perhaps Rhagio tringarius as those have been seen in Ontario. There are so many flies it’s hard to know and there seems to be quite a variety of snipe flies

        2. Perhaps Rhagio tringarius as those have been seen in Ontario. There are so many flies it’s hard to know and there seems to be quite a variety of snipe flies

  3. Nice fly Diana. Although, I’d appreciate it if you’d persuade them to stay north of the border. 😁

  4. The Northern cardinal is my spirit animal, according to the questionnaire yesterday. Great photos, as always.

  5. Someone help me identify what I thought was a deer fly so I can update my files. It was sitting like that on the table for a while just relaxing and watching me when I took its picture. It was smallish. Smaller than I see deer fly.

      1. I thought the biting thing only applies to mosquitos but “the sex that bites” sounds like a good metal song.

        1. Deer flies, horse flies, mosquitoes, black flies and probably most biting flies, only the females bite. They need blood to nourish their eggs. The males suck nectar.

  6. Thanks for the photos and nice captions.

    There is a pair of red-tailed hawks around these environs and I think I can hear their chicks, but I can’t figure out what tree the nest is in. Frustrating! Perhaps I too will see them a couple days before they fledge.

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