Readers’ wildlife photos

Please send in your photos, as the tank is inexorably getting lower.

Today’s photos come from reader Tony Eales in Queensland, who calls them “A real random assortment of photos.” His IDs and captions are indented.

The first is a male Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) in full mating display mode. Tail up against its back, wings drooped, neck pouch inflated and long neck feathers fanned out. They strut around like this making a booming call to attract females in the area. This is one of my older photos from 2008, and I’ve never witnessed the display before or since.

Next is one of my favourite photos, a Striated Heron (Butorides striata macrorhynchus) who looks like he was told that getting into a swimming pool would make him happy but has found that it is not as much fun as everyone said it would be and he still can’t stop thinking about his problems.

Here’s a species I don’t often photograph: some juvenile Homo sapiens sapiens. I was asked to do photography for the Butchalla Peoples’ Land and Sea native title determination, and I really love this shot of some young girls excitedly practicing before the big traditional dance to celebrate the ruling. In Australia, Aboriginal groups can have their existing title to the land recognised by the Federal Court of Australia. Such cases take many grueling years through the lengthy and fraught legal process, and a successful ruling is a cause for a great celebration.

And next is Homo sapiens uxorem. My wife when we went on our desert trip in the winter of 2016 to find that the desert was hidden by fields of wildflowers following once-in-several-decades rain.

My favourite cockatoo, the very colonially named Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri leadbeaterii). It is in a monotypic genus with two sub-species; they live only in the arid regions of the outback but are one of the more beautiful birds to photograph. I had been doing several trips into the right area without seeing any until this one landed high in a dead tree in front of me.

I found this clutch of newly hatched net casting spiders in the rainforest near my city. I was very puzzled by them, as I only knew of the Ogre-faced Net-casting Spiders (Deinopis subrufa and related) that generally live in open eucalypt forest and have webs low to the ground. There were up in palm leaves in a rainforest which made no sense to me, but the way they hold their legs in that cross pattern was unmistakable for any other spider. I have since found and photographed a leaf dwelling rainforest specialist net caster, Menneus nemesio, so I can only presume these must be the babies.

I’d still like to get a photo of the Australian Two-spined Spider (Poecilopachys australasia), in which the white markings aren’t overexposed, but I love this picture where it is nestled in a grass seed-head. They are  pretty spiders that are rarely seen as they hide during the day and set their orb-webs at night. This one is a mature female; younger ones have their abdomen covered in long bristly hairs which disappear as they age.

The last two I just like the shots, an unidentified Theridiid spider catching a damselfly and an unidentified caterpillar munching a fig leaf.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Nice set

    The cockatoo photo is evocative of those very old Japanese paintings.

  2. Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The last caterpillar could be said to be chewing obfuscation.


    Beautiful photos. They deserve better.

  3. Posted September 15, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Very nice, Tony. Thanks for these photos from down under.

  4. Posted September 15, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Nice pictures! Trying to photograph a blackish thing with intense white or yellow is extraordinarily difficult.
    Honestly not sure how its done sometimes.

    • tjeales
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      I always admire the folks who can photograph an all black insect and we can see all of the details. Ah well it’s these things that keep the hobby interesting

  5. Posted September 15, 2020 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Don’t think I’ve been bitten by any of them… Oh, wait on, yes — by infant Homo sapiens a couple of times!

    • tjeales
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve certainly been nipped by Cockatoos but not this species

  6. Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Lovely especially the desert flowers & the cockatoo! 👍
    bootiful spiderlings

  7. Pieter-Jan De Smet
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I suppose uxorem comes from the Latin uxor, but why is uxorem in “Homo sapiens uxorem” in the accusative?

    • tjeales
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s because I don’t know any Latin and used google translate. 🙂

      • Pieter-Jan De Smet
        Posted September 17, 2020 at 3:03 am | Permalink

        That explains the error; I noticed google translate is bad in Latin.

  8. rickflick
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    All that! Glad you are bringing us the sights from far away. Darwin would have given anything for an SLR.

  9. Mark R.
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    These were a treat. Beautiful Cockatoo! Don’t think I’ve seen that species before.

  10. Posted September 16, 2020 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Great shots. I grew up in Melbourne, left to come to the US at 20 and I often regret the fact I rarely “went outback” back then – there’s so much cool stuff there.
    Maybe on my next “every decade” trip back?
    Thx for the photos, mate!
    D.A., NYC

  11. Posted September 16, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Very nice work, Tony!

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