Readers’ wildlife photos

October 26, 2020 • 7:45 am

Stephen Barnard is back with some new photos from Idaho; today we’re treated to elk, bald eagles, and miscellaneous hangers-on. Stephen’s captions are indented.

First, a herd of elk (Cervus canadensis) in the north field, mingling with a flock of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). I’ve been seeing fewer elk this year, probably because they don’t like all the activity with the cows and the electric fencing.

Next, I was watching cable news, pondering how much I loathe Trump in particular and Republicans in general, when I saw a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) hovering over the creek in a stiff wind, targeting a fish. (The eagle is probably Desi.) After grabbing my camera and stepping outside I saw the bird sitting in the creek with, as soon would be apparent, a very nice rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in his talons.

A couple more eagle photos:

A very persistent black-billed magpie (Pica hudsonia).

Looking for some peace and quiet to finish a meal.

18 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I was watching cable news, pondering how much I loathe Trump in particular and Republicans in general, when I saw a bald eagle …

    That’s cool, Stephen; bald eagles don’t cotton to the Donald either:

      1. There are no blind readers?
        No, actually, they’d probably have flinched when the air draught hit them. Monkey reflexes. Eagles recognise “monkey” as a member of the class “food”.
        As do cats, we should remember. (The neighbours have just asked us to d*g sit for several days, so I’m going to have to convert it to the “dark” side.)

  2. Great pictures! That magpie really is something, especially since I’ve personally seen a bald eagle (successfully) fending off about eight black vultures, each of which was larger than the eagle, from a bit of road kill. (Not much dignity, perhaps, but it was impressive.)

    1. The size and eyes. Females are bigger, so when I photograph them together I know which is which. Then I can see distinctive details, in particular Desi’s somewhat haunted-looking eyes. This pair have been year-round residents for many years, have had many offspring, and defend their territory from all comers.

  3. Beautiful shots, especially the eagle in action. Do you worry that two adult bald eagles could overfish your stream? I see that beautiful rainbow in its talons and I can’t help but cringe. I know birds don’t practice catch and release. 😉

    1. I don’t worry about that at all. For one thing, I’m sure the much more numerous herons take more fish. And then there’s the otters. Some of my angler friends get especially worked up about otters, because they’ve seen or heard of otters “wiping out” a stream — invariably a managed, stocked stream. These fish are all wild, meaning naturally reproducing. There’s a huge difference between a wild fish and a freshly stocked hatchery fish. If a trout can’t avoid the occasional otter or eagle I don’t want it hanging around.

  4. Amazing pictures!
    But at first I was a bit confused, elks – these were not elks in the pictures, but a deer species. In German “Elch” means “Moose”.
    I had to consult Google translator, and now I know that in English elks are Wapitis.
    Very much I like the photo with the elks and the flock of stars in the background as well as the the photo with the David against Goliath theme, the magpie following the eagle.

    1. I understand your confusion. That’s one reason Jerry encourages scientific nomenclature. By the way, moose (your Elch) are also members of the Cervidae (deer) family — the largest. Our elk are sometimes called wapiti here. It’s from the Shawnee and Cree word waapiti, meaning “white rump”.(That’s according to the internet — I was surprised that the Cree and Shawnee employed the unusual “aa” spelling). 🙂

      1. Thank you very much for all the information. That is all new to me. That the name of the wapiti derives from the Shawnee and Cree – I like that history of the semantic origin. That the moose could belong to the family of deer – I was actually thinking about that possibility while I was commenting your post – but all in the hurry I just put it down, but for the future I’m very good informed now

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