Readers’ wildlife photos

January 6, 2021 • 8:00 am

I’m running low, folks, and once again implore you to send me your good wildlife (or street or landscape) photos.

We have two contributions today. The first are footprints photographed by Coel Heller. His captions are indented, and he asks for IDs of the animals who made them:

I was out walking on the snowy moorland of Kinder Scout when I saw what seems to be the imprint of a bird (raptor?) perhaps taking off:

There were also tracks leading up to this imprint; note boot print for scale:

At the other end of the tracks, around 2 m away, was what could be the impression of tail feathers.  So perhaps a raptor swooped on a mammal, which then made the tracks leading to the take-off?  Perhaps WEIT readers could say better, or perhaps identify the bird?   The photos were taken with an iPhone in cloudy conditions, so are not high quality.

And from Bryan Lepore:

I could hear a chirping sound during the summer. Eventually, I narrowed the source to a rain gutter on the building I live in. I kept looking for a bird or a nest poking up above the rim. Later, I was confused – but soon realized there were two sources of chirping – one from two different independent sections of gutter. Dutifully, I typed in the scraps of evidence into a search engine : “frog gutter chirp/sound”, and found that the frogs use drains as megaphones to amplify their mating calls!

Eventually, I got up within arms reach of the gutter, and got the ol’ iPhone ready to capture the image of what was underneath the leaf guard thing in the gutter, and for a brief moment, this type of frog was observed before escaping down the downspout. Sorry but the video is buried somewhere. The frog was probably unharmed, being of low mass. I think these are gray treefrogs (Dryophytes versicolor).

One time, one of these frogs found a cozy nook in the car door jamb, and rode around on drives unharmed before it found another place to hang out.

12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Interesting set – the frog indeed appears to be a “gray tree frog”, but – obviously – it is green – puzzling.

  2. A quote from Wikipedia :

    “As the scientific name implies, gray treefrogs are variable in color owing to their ability to camouflage themselves from gray to green or brown, depending on the substrate where they are sitting. The degree of mottling varies.[4] They can change from nearly black to nearly white. They change color at a slower rate than a chameleon. One aspect that is unique to this frog appearance is that its legs feature a dark bandish pattern which then contrast sharply with the black-marked bright yellow or orange under the sides of its legs and arms. Dead gray treefrogs and ones in unnatural surroundings are predominantly gray. ”

    … slower than a chameleon! Amazing!

  3. Wonderful tracks! If it happened during the day, I would say it was an accipiter due to the proportions of the wings. If it happened at night, that was a very small owl for such a large prey item. It might well have had trouble taking off.

      1. Do you have overwintering Cooper’s Hawks there? They are usually bird eaters but they may make an exception to their diet for a tempting morsel. The wing proportions don’t look right for a Red-tailed Hawk.

    1. Thanks for the post about the frogs in the gutters. We were hearing that a lot this summer and we’re a little confused.

  4. It appears to me that the talon (?) tracks – or belly – make an impression along the flight vector (?) but there is another impression which curves off that vector – perhaps the prey, which itself was traveling along an ~orthogonal vector, perhaps the momentum carrying its head deeper into the snow as it was gripped tight.

  5. There was a culvert through which a small stream ran from a nearby wetland near my mother’s house, and on my evening walks, I used to hear a Green frog calling from within it. The reverberations made him sound like he weighed about 2 kilos. Since frogs advertise their size by calling during the mating season, this definitely counted as a marital aid.

    The grey tree frog could have been Dryophytes chrysoscelis – the two species are morphologically indistinguishable, but one has double the chromosome number of the other. Depends upon where the photos were taken, as I recall versicolor is found to the east, chrysoscelis to the west.

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