Readers’ wildlife photos

January 15, 2022 • 8:30 am

Today we’ll finish up Susan Harrison‘s batch of photos from last fall. I accidentally posted part 2 of this series yesterday, so we’re going backwards. But this finishes the lot. Susan’s captions and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them. I’ve added one picture from reader Christopher Moss:

Half Moon Bay, Oct. 16, 2021

Pillar Point Harbor at Half Moon Bay (San Mateo County, CA) is a fishing marina catering to ecotourists headed for the Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area and Montara State Marine Reserve, which lie just offshore.

Pillar Point Harbor. Numbers of wintering Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in the harbor are truly fantastic, especially to those of us old enough to remember when DDT made this a rare species.  Rachel Carson, here’s to you!

The rock breakwaters are also foraging habitat for Black Oystercatchers (Haematopus bachmani):

Just outside the harbor were many Common Murres (Uria aalge):

A California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) and a three-times-more-massive Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) amicably shared a buoy.

From Christopher Moss

 I am a film photographer, and enjoy using what are now considered antique cameras. I have been watching a pair of squirrels fighting over the feeder full of sunflower seeds. This was them sorting out the dominance, taken with a 1975 Olympus OM-2n on Kodak Portra 400 and home developed:

Since then, the less dominant individual has persisted and persisted (which may be a redundancy or an Irishism, but he, or she, really has!) and today they have after much chattering and squawking, decided to share the feeder. And, yes, there are photos, but they are taken with another antique camera, which was an Olympus half-frame SLR. This made negatives of half-size from 35mm film, and consequently my ’24-exposure’ film needs me to take 48 exposures. When they are all done I shall process the film and scan the negatives. I promise there will be cute pictures! Maybe this photo will serve as a ‘taster’ in the meantime?

The intriguing thing is this – are these totally unrelated squirrels who have agreed to be co-dominant and share the feeder, or are they nestmates with some remnant of fellow-feeling that allows them to share the feeder? I vote for the latter, even though I have only ever seen very young squirrels share the feeder before, and they were thus very likely to be tolerant of each other for co-nestling reasons.

JAC: I vote for the former!

4 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I’m currently feeding four young squirrels (age presumed related to size), and two seem to travel together (the other two take their hoard off in different directions). At one point, all four seemed to go places together, which points to probably the remaining two eventually ‘separating’.

    Still, even after a month (that’s how long I’ve had feeders up and provided peanuts for the squirrels and jays) they don’t ‘fight’ over the food like the adults do (when two adults get to close to each other, one always chases the other away).

    I presume the small squirrels were all from one litter, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the adult around.

    The photos are great. Pelicans (Brown or White) are fun to watch and photograph).

  2. Nice photos.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pelicans in one place. I bet they were loud, and probably a bit stinky.

    Regarding the squirrels, I also vote for the former.

    1. Thanks Mark! There were thousands of pelicans, too many for me to count. When I was a kid in the 1960s-70s, seeing two or three of them (or a Bald Eagle in the lower 48) was a huge deal. Isn’t it great when something improves?
      Should have also mentioned another success story: Snowy Plovers are making a tremendous comeback on the CA coast, thanks to the exclusion of people and dogs from their nesting areas on the public beaches.

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