Readers’ wildlife photos

May 19, 2022 • 8:00 am

Today’s batch comes from ecologist Susan Harrison, whose notes and IDs are indented. Click on the photos to enlarge them, and don’t forget to keep those pictures coming in!

The northern end of California’s Redwood Coast, from Smith River to the Klamath River, Feb. 11-13, 2022

Calm harbor waters, Crescent City:

Red-breasted Merganser, Mergus serrator:

Horned Grebe, Podiceps auratus:

Pelagic Cormorant, Phalacrocorax pelagicus:

Common Loon, Gavia immer:


Rocky shores and beaches, near the mouth of the Smith River:

Gulls (Larus), of which expert birders saw six species in this flock: Western (L. occidentalis), California (L. californicus), Herring (L. smithsonianus), Glaucous-winged (L. glaucescens), Short-Billed (L. brachyrhynchus) and Icelandic (L. glaucoides):

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus:

Surf Scoter, Melanitta perspicillata:

Sanderling, Calidris alba, showing why it was given the Old English name sand-yrðling, “sand-ploughman” (per Wikipedia):


Redwood forest, near the mouth of the Klamath River:

Northern Pygmy Owl, Glaucidium californicum:

Northern Pygmy Owl eating an Alligator Lizard (Elgaria sp.) in swirling coastal fog:

Varied Thrush, Ixoreus naevius:

Salamander, Ensatina sp., one of the remarkable ‘ring species’ complex studied by the late David Wake and colleagues (

Cultural artifacts around Crescent City:

Shell middens (white scatter in foreground) left by Tolowa people beside a now-vanished village at Point St. George; this is the third westernmost continental point in the lower 48 states:

Battery Point Lighthouse at Crescent City Harbor, built in 1856 and still flashing its Fresnel lens:

Lighthouse Jetty, a 3,400-foot rock and concrete breakwater at Crescent City Harbor, built in 1957:

12 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Splendid set – it has a certain signature, the Gestalt, of it…. finishing on that distinctive geometrical Picasso-esque collection…

  2. The peregrine picture is beautiful. The relative position of the bird and the rocks behind it is perfect.

  3. Beautiful and evocative photos. Every time I see the picture of a loon, I can almost hear the loon call, which is one of the most hauntingly beautiful sounds in nature (to me). I used to have a Canadian dollar coin that I kept solely because it had a picture of a loon on the back. I don’t know if they still do.

    1. Sure do. We call them loonies.
      And yes, their call up north is lovely. If you can hear them over the jet-skis.

  4. Adorable little salamander…and fascinating about ‘ring species’ which your post prompted me to read further about. Thanks!

  5. No shame intended, but your cormorant looks a tad hung-over. The little stripy-fish sliders must be too good.

  6. Check out the mirror reflections on the 2nd photo!
    1] First there is the reverse reflection of the curve of the body touching the water …
    2] Adjacent to that is the reverse [upside-down] reflection of the whole bird …
    3] Finally, closer to us, but separated by an expanse of water, at most a few feet wide, is a final reflection of the whole bird — and it is RIGHT-SIDE-UP! And this image is fore-shortened, making a squashed-down but clear image of the bird.

    Is this reflection-of-a-reflection due to the shallow waves we see distorting the surface of the water?

    1. Good call – got to review the whole set – the peregrine composition is exhilarating!

      The reflection yeah, I suppose the water level is following a curve, down, and the higher one reflects light so the original goes flip then flop back to the original image – thanks for pointing that out!

  7. Today I learned, from the item about the sanderling, that “earthling” originally meant “plowman.”

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