Readers’ wildlife photos

April 27, 2023 • 8:30 am

I’m putting my toes back into the water, restarting the wildlife photos with a short selection contributed by reader Christopher Moss. Christopher’s comments are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

The title of his email was “Ondatra zibethicus“, and it continued

. . . . . What a wonderful name, and just for the lowly muskrat. This one isn’t lowly at all, he’s rather large, though the fur coat might be misleading me. The fur is wet here, but when dry it is very soft – I have an RCMP-style winter hat with muskrat flaps. Don’t shoot me, my mother bought it for me.At the shallow end of the lake, where the reeds have not yet grown back after winter, he is diving and browsing.

And just to prove this is no castoreus, his tail:

He must have poor eyesight, as he didn’t seem to mind me going out onto the deck and waving a gigantic camera at him (Nikon D850 and 200-500mm zoom), but as soon as he heard the shutter he sat up and took off after these few clicks.

7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Muskrats are cool. They were ubiquitous at the upstate New York pond where I spent much of my outdoor childhood. The giant snapping turtle that bit me on the finger (my own stupid fault) lived there, too.

  2. As a kid I spent a lot of time watching muskrats and for two years during high school trapped them running a short trapline that I visited twice daily during school and more often on week-ends. My best childhood friend had a longer trap line and much more experience than me but we never worked the same fields, streams, marshes, wetlands, and “cricks.”

    So lowly is not a word that comes to my mind although it is one of the great scienticific names such as Burhinus oedicnemus–stone curlews. These names feel so good on the tongue.

    One of my “heroes” when I was in graduate school (wildlife management) was Paul Errington (University of Iowa) whose book “Muskrats and Marsh Management” was a favorite unassigned read. A man with bitten knuckles who studied these critters eyeballs to eyeballs. He was in the last cohort of the field naturalists (Bernd Heinrich, emeritus, University of Vermont is one who led the field into new territory, e.g., bumble bee energetics and a slew of popular books with original paintings by hime) as is E.O. Wilson –Hey this list doesn’t end! Aldo Leopold (the father of game management in the U.S. and the author of “A Sand County Almanac).

    I’d link but all attempts fail so if anyone would tell me how to do it, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks for the pictures although you and others are not likely to appreciate the memories it evoked.

  3. Our musquash was there again today, in the rain. He/she ignored me as I put the crows’ peanuts out on the deck rail, maybe the fact I was tooting on a crow call reassured him that I was making natural-sounding noises and was less of a threat!

    I’m hoping to get some shots of the otter, but he’s very active and runs around a lot when not in the water. I’ve saved some smelts in the freezer, thinking I could put them down as bait so he will stay still for a moment or two.

  4. Years ago our mutt dog Orlando found a muskrat at night, at low tide, in our shallow salt pond. Or rather the muskrat found her and made the fatal mistake of not retreating but attacking our dog, which was eight times bigger than the muskrat.Muskrat didnt live to regret it.

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