Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘mammal

The next generation

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A bunch of times in the summer of 2019 we’d seen rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus) on our back deck, especially on one section of the railing. As the year went by and we advanced into the spring of 2020 we didn’t see them any more. Then one day in April I looked out a back window and saw a bunch of baby squirrels. How much is a bunch? The most I ever counted together was five. Here from April 29th are two of them, with the one on the right in what strikes me as a funny pose.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Rock squirrel

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The squirrels that I normally and often see in Austin are fox squirrels. When I noticed one of a different type sitting on the rail of our deck one day recently, I quickly got my camera and attached my lens with the longest reach, 400mm. The animal, which appears to be a rock squirrel, Spermophilus variegatus, was facing partly away but I took one picture anyhow. When I tried opening the back door to get a better angle, the squirrel ran off. On October 21st I saw it on the rail again, this time in a little better position, and I managed to get the photograph shown here.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2018 at 4:42 AM

Golden-mantled ground squirrel

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How about this golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) nibbling on a dry plant in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, a year ago today?

UPDATE: Thanks to Tanja Britton for correcting my misidentification of this little animal as a chipmunk. I’m better at photographing than knowing what I’ve photographed.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2018 at 4:39 AM

Male elk

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Rocky Mountains; June 5, 2017.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2018 at 4:48 AM


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Several times in the Copperfield subdivision of Calgary where we stayed with our gracious hosts on and off during the trip, I spotted a jackrabbit hanging around the neighborhood, as in this photograph from August 27th. My guess is that it was a white-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii). Of course the sightings might have been of different white-tailed jackrabbits, given that I couldn’t tell one individual from another.

UPDATE: I’ve learned that members of the genus Lepus are actually hares rather than rabbits. Here’s what H.L. Mencken wrote in The American Language: Zoologically speaking, there are no native rabbits in the United States; they are all hares. But the early colonists, for some unknown reason, dropped the word hare out of their vocabulary, and it is rarely heard in American speech to this day. When it appears it is almost always applied to the so-called Belgian hare, which, curiously enough, is not a hare at all, but a true rabbit.”

You’re welcome to read much more about hares.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2017 at 4:47 AM

From Columbia to Columbian

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Okay, so I graduated from college at Columbia University in 1967. That didn’t prepare me for my first encounter, fifty years later, with a Columbian ground squirrel (Urocitellus or Spermophilus columbianus) outside the Logan Pass visitor center in Glacier National Park, Montana, on August 31st. I’d kept hearing a clucking noise that I couldn’t identify. A nearby person said “it” was on the other side of some trees from where we were standing. When I walked around I found out what the “it” was: this squirrel chattering away and coincidentally lording it over a little colony of flowering fireweed (Chamaenerion or Chamerion or Epilobium angustifolium). This is the second appearance recently of fireweed in a supporting role with an animal; the prolific plant will eventually appear in its own right. In the meantime, if you want a much closer look at the ground squirrel, click below on the excerpt from a different frame. You’ll be glad you did.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 13, 2017 at 4:37 AM

Bearing up

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Click for better clarity and contrast.

On August 29th, a week or so before Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta shut down because of a forest fire, we drove along Akamina Parkway headed toward Cameron Lake. It wasn’t long before we came up behind a car that was stopped in the road. I’ve learned that when that happens in a national or state park, it usually means the driver of the stopped car has seen an animal, and that was the case here. I worked my way around the other car, drove further down the road, and waited for the animal to amble along in my direction. It was a black bear, the first I’d ever seen in the wild.

UPDATE: After yesterday’s post appeared, I received quite a bit of information about the mountain shown in it. I’ve updated that post to include the new information.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 26, 2017 at 4:40 AM

More than petroglyphs

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I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

New Zealand: basking in the sun

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It wasn’t I who was basking in the sun on pastel-colored rocks at the Matakaea Reserve on February 27th but a bunch of New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri), including this one. To enlarge the seal, click its image below.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 27, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Deer drinking

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I’ve seen many deer, even in my yard in Austin, but not till October 22nd of last year in Zion National Park did I see a deer drinking. The water was the North Fork of the Virgin River.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 24, 2017 at 4:48 AM

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