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The Nature Thread

8th Jul 2011 13:59 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Part of the fun of exploring the old sites that I'm obsessed with is finding non-mineral related things of interest. Whether it be snakes, wildflowers, frogs, fungi or birds, everything interests me. So I thought it would be fun to share some of the pictures of flora,fauna etc. that we encounter in our daily or weekend travels.

I'll start with two mushrooms that I encountered during a rough hike to an old mining site in Oxford, New Jersey yesterday. Bonus points if you can identify the species. Oh, and if your story has an unhappy ending, like, the snake rushed me and I beat it to death with a crowbar, please leave that out.:D Just thinking of prior threads.

8th Jul 2011 14:56 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

Great topic David!

You are so right, part of the fun going out collecting at new sites is the surprices you may encounter. I add a rather old picture, from a trip to Persberg area, where I found this orchid growing next to an old iron mine, I don't know which mine, but it wasn't the one I was looking for - Harstigen...

Platanthera chlorantha

8th Jul 2011 16:06 BSTTom Bennett

When ever we are out we always look for birds. We have bald Eagles near us and love watching them. We saw a Great Horned Owl in the spring.

Our little group of rock hunters have a strong respect for old stuff - like that smokestack at the Golf course, David !

Great pic ! I have long thought about doing a pic filled tread about that spot.

Old buildings old train tracks old relics are always a plus.

Bugs dont bother me and I'm pretty much invulnerable to poison ivy - the only part of " Nature " that gets me is the heat.


8th Jul 2011 16:20 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

David, your shrooms look very much like Amanita rubescens (an edible fly agaric).

Funny, when I go out collecting minerals in spring I always keep my eyes open for potentially good mushroom places to be re-visited in summer and fall :).

Peter, nice orchid!

Here's one of my best catches from Dunkelstein forest: Boletus pinophilus; cap diameter 15cm and in perfect condition.


8th Jul 2011 16:24 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Beautiful picture, Peter! Long ago, when I grew Orchids I could probably have told you what species that was-it looks very familiar. No longer.

Here is a nice shroom that looks like a flounder.

8th Jul 2011 16:27 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Harold, that is an amazing shot. It almost looks like an extension of the rock, that is it looks like the shroom is made of rock. Keep em comin'.(:D

8th Jul 2011 16:52 BSTRoger Curry

2006 Dunolly, Victoria. Gold detecting failure & resident of woodpile next to tent. A dusty Redback with two egg sacks.

Redback about to climb on lens.

Not my nugget.

8th Jul 2011 17:01 BSTMichael Wood

David, that first 'shroom photo looks like Panther Cap (amanita pantherina).

Here's a critter I stumbled upon a few years ago, at Talisker Bay on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. I came round a boulder and there it was, no more than 12 FEET away (4m). I thought it was injured at first, as it was writhing about on the rocks; but it was merely drying it's fur after a dip in the sea! It then lay back and sunbathed and I kept on taking photo's until my battery died. Then I snuck away and left it to it. It made my day.

Cheers, Mike

8th Jul 2011 17:39 BSTJohn Truax

That is a beautiful Boletus Harald, shroom collecting is as exciting as rock collecting for me!


8th Jul 2011 17:43 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

Michael Wood Wrote:


> David, that first 'shroom photo looks like Panther

> Cap (amanita pantherina).

> Cheers, Mike

Mike, I am not so sure footed with N-American Amanita species - there are considerably more than in Europe - but that reddish tint on the cap is usually a good token for the Blusher (A. rubescens), Panthers almost always are conspicuously and uniformly brownish between the white velum remains even when young.

Funny thing is, here in Europe we have more edible Amanita species than poisonous ones, but one would be wise to only take them home and eat them when he is a mushroom expert :).

BTW - also nice catch of yours.


8th Jul 2011 17:44 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

Wow, John! I am still waiting for the day I find morels.


8th Jul 2011 17:46 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

David Bernstein Wrote:


> Harold, that is an amazing shot. It almost looks

> like an extension of the rock, that is it looks

> like the shroom is made of rock. Keep em

> comin'.(:D

Thanks David. Here's more:

8th Jul 2011 19:43 BSTPaul Brandes Manager


Are you sure that critter was "only" sunbathing, or sleeping off a wee bit too much Talisker Scotch?? :)o


As I'm sure you know, there is nothing finer than fresh morels sauteed in butter and garlic, then placed beside a nice steak; mmmmmmm!!!

8th Jul 2011 19:46 BSTAleš Tomek Expert

Pretty mushrooms!!

Those pictures are one of the reasons why is it good to self-collect. Last year I took a photo of this nice and big caterpillar (Deilephila elpenor, Linné 1758) crawling in the site in Valeč (famous opal-AN, hyalite site). The measure is my kids hammer...



8th Jul 2011 19:52 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

Aleš Tomek Wrote:


> Last year I took a photo of

> this nice and big caterpillar (Deilephila elpenor,

> Linné 1758) crawling in the site in Valeč

> (famous opal-AN, hyalite site). The measure is my

> kids hammer...


> regards,

> Aleš.

Aleš, what a beauty. I have found the moth but never the larva. Hawkmoth caterpillars can be quite spectacular, and yours is actually one of the "smaller" species :).


8th Jul 2011 19:52 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Unfortunately, I never developed a taste for mushrooms, only the big hunk of rare beef that comes with it.

Cool picture, Mike. Would love to have scratched his belly.

8th Jul 2011 19:54 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

Paul Brandes Wrote:


> John,

> As I'm sure you know, there is nothing finer than

> fresh morels sauteed in butter and garlic, then

> placed beside a nice steak; mmmmmmm!!!


8th Jul 2011 20:07 BSTRowan Lytle

digging in one pegmatite in CT I found a 7in spotted salamander under a boulder. I put the boulder back, let the salamander crawl under it, and moved to a different spot.


8th Jul 2011 20:32 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Very interesting topic.

To be honest, when I go collecting, I always look for other things than minerals first because they can be found and observed without digging. Just look around before puting your nose into the ground. You will be amazed.

I was in Cornwall in May and found this very big firefly female ( Lampyris Noctiluca ) on the road.

Never saw a big one like this. I have some in my garden but are only the third of this giant.

My wife's hand for scale. Kenidjack valley.

I am fond on mushrooms and mostly the wild ones. I find often some but never dared to eat them.

I am looking for a natural guide who can help me identifying them.

Morels with butter and garlic are divine>:D<

Take care and best regards.


8th Jul 2011 20:35 BSTGeorge Creighton

This is a great thread.

On my way to explore the Koksnes prospect grimstad norway got distracted by the insect life in a wild ( vivendel ) honeysuckle bush that grow in the coastal regions here.

Took this image of a fly and many others, needless to say I never got to see the prospect, maybe this year.

Regards george

PS, camera canon powershot G11

8th Jul 2011 20:35 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Oops, forgot the pic.



8th Jul 2011 21:15 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Seeing the insects reminded me of a moment at a mine in New York State. I was done exploring and came face to face with what looked like a dragonfly. I think dragonflies are amazing creatures and since we were face to face, I held out my hand to see if she would perch. It continued to hover in front of me. So, I stepped aside. It was then that I realized that I had extended an invitation to a solitary thread waisted wasp who was trying to retrieve prey that I was nearly standing on. As soon as I moved, she landed on the insect and dragged it down a burrow, presumably to lay an egg on it..

8th Jul 2011 21:16 BSTA. Mathauser

Found this little guy in our backyard, it froze completely in this position, when we put it down it played dead for about 2 minutes - and then got up and just walked away.

8th Jul 2011 21:54 BSTStephanie Martin

David, wonderful idea for a thread, proving to be very popular.

An now for a revisit with this vivid Carpathian Blue Slug:

(from previous thread:,7,223137,223167#msg-223167)

8th Jul 2011 22:33 BSTJoseph Polityka Expert


Great thread; fascinating.

John, nice mushrooms. What type of trees are in the area? Here in Pennsylvania they grow around ash, tulip and sycamore trees.



8th Jul 2011 22:51 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Thanks, folks. I knew there were a lot of like minded souls here.

Stephanie, I have that slug in my favorites and look at it often. My son and I just saw a large slug outside climbing up our stone wall. Pretty drab looking slug compared to Big Blue.

9th Jul 2011 01:24 BSTDr. Paul Bordovsky

Ran across this on the trail in the Organ Mountains, New Mexico. He kept trying to hide in the shadow of the boot.

9th Jul 2011 01:52 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Hope there was no Tarantula Hawk around. Never seen one but I hear they are pretty ferocious.

9th Jul 2011 02:37 BSTCorie Mattar

Hey, Paul. I think I met his cousin in Warner Springs California!

At least he didn't rush us... >:D<


9th Jul 2011 02:52 BSTDr. Paul Bordovsky

David, never seen the Tarantula hawk, but how about a caracara.......taken late afternoon at our family ranch.

Corie, that must be the leggy cousin that left for fame and fortune in Cali.

9th Jul 2011 03:23 BSTJake Harper Expert

Wow...everyone's photos are just awesome!

My treasure of the day in Southern Idaho, a tame juvenile Pituophis catenifer (Gopher Snake).


9th Jul 2011 03:26 BSTDavid Sheumack

John, Those morels make my mouth water. For those of us that are mad enough to go wandering along sandstone ridges on moonless nights in Autumn/Winter west of Sydney, you may be lucky enough to encounter one of these beauties to brighten your path. Pleurotus nidiformis, about 20 cm diameter and when fresh, they are bright enough to read a book by. Photo was taken as a 150 second exposure.

9th Jul 2011 03:56 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Great thread!

Here are a couple of shots of a tarantula hawk on a sage in our garden. It is about 4-5 cm long. They are not aggressive but are reported to have a stunning sting. Love the 'wulfenite' wings.

Photos by Rosegraphics.


9th Jul 2011 05:04 BSTDouglas Merson Expert

Here is a columbine found at the Van Silver Property (Van Silver Mine; Van Silver Claims), Brandywine Creek, Vancouver Mining Division, British Columbia, Canada in June 2006.

9th Jul 2011 05:33 BSTDarren Court

Regarding Tarantula Hawks - we have had a ridiculous number of them at the White Sands Missile Range Museum this year - up to about 80 or so on the patio at a time. A co-worker was stung a few days ago and said it was the worst sting she has ever had! Obviously we try to stay away from them!!!


9th Jul 2011 10:41 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Stephen, great shot of the Taratula Hawk. If you google painful stings on the Internet, there is an article who subjected himself to stings from various creatures, including the Cow Killer(Velvet Ant), Bullet Ant, various wasps etc. And ranked the pain on a scale he created. I'm not exactly sure why someone would want to subject themselves to that.

Doug, that Columbine shot is gorgeous. There are two mines that I visit to see them along with Ladyslippers but I have never gotten a decent shot.

Paul, the Caracara is not yet on my life list. Amazing shot. Do you have Swallow Tailed Kites also?

David, if you have a moment, could you explain a little more about that seemingly phosphorescent plant. Never seen anything like that!

9th Jul 2011 11:35 BSTGreg Dainty

This bush turkey has been coming in for a feed for the last 5 years. He turns up about a dozen times a year , and can be hand feed......Greg

9th Jul 2011 11:41 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Awesome thread! Thanks David, and all contributors!

9th Jul 2011 12:34 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Nice Turkey, Greg!

Here are two favorite backyard shots of mine. The first are two Turkey Vultures warming their wings in the morning sun and the next is an adult Red Shouldered Hawk who wintered with us one year. I would throw him/her chicken or turkey parts every morning.

9th Jul 2011 14:44 BSTMichael Wood

Another time I was on the Isle of Skye I saw for the first time one of these things - a basking shark - must have been 20 - 25 feet long (~7m). It was just floating along in the calm sea with it's gob open, which can't be a bad way of life. I took the photo from the cliff top which was around 600' high at that point (~180m) so its a bit fuzzy - only 3x zoom on this, my old camera.

George - excellent fly on honeysuckle photo - looks very professional.

Regards, Mike

9th Jul 2011 14:54 BSTMichael Wood

Also on this trip to Skye in June 2008 I snapped these burnet moths (?) hanging around on the upper part of the climb out of Sgurr nam Boc.


9th Jul 2011 15:25 BSTDr. Paul Bordovsky

Hi, David.

No kite pics......I just get the random bird shot when I'm out and about. How about these BIF shots.

I was lucky to get his feathers backlit, when he was slowing to land on the tree.


9th Jul 2011 15:54 BSTUwe Ludwig

Two years ago when I visited the famous Epidot-location Knappenwand/Austria I found some nice lilies (Lilium martagon) and I made some pictures. One year later this spot was cancelled by a big landslip of some million tons of rocks.


9th Jul 2011 16:18 BSTDouglas Merson Expert

1. a trillium that is in our backyard

2. ladybug in our garden

3. wild bleeding heart in our yard

9th Jul 2011 16:33 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Another take on the tarantula hawk for those who might want to see it take down a tarantula. This link is to a Squidoo site Rosegraphics (my wife Teri) put together a couple of years ago:

David, I'm with you. I can't imagine anyone letting one of these critters sting on purpose. I pretty much stop at watching a mosquito fill up. :o


9th Jul 2011 16:42 BSTDonald Slater

Great shots everyone. Nature's beauty whether in a mineral, bird, bug, or plant is amazing but stop talking about steak and mushrooms my stomach is growling and it is a long way to supper.

9th Jul 2011 16:45 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Fantastic topic, I love it.

Gorgeous pics everybody, keep them coming.

In junuari 2009 it has frozen during the night. The day before it was quite warm but very misty.

This is what I discovered the next morning. A plant with a " mineral " growing on it.

A Chimonanthus Preacox knob, ready to pop open with ice crystal growing on them.

Just a few minutes to take the pic and everything was gone, how it came.


Take care and best regards.


9th Jul 2011 16:55 BSTJohn M Stolz Expert

What a lot of interesting information and beautiful photography--thanks everyone!

9th Jul 2011 17:04 BSTStephanie Martin

Hi All, Great photos and fun!

My husband has been away for a week caring for his ailing father, so there has been not much need to use the BBQ. A couple of weeks ago we had to remove a pesky wasp/hornet nest taking hold in the lid, not uncommon as they seem to be attracted to the smell of fat cooking (try french fries in august at a picnic, you will be swarmed!). Today my husband decided to start early to do some slow cook beef ribs (with Morels, sorry Donald). He was taken aback when he opened the lid. We've never seen anything like this on the BBQ! Obviously it is some type of small mammal, probably a rodent, like a chipmunk, that we have running around here. There is an aweful lot of moss and grassy stuff, with a deep impression in the centre. It only took a week or less to build! Anyone know what type of nest please let me know. Sorry the resolution is not that great after resizing the photo to post.

9th Jul 2011 17:13 BSTMichael Shaw Expert

This fellow is content to rest motionless among some plants on our deck during the day, but every night he visits the window next to my favorite chair where he eagerly devours insects on the glass.


9th Jul 2011 17:14 BSTDouglas Merson Expert

A crab spider with lunch

9th Jul 2011 18:25 BSTDr. Paul Bordovsky

This is a nice thread with great pics by everyone.

Douglas, I really like the trillium.

Paul, a timely capture of the ice crystals....very cool.....

Michael, love the colors in the congregation of the burnet moths.

A couple more. First, web construction.

Next, a backside view of a backlit thistle.


9th Jul 2011 18:47 BSTRob (The Rock Hunter) Shepard

Pretty pics

9th Jul 2011 19:27 BSTSteve Stuart Expert

Found this in my back yard while mowing the lawn today. Neither I or my wife know what it is. Any ideas?


9th Jul 2011 19:51 BSTAnonymous User

Some sort of onion or camas (be careful, camas is very poisonous). Not certain, but looks similiar.

9th Jul 2011 20:49 BSTMatthew Kimball

Here are a few pictures of a garden snail found in our back yard. They weren't taken during mineral collecting, but they are very cool!B)

9th Jul 2011 21:30 BSTRay Hill Expert

Here is part of a stem of unopened lupen buds that we saw on a trail walk we went on last week in B.C. Canada.

9th Jul 2011 21:41 BSTStephen Rose Expert

I took this photo at a barite mine in Elko County, Nevada, in 1984. The plover (killdeer) did the usual broken-wing-follow me dance as I approached and, even knowing where she started, it took me several minutes to find this nest. Every stone in the photo is massive barite. She has moved a significant mass to construct the shallow depression for her eggs.

As I recall, the eggs are about 3.5 cm long.



9th Jul 2011 22:24 BSTJoe Mulvey

Each March Bob Whittmore opens the gates to the Palermo #1 Mine in North Groton, NH to allow people to visit the mine to see the ice crystals. If the water is low enough one could venture a ways into the mine and, with the aid of a flashlight, find a hibernating bat or four.

Bats at Palermo #1

It's always nice to see winter pix in July!


9th Jul 2011 23:16 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Douglas, that Trillium is beautiful. My Dad has quite a collection of them, caged from the deer. He has managed to grow varieties with yellow and red blooms also. It is one of my favorite types of wildflower.

9th Jul 2011 23:25 BSTDennis Tryon

John Truax,

Dip those morels in egg yolk, roll in flour, and fry in butter. Brings back memories for me of growing up in Indiana with a dad who was really into mushroom hunting. Enjoy.

Envious I am,


10th Jul 2011 00:09 BSTEdgars Endzelins

Took this photo in Latvia. This is perhaps Mesocerus marginatus. I dont know for sure because this creature was hiding from me >:D<

10th Jul 2011 00:25 BSTColleen Thomson Expert

Fantastic thread! wonderful photos and stories from everyone!

I came across this little tortoise crashing through the long grass in Bulgaria a few years ago - he was going faster up the slope than I was!::o

10th Jul 2011 01:27 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Here's one for David and his dad - from the Rare Nature Preserve on Blair Road in Cambridge, Ontario

10th Jul 2011 02:06 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Wonderful shot, Maggie. Thanks!

10th Jul 2011 03:31 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Enjoying this thread.Some great photos so far. I often take my camera along to catch photos of wildlife,plants,birds etc on collecting trips. Always looking for interesting things to photograph besides minerals. Here is a photo of a very large laetiporus sulphureus,sulphur polypore,sometimes called "Chicken of the Woods". I found this on a collecting trip near the Consolidated #1 Quarry in Topsham,Maine measured nearly 2 feet across. Very good edible mushroom,fried with butter "Tastes like Chicken" as the saying goes.


10th Jul 2011 03:56 BSTDaniel Levesque

My wife, Karla, who rarely accompanies me on my digs took these two nature photos. One of a toad at the Turner Quarry at Mt. Apatite and the other of a gopher in his hole at the Maine Feldspar mine. (or should I say, her favorite gopher,me.)

10th Jul 2011 04:12 BSTRobert Meyer Manager

An excellent thread. Most mineral collectors are fascinated by the flora and fauna that we encounter in our travels. Some of us are experts in the identity of the natural things we encounter outside. Many excellent photographs here. I especially like Doug's Trillium and Crab Spider!

This is a Sheep Moth on Paint Brush encountered near the Keystone Mine, near Coquihalla Pass, BC, Canada

A Columbine from the Silica Bell Claim, near Chilliwack, B.C., Canada

Pine Drops (a saprophyte) from near Washington Pass, Okanogan Co., Washington, USA

Bob Meyer

10th Jul 2011 04:20 BSTRobert Meyer Manager

Some fungus:

Morels found near the Black Pine Mine, near Philipsburg, Montana, USA

The rest of the "Harvest."

Gelatinous fungi on wood in my backyard.


10th Jul 2011 08:03 BSTJohn M Stolz Expert

Here's a family of bears that visited our man camp in the Canadian Rockies, We were driving tunnels for BC Rail. I took lots of pictures, but I wasn't very good.

10th Jul 2011 11:16 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Thought I would add a picture of an unknown (to me) fungus I recently encountered. I love the colors.

10th Jul 2011 12:14 BSTSteve Sorrell Expert

We're in the middle of winter here. In fact it's been snowing today. Scarlet Robins are a welcome neighbour at this time of year. This one seems to enjoy being a tightrope walker...



10th Jul 2011 13:20 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Hi David,

Think the mushroom in your photo is Hemlock varnish shelf mushroom, Ganodermus tsugae, non edible. Usually found on hemlock or conifers.


10th Jul 2011 16:53 BSTMichael Otto

This topic will cause me to keep my camera with me on my collecting trips more often, as I have missed some good opportunities. However here is one pic of a whale that surfaced right next to our boat on a tuna trip 80 miles out in the Atlantic. The other photo is of an invader (tomato horned worm) in my garden last year. The little cocoons on his back contain little preditary wasps that kill the worms.

10th Jul 2011 21:31 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Thank you Paul B that you enjoy the pic.

Here are some others from the same Kenidjack Valley that I took the same day.

The first is from a bunch of purple Irisses and the second, only a few feet apart, a Fazant hen ( yummy )


Take care and best regards.


10th Jul 2011 22:34 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

This is a repeat of a Facebook post - I was on the way to the compost pile and just about tromped on this fellow - I placed him on this branch and he/she/it obliged the photographer. Too bad I wasn't able to get a shot of it's thorax/abdomen - it was the same brilliant iridescent blue. Reiner, the butterfly and moth expert, says it's a milkweed moth.

11th Jul 2011 03:28 BSTRobert Meyer Manager

Nice moth, Maggie. Moths have those feathery antennae. They're pretty cool.

Here are a few from a trip last July to Idaho and Montana:

A Mariposa Lily from the Bayhorse District, Custer Co., Idaho, USA

A Rocky Mountain Iris, Iris Missouriensis, from the Quartz Hill District, Beaverhead Co., Montana

"Strange Creature-Flora or Fauna ?" from the Algonquin Mine, near Philipsburg, Granite Co., Montana, USA


11th Jul 2011 13:48 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Clifford, thanks for identifying. The picture was in fact taken in a grove of conifers.

Here is a feel good story I posted on Facebook. Involves the backyard and not an expedition but my friend deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

Two years ago, Baby as we call her, lost her mother to a car crash. She began hanging out in our backyard and following me around at a safe distance. Ultimately, I began to feed her whole wheat bread. She grew and was "adopted" by one of the other does. She now has fawns of her own but she still stops by for a snack and to relax in our yard.

11th Jul 2011 20:35 BSTAnonymous User

Great thread.

How about this colorless jelly fungus?

11th Jul 2011 20:51 BSTAnonymous User

How about these?

As those of you familiar with the American South know, cypress (Taxodium spp.) trees grow to enormous proportions. In areas where they are more or less constantly shallowly inundated (which is where they usually grow), they develop characteristic "knees", and the lower trunks develop moderate buttresses.

However, where the water level is highly variable (very deep to dry), they do some weird things...... Like these - no knees, and extremely swollen bases. These are in a creekbed, but you'd never know during the dry season.

11th Jul 2011 20:58 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

All this talking about delicious mushroms, and reading a newspaper articel about the first mushroms have started to pop up in our forests as well, made me take a trip yesterday with my wife, and we found cantarells. Enough for a great dinner today! (:P)

But the pictures I took don't qualify for this great thread, with all the beauty, so I had to find an older pic from a trip in August 2009:

11th Jul 2011 21:16 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

From another mushrom trip (no, not that kind of trip - was looking for cantarells and other yummies), in 2009:

12th Jul 2011 12:54 BSTPeter Nancarrow Expert

I was by the pond in my garden trying (not very successfully) to take some photos of my koi carp, when this dragonfly < Aeshna cyanea > landed on my hand. It didn't seem in any hurry to fly off, so when I had taken several photos of it, I put my hand next to some pond weed and let it crawl off. The last photo shows how good its camouflage is; if it had landed on the pond weed, I could have walked right by without noticing it.

Pete N

Aeshna cyanea 005

Aeshna cyanea 006

Aeshna cyanea 009

12th Jul 2011 13:48 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Peter, that butterfly is an Aglais io, one of the beauties of Europe.

These where plentifull in Belgium but when our politics ordered to destroy the comon nettles, they disapeared.

Here, it's on the " nearly extinct " list of butterflies, like many other species.

Many caterpilars of our butterflies feed on nettles so when you destroy the food, you destroy the species feeding on them.

But you have to be a politician for not knowing that.

Take care and best regards.


12th Jul 2011 22:21 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Love the dragonfly pics! We have many different species around our home even though there is no water source. I understand a new book was recently published on Dragonflies in New Jersey so maybe I'll have to order a copy.

13th Jul 2011 00:00 BSTModris Baum Expert

Serengeti in the Suburbs. A tale of three rabbits - and some others.

A couple of years ago, three rabbits decided they liked our garden.

Bold as brass, they would eat their fill and then stretch out luxuriously in the driveway to "catch some rays".

Not a care in the world. But not too smart- as you can see. One by one they disappeared.

This last one expired with a harrowing screech the previous night. Probably the victim of an owl or a fox.

The "undertakers" showed up bright an early and were finished in an hour.

Balance of nature.

Rock connection?

Well just out of sight to the left is a large glacial boulder left embedded in my lawn by the builder.

That’s where I used to “downsize” all the rocks I carted home.

Hope that counts ;)

13th Jul 2011 00:33 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Hi Modris - I have a soft spot for turkey "buzzers" as I like to call them - don't know why exactly - perhaps because they herald spring. And I am sad when they leave in the fall - I've always wanted to write a song - an ode to the ugly things called "I've got the Turkey Buzzard Blues."

13th Jul 2011 00:43 BSTModris Baum Expert

Hi Maggie,

We also have a soft spot for the "uglies" - especially my son.

Bats, toads, vultures, star nosed moles - you name it. The "uglier" the better.

But of course they are not really ugly at all ...


13th Jul 2011 01:47 BSTDanny Jones Expert

Took this one in Arizona several years ago. Rainbows, Butterflys and little girls, nothing more beautiful!

13th Jul 2011 05:44 BSTDean Allum Expert

A few weeks ago while hiking near St Peters Dome (Colorado) it was amusing to see this little tree that wanted to go for ride in the counterweight of this 50-year-old home-made front-end-loader.


14th Jul 2011 18:20 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Some great photos on this thread. Here is a cute little Eastern Gray Tree Frog,(Hylidae versicolor) that I found in my garden one day. Seemed to like posing for my camera so I took some photos and then released him back to the wild. Enjoy!


14th Jul 2011 21:27 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

What a wonderful picture, Cliff. Those little guys are more often heard then seen!

15th Jul 2011 02:40 BSTWayne Corwin

Dragon flys are cool, some times you have to stop mining to video them

Dragonfly having lunch

Enjoy B)

Wayne Corwin

15th Jul 2011 03:25 BSTAndrew Johns

Here is a pair of Bald eagles tending their young. Took this pic south of Norland, Ont on July 2. The nest is approx 6' wide. Not a great picture but, great to witness none the less..

15th Jul 2011 11:39 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Hi Andrew,

Those are Osprey you have photographed. I think it's a great photo.

I just posted this photo on my Facebook page. As we were saying goodnight to a guest, this large Root Borer flew in and scared the ^###^# out of my wife and guest. I thought it was cool as did my son as the only one we had ever seen unfortunately, drowned in our birdbath.

15th Jul 2011 15:00 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

In the area where I am working since 2008 in NW Madagascar ( Ampasindava Peninsula ) we find plenty of insects, birds, reptiles, lemurs, fish and others. My favourite animals are chameleons; this colourful little fellow crossed my way a couple of weeks ago:

15th Jul 2011 16:29 BSTStephen Rose Expert

That is a stunning chameleon photo, Wolfgang!

I went on a short dig and overnight with a couple of my grandsons this week. Beautiful, full moon with light showers and cool days. We found some good quartz crystals and then drove north, passing to the east of the famous mineral location, Majuba Mountain (Pershing County, Nevada.) There appears to be some current exploration or development activity there as we could see some faint light from our camp 10 miles south. We stopped at the north end of Rye Patch reservoir at a mine dump with lots of chrysocolla. Birds were enjoying the well-flooded shallows after a very wet winter. The kids found that the lizards were, if not smarter, at least a lot faster than they were.



Majuba Mountain from the east

Majuba Mountain from northeast. Pelicans (white spot) on Rye Patch reservoir. Other wildlife: Jason confronting copper-rich boulder.

collared lizard watching out for young boys.

15th Jul 2011 22:06 BSTRoger Curry

Wayne that is a brilliant video. You're a lucky man, hope you were similarly lucky with your mining. Where is that, +/- 100 miles?

16th Jul 2011 14:06 BSTWayne Corwin


That was at the Tripp Mine in Alstead N.H., USA

It was a BIG Dragonfly and was busy eating a Bee, head first, and ate the whole thing,, even the stinger !

It's a bit hard to hear in the video, but you could hear it crunching that Bee as it ate it !

As you can see in the video, it didn't seem to mind or care that it was being filmed.

I love the "Paint Job" on the Dragonfly, so very colourful ! Like racing stripes on a race car !


Wayne Corwin

17th Jul 2011 12:55 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Wayne, that video is really amazing. You should think about submitting it to for their food chain section. I know it would be quite a hit.

17th Jul 2011 16:39 BSTWayne Corwin


You might like this video also (and photo's)

Watch the video >> 2 Luna Moths doing what they do

They also hide well in the weeds

It can be hard working at the mine with all these distractions 8-)

Wayne Corwin

18th Jul 2011 04:01 BSTDean Allum Expert

Today, Tom Henderson arranged a rock hunt near Georgia Pass, Colorado for Jim Hall and myself. While we didn't find the "abundant REE crystals" we expected, we found some nice sphalerites, and spotted this guy on our way back. Spring is just arriving in the Colorado mountains, so these mountain goats are shedding their wool.

19th Jul 2011 22:56 BSTJako Schonken

A few weird and wonderfull critters my cousin and I encoutered while we were rockhounding in southern Namibia two years ago. I'll try and get the species' names when I have time because I only know their Afrikaans folk names.

19th Jul 2011 23:06 BSTJako Schonken

A few more photos from Namibia. Those chameleons amaze me, take into account that those areas are semi-desert. The biggest one we found was about 25cm long from head to tail and the welwichia mirabillis plant its in can be as old as 2000years...

19th Jul 2011 23:18 BSTJako Schonken

And some more... We found the horned adder and the frog (!?) on the southern side of the brandberg mountain. The cape cobra we encountered near the Brandberg West mine. Beautiful snake, but you wouldn't want to step on its tail unknowingly...

20th Jul 2011 04:38 BSTJohn M Stolz Expert

Wow--thanks for sharing those photos Jako. That was one hell of a trip!

20th Jul 2011 11:26 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Yes, thanks, Jako - it's great to see "unusual" (to my eyes) creatures - especially the ears on photo "Namibia 2009 311" !!

20th Jul 2011 13:49 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

I like the cobra. Looks like he wants a hug. >:D

20th Jul 2011 16:44 BSTJako Schonken

Here are the names of the species found in Namibia:

136: web footed gecko (palmato gecko)

311: bat eared fox (otocyon megalotis) also known as the "bakoorjakkals" in Afrikaans

384: black, hairy thick tailed scorpion (parabathus villosus)

439: namaqua chameleon (chamaeleo namaquensis)

464: short eared elephant shrew (macroscelides proboscideus) also known as the "klaas neus muis"

600: welwitchia mirabilis plant with chameleon in it

662: horned adder (bitis caudalis)

740: cape cobra (naja nivea) also known as a "geelslang"

858: yet to know what type of frog that was...

26th Jul 2011 13:38 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Thank you all for shearing these pics.

Here's one I took yesterday just around the corner of my street. It's a Graphosoma Lineatum.


Take care and best regards.


26th Jul 2011 14:24 BSTBoris Erjavc


sorry, I don´t know how are these caled in english.

Good luck


26th Jul 2011 15:32 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Hi Boris,

It appears you have captured a Horntail which is a Wood Wasp using its ovipositor, which can be mistaken for a stinger, to lay eggs in that dead tree. If you hang around the tree long enough, you may see a female Ichneumon Wasp show up and use her oveipositor to deposit eggs. Her larvae will consume the Horntails.

Paul, Do you know if that is a Shield Bug or a Stink Bug? Very colorful!

26th Jul 2011 17:22 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi David,

Thanks for the reply. I'am happy you enjoy.

I am afraid, it's a stinkbug. They exist in green color also.

I remember when I was young, that I went into the forest to pick up some berries and brambles.

I had a handfull and eat them, without checking there was a stinkbug larvea on them. Yack...........

I can still tast it.

Don't catch me twice with this, always check the berries first.

To be honest, I live since 88 in this area and it's the first time I saw these red and black striped here. There where in total 8 of them on the same plant. I hope they'll have a lot of babies and spread out.

Take care and best regards.


27th Jul 2011 13:59 BSTRoger Lang Manager

Hi all,

see here an Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) - some 1 and a half year ago we were in the field for planning a Geo hiking trail and there it was ;-)

Pls enjoy



27th Jul 2011 17:51 BSTEdgars Endzelins

This Argynnis paphia was quite busy with Cirsium sp. and even did not noticed me takig so many photos.

27th Jul 2011 17:54 BSTEdgars Endzelins

It even allowed me to do some close-ups

27th Jul 2011 22:55 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Hi Roger,

Enjoyed your shot. We have one that my wife and I are watching right this moment feeding on Joe Pye Weed.

Regard, I think your fabulous photos show some species of Fritillary. At least that what it looks like to me. Their host plant in my neck of the woods are violets.

31st Jul 2011 11:31 BSTSteve Sorrell Expert

Night-time hunter. This little one was looking to catch insects attracted to our front porch by our lights...



31st Jul 2011 11:38 BSTSteve Sorrell Expert

Not a care in the world! One of our three sheep catching some early-morning sun...



31st Jul 2011 14:42 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Any of our insect experts want to take a shot at this one? Seen in Connecticut yesterday, I'm assuming this big guy is some kind of wood boring beetle. He was in quite a rush to get somewhere.

Just found out that this is a Broad Necked Root Borer.

1st Aug 2011 16:21 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi all,

Great images, thanks for shearing.

Yesterday I took these few images.

First is a young Palomena Prasina. Her wings and shield is not yet present.

Second is a Mimas Tiliae caterpillar.

Third is a fly on a leaf.


Take care and best regards.


1st Aug 2011 16:23 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

And the day ended by a beautifull sunset.


2nd Aug 2011 04:22 BSTJim Bean

Since we're off of insects for a minute I'll post a contender from last night to Paul's picture.

But the one I've been meaning to add to this thread is a very nice wildflower bloom in the Temblor Range, very close to Soda Lake in central California.

April 2010

4th Aug 2011 05:34 BSTDouglas Merson Expert

Sunset on a beach just north of Kona Airport and sea turtles seen on hike back to the car. These were taken in October 2006, just a few days after the two 6+ quakes centered a few miles from here. We had just passed the point of no return on the trip over when we were notified of the quakes.

6th Aug 2011 01:42 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Black and yellow garden spider - very common in this area - the female sits in the center of her web -

The web of the yellow garden spider is distinctive: a circular shape up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, with a dense zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, in the center. The purpose of the stabilimentum is disputed. It is possible that it acts as camouflage for the spider lurking in the web's center, but it may also attract insect prey, or even warn birds of the presence of the otherwise difficult-to-see web. Only those spiders that are active during the day construct stabilimenta in their webs.

6th Aug 2011 03:51 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert

You guys are gross! All these icky bugs. Here is a nice image of a Heron sitting in a pine tree by a lake near Bancroft, Ontario. I took the photo while sipping cognac on Frank and Wendy Melansons' sun deck after a hard day of selling minerals at the Bancroft Gemboree.


David K Joyce

7th Aug 2011 12:18 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

This one is for David Joyce who intimated through his post that he would like to see more bug shots. >:D< I encountered this fine fellow near the infamous Peter Mine Superfund site in Ringwood, New Jersey. It's not a bug but it sure is a tad icky!

7th Aug 2011 15:56 BSTWayne Corwin

Nice leopard slug David ::o

7th Aug 2011 17:48 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

He/she is impressive, eh? I was amazed to find out after I got home yesterday that they were not native to North America having been introduced here at the time of George Washington!

26th Aug 2011 04:17 BSTGlenn Rhein

The crystals are not the only things that gets big here in Amity, check out the mushrooms !

26th Aug 2011 14:14 BSTWayne Corwin


Thats totally Amazing >:D<

How did it cook up ? X(


26th Aug 2011 14:25 BSTDan Fountain


I hope it didn't go to waste - looks like it was in prime condition for slicing & sautéing...

26th Aug 2011 14:43 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

yup, tis the season for puffball - dipped in egg, fried and served with lots of ground pepper, Monterey Jack cheese and freshly sliced field tomatoes!


(is it lunch time yet?)

26th Aug 2011 17:24 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Maggie you're right. Lots of mushrooms in my neck of the woods. The deer and crows have been snacking heavily on the bumper crop.

Beautiful shroom, Glenn.

28th Aug 2011 04:30 BSTDean Allum Expert

You folks in forested areas are probably tired of looking at mushrooms, but they rarely occur in the arid rocky mountains, so I am posting a few that I noticed this week. We are in our late-summer afternoon monsoon pattern which is beneficial to fungi.

I have never before seen this last thing, red 'berries' on a red stem.

28th Aug 2011 12:58 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

I never tire of looking at mushrooms. Our deer are really happy with the huge crop as am I since they have stopped eating my plants for the time being.

28th Aug 2011 19:59 BSTGlenn Rhein

Dean, those mushrooms are beautiful !

I don't know how to identify mushrooms but these guys are a cool looking orange.

Haven't cooked up the puffball yet....

31st Aug 2011 16:17 BSTRay Hill Expert

After seeing Dave Joyce's Bancroft Heron, I thought I would share a sophisticated Kitt's Beach , Vancouver Great Blue that was standing on a shallow sand bar about 350 metres off shore wading for prey

31st Aug 2011 19:40 BSTWayne Corwin


Did you make Orange Juice from those ?


31st Aug 2011 22:14 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Anyone want to take a stab at identifying this moth? I think it is a Carolina Sphinx. Wingspan is about 5-6cm. Very large.

1st Sep 2011 01:33 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Hi David - Reiner (the butterfly and moth buff) says, "an 'Underwing', genus catocala"

I like how you were able to get it's little eyeballs to light up...

1st Sep 2011 01:53 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Thanks, Maggie, that makes good sense since we have had many Underwing Moths during the summer. Wish I could have seen the underwing patch usually scarlet in our neck of the woods. This was my first sighting of this moth from inside the house.

2nd Sep 2011 02:29 BSTFred E. Davis

Underwing? Looks more like Mothra... ::o

David - bring the children inside and avoid faerie twins singing songs in strange languages....

2nd Sep 2011 13:29 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

That's nothing Fred. Last night we had the Giant (European) Hornet and this large Katydid come to see us. The large Hornet gives me the skeeves so I did not photograph it but this lady Katydid was very nice and treated us to her ear shattering song.

3rd Sep 2011 16:25 BSTDean Allum Expert

Yesterday while rock-hunting, I noticed this varmit. I relentlessly followed him a kilometer along Trout Creek trying to get a picture. This annoyed him, and every few meters he would turn around and glare at me. Finally he attempted to escape amongst these rocks, but instead got cornered for this portrait.

-Dean Allum

3rd Sep 2011 17:32 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Dean, spectacular!

3rd Sep 2011 17:46 BSTDavid Von Bargen Manager

Nice shot, glad he wasn't too annoyed. Not a good idea to completely cut off an escape route.

3rd Sep 2011 19:32 BSTMister Crystalman

I have some to share... I also am an avid mountaineer and alipinist, which lends its self well to reaching very remote locale's.

Here are some location shots...

These are all in Colorado

Golden Bear Peak


Dyer Mt. & Gemini Point

3rd Sep 2011 19:34 BSTMister Crystalman

Some Colorado Wildflowers

3rd Sep 2011 19:38 BSTMister Crystalman

More Colorado Wildflowers

3rd Sep 2011 19:39 BSTMister Crystalman

Colorado Wildlife

3rd Sep 2011 21:07 BSTDan R. Lynch

I was collecting tiny garnets in river sand in northeastern Minnesota when I heard something skitter through the brush beside me. Picking up my camera, I found this little guy looking at me from a branch about 5 feet up in a cedar. Common garter snake.

5th Sep 2011 22:07 BSTDanny Jones Expert

Sunset taken from Gates Pass west of Tucson 2011

12th Sep 2011 04:30 BSTJames Pool

First pictures I've posted to Mindat. I got all excited thinking I had found some really nice micro minerals that weren't listed for the site that I was collecting at this weekend. These were photographed perched inside a calcite lined tree root cavity in rock hard volcanic ash soils. I assume they must be some sort of wild plant seed pods that are extremely tiny as these are between 80 and 100x magnification. The location was at Pawnee National Grasslands in Weld County, Colorado. These are a lovely golden red color in sunlight.

Anyone know what sort of plant made these?

12th Sep 2011 07:55 BSTAlfredo Petrov Manager

Not eggs?

27th Sep 2011 03:50 BSTDean Allum Expert

Again, I am going to post pictures which are marginally related to this thread. This is in the dreaded scree field at St. Peters Dome.

27th Sep 2011 07:54 BSTSam Cordero, Jr.

Hello James, great photos ! Can't wait to see what these turn out to be. Thanks for sharing. Really though, what are those ?

27th Sep 2011 14:40 BSTBart Cannon Expert

The most interesting bit of biology that I've encountered while mineral collecting is an insect related to the grasshopper.

It is the gyrlloblattid. This insect is wingless and was once thought to inhabit only high mountain snowfields and glaciers, predating upon hapless insects that became moribund on the snow. They are found in the high peaks from Alaska to New Zealand. They can't fly. How could their range be so large ? They must have crawled across the ice in the Pleistocene. That explains the Andes, but how the heck did they get to New Zealand ?

Unlike the mosquito, these things will not bite you. In fact, if you find one and pick it up, it will die in your palm since the heat of your palm will put its metabolic system into overdrive.

Decades ago, while collecting at a quartz breccia deposit in King County Washington known as "Devil's Canyon", I came across these critters while opening up large quartz and scheelite bearing pockets.

My entomology professor at the University of Washington was from New Zealand and all of his students had to learn about grylloblattids, so when I was removing the plates of quartz at Devil's Canyon, and saw these weird little insects scurrying about, I knew what they were and took some back to campus. This species was more heat tolerant than the known grylloblattids and got its own name.

Not Grylloblattiadae gryollobtatid cannononesis, but rather named for the entomology PhD student Dan Mann who paid me $25 to take him to the locality. I bear no grudge, but that is a cool animal just as interesting as zektzerite. A mineral whose naming I do bear a little grudge about.

I think I'm going on too long, but I switched my curriculum from economic geology to an interdisciplinary course where I studied the manner in which geologic history controls biological distribution.

This relates to zektzerite. In the North Cascades there is a large agpaitic granite batholith known as the Golden Horn. It is the source of zekzerite, okanoganite, and a host of other rare minerals. This rock weathers into a harsh, well drained sand because of the abundance of orthoclase which turns only slowly to clay. Right next door is the Black Peak granodiorite with a preponderance of easy weathering plagioclase feldspar which makes a lovely soil. Both are in contact with each other in the montane and alpine zones. One can walk across the contact between the two granitic rocks, and with two steps travel from the scrubby heather meadows of the Golden Horn to the lush herbaceous meadows of the Black Peak granodiorite. This became the subject of my post graduate work. No more economic geology for ten years or so.

There is one more interesting Golden Horn botanical. Pinquicula vulgaris. It roots in the tiny miarolitic cavities of the Golden Horn granite wherever there are moist seeps across outcrops. It is a little purple flowered insectivore. Probably a protected species now.

The members of the mineral kingdom and the animal kingdom all seek out compatible condominiums.

27th Sep 2011 19:15 BSTJames Pool

Hi Sam,

I could never find out exactly what they were but they washed out when I ran water through the calcite lined root cavity. (so certainly not some kind of micro mineral) I did some searches on insect eggs as Alfredo mentioned as a possibility but nothing seems even remotely close so I'm still thinking of some kind of seed as some look like empty seed husks. Sort of like when you have stray popcorn seed husks that clump together when you wash the popcorn bowl to clean it out. I also thought perhaps some kind of pollen but that seems even more unlikely as it would be huge for pollen.

27th Sep 2011 19:28 BSTJames Pool

Here's a photo of a marmot that was taken last year near the highest parking area on Mount Antero, He/she showed up again in the same general area this year as well.

4th Oct 2011 14:11 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Here is an ok shot of my favorite bird, The Pileated Woodpecker. This species of woodpecker is the size of a crow and its favorite meal is carpenter ants. A breeding pair requires 75 acres or so with plenty of rotting wood. It makes an amazing cackle not unlike Woody Woodpecker so you know when one is near.

Birding folks I speak with note the difficulty in seeing this magnificent bird but if you hike with me, you'll see and hear them every time. Why? Because abandoned mining localities are generally found away from people on large tracts of wooded land, perfect habitat. This one flew in front of my car yesterday at the Croton Magnetite Mine in Brewster, New York.

6th Oct 2011 06:55 BSTDon Windeler

OK, I'll admit going in that this is a slightly goofy take on the thread.

A week or so ago I went to our local weekend farmers' market and dropped by the truck of an old guy who sells tasty apples. In looking through his wares, I immediately saw this guy in the Fuji basket and bought it to take home. The moment I saw it, I started thinking compositionally zoned minerals.

Now, I'm pretty sure this was somebody's idea of an experiment with taping up an apple to make it color up differently in the sun, or soemthing equivalent. The seller was honestly surprised when I showed it to him, though, and bringing it home amused me immensely.

My kids have been clamoring to eat it for days and we finally put it to the knife tonight. Tasted the same no matter where you nibbled it...


6th Oct 2011 09:22 BSTBart Cannon Expert


That sure is curious. You may need to post to


Last week I saw a pileated woodpecker banging away on my telephone pole. There is no mistaking a pileated woodpecker.

I live within the Seattle City limits. We have a 40 mile buffer zone of blacktop and shopping malls yet we now have black bears, deer, cougars and bobcats lurking in the bushes. Along with the usual varmints. So far, I haven't seen a weasel, but they are very sneaky..

My dog and I were recently attacked by an actual "gang" of racoons. They were on a shed roof right at my face level. My dog is so fearsome that they fled.

The wildlife biologigists tell us that we humans are encroaching on wildlife habitat, but the opposite is true.

They are coming to town where the eating is good and easy. Dog food, pekinese, and fat kittens.

Many cougars have been outfitted with radio transmitters. When mapped by computer, their locations form a thick circle around the city limits in nearby places like Microsoft's Redmond campus.

6th Oct 2011 11:51 BSTCorie Mattar

I took this picture while returning from Virginia City this summer. We were heading in to grab a bite to eat at a local casino, and apparently this bear had the same idea!

When we pulled in, the bear was walking on all fours down the sidewalk like he belonged there. So we followed him around the back where he went straight to this dumpster to have a look. I'm still not sure who's encroaching on whom, but we are all getting mighty cozy, that's for sure! :)-D


6th Oct 2011 12:02 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

That's an amazing picture, Corie. The bear looks as though he is some late night emplyee working the third shift.

17th Oct 2011 19:14 BSTJames Pool

Here's an excellent photo that I took of a scaled quail near Lake Meredith in Colorado. A zoomed cropped in version of this photo won first prize at the county fair there. There isn't much mineral wise in that region that I have found, just some botryoidal hematite concretions, some massive calcite from canal dredging operations. Lake Henry nearby does have occasional nice translucent to transparent sheets of gypsum, variety selenite, that are exposed on shore from wave action. They split wonderfully into thin sheets with a knife blade.

18th Oct 2011 23:09 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Hello, all!

Last week we spent 4 nights in Mineral and Esmeralda counties, Nevada, taking advantage of the wonderful fall weather and finding some good specimens. We camped three nights at this spot, elevation about 8,200 feet, with warm days, a bright moon and enough clouds on Friday to create this wonderful sunset.



22nd Oct 2011 20:11 BSTGeorg Graf

Hi David, hi All,

at the "Johann am Burgfelsen" Adit, Wittichen, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, (...loc-1928) when I had took up a stone I was greeted by a snake, Vipera berus, a quite poisenous one. I let the stone fall and was happy to been came out without damage. (And I imagine, the snake was also happy!)

Near Clausthal (...loc-21652) are growing Epipactis helleborine, an orchid. (See photos)

And there is the Schönflechte. (Sorry, don´t know the latin name for this symbiosis of a fungi and an algae.) (See photo.)

Greetings from Goslar


22nd Oct 2011 20:32 BSTBlaž Vičič

Come and visit our karst :) it gets even more beautiful.

(attached photo, not the link ^^)

22nd Oct 2011 21:48 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Hi Georg, beautiful flowers and fauna. Thanks for posting.

Blaz, I could stare at that scene for hours!

22nd Oct 2011 22:44 BSTMickey Marks

Just now discovered this thread, so have never contributed before. When I go out on mineral collecting trips, I look for the natural wonders around me, and take photos when something impressive catches my eye. Here is one of a calypso orchid growing up through a pile of dead leaves and underbrush near one of my favorite collecting sites, Shellrock Mountain, Hood River County, Oregon.

22nd Oct 2011 23:00 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

Great to see those orchid pictures - orchids are an other interest of mine, and it's always making my day when I encounter them. The season is over this year for doing that, but here is an old picture and a link to a blog from 2008...

nature blog in 2008

22nd Oct 2011 23:05 BSTMickey Marks

Here is another one from Shellrock Mountain. This is flowering currant about two feet from the amethyst zone at the base of the cliff near Interstate 84.

23rd Oct 2011 07:18 BSTDavid Zimmerman (2)

Great pictures all. I've been stalking this thread for some time and admiring them all. I don't have the brain capacity left to remember all the species names, but I know the first one is the Blue Columbine from the mountains in CO. The others are from CO as well. What a fun trip.

23rd Oct 2011 11:25 BSTDavid Bernstein Expert

Love the blue columbine! There is an iron mine that I visit every spring to see it's red cousin growing in the cracks of an old foundation.

29th Oct 2011 06:21 BSTGreg Dainty

An update on our Bush Turkey pic of a couple of months ago.

Its now nesting season, and our friend has choosen to build his nest not far from our home. Here are a couple of pics of him eating some food I have given him, he is on top of his nest, which measures 5 x 5 x 1.5mtr.

Interestingly the male alone builds the nest and maintains it. A female comes along and If she likes the look of him and his nest, she will lay one egg, and leave, never to be seen again.

In the nesting season the otherwise drab red and yellow color on his neck, become very vivid, and the yellow bottom section, becomes enlarged hugely.

Now all he has to do is protect the nest for the next month, against large goanna lizards, who want to eat the eggs. .....Greg

29th Oct 2011 16:31 BSTJay Buscio

Here's our cat hamming it up.

30th Oct 2011 17:36 GMTJay Buscio

Photo Crasher!

1st Nov 2011 02:18 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

Really like your turkey, Greg. And your cat Jay.

1st Nov 2011 02:43 GMTRowan Lytle

Thats a good one Jay!:D

3rd Nov 2011 11:39 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

I was setting up for work this morning and was being watched by four pairs of blue eyes...

A little jumping spider...



3rd Nov 2011 12:46 GMTReiner Mielke Expert


Isn't that the deadly Blue-eyed Biter? :D

3rd Nov 2011 13:47 GMTGail Spann Manager

A sweet deer that was grazing along the Point Reyes seashore two weeks ago while I was traipsing about.

4th Dec 2011 19:32 GMTHerman Du Plessis


Early morning mist at Goboboseb, Namibia.

Made a nice nature photo, with a Welwitschia mirabilis and a "vetplant" growing in the foreground.

5th Dec 2011 15:42 GMTJay Buscio

Well stretching the thread theme here a bit, here's a scene from another day at the Dangerfield household.

6th Dec 2011 00:54 GMTRowan Lytle

haha!!:-D That's pretty funny Jay.

14th Dec 2011 21:04 GMTRui Nunes Expert

... and more mushrooms! These are from Portugal:)-D

15th Dec 2011 05:44 GMTMickey Marks

Flying over Greenland on August 6, 2011.

15th Dec 2011 17:31 GMTJay Buscio

Circumzenithal arc (upside down rainbow) seen in the sky here over our house two days ago at around 3 in the afternoon.

20th Dec 2011 15:49 GMTAndy Klotz

Found this 10mm yellow caterpillar/ fuzzball while walking in the rain forest in the Blue Mountains.

fungi from same area and red triangle slug.

20th Dec 2011 16:53 GMTAndy Klotz

Fungus-Blue Mountains NSW.
Turquoise wasp.

20th Dec 2011 20:57 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

Some great photos, Andy. Bet that yellow caterpillar packs a potent sting.

21st Dec 2011 04:46 GMTStephanie Martin

Awesome photos everyone! A pleasure to peruse the pages.

Andy, I rather like that turquoise wasp, or is that chrysocolla with wulfenite? :-D


stephanie :-)

21st Dec 2011 11:11 GMTAndy Klotz

Thanks! Such a great thread David!

Some truly beautiful Photos and glimpses of other peoples natural settings and flora and fauna from around the world.

I had a thought, that at the introduction to the post you could put a description of how to use the link to make the photos appear on the page automatically. I only just figured it out yesterday and maybe others don't know about how to do it. It would make for even more enjoyable viewing as, sometimes it sends you to the top of the page again after viewing the Jpeg. Just an idea.

Your description definitely suits better Stephanie!

Cheers, Andy.

26th Dec 2011 07:40 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Yesterday (Christmas Day), Di and I, and our dog Capper, decided to have a picnic lunch. Had a great time photographing the locals...

You can see more here...



27th Dec 2011 20:10 GMTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi Steve,

Isn't that the crab of your avatar ?


27th Dec 2011 20:35 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Hi Paul

Different species :-)

The avatar is a hermit crab. Doesn't have a hard shell.

I just fixed the link too...



31st Dec 2011 17:51 GMTGlenn Rhein

Life's good for this guy... The small trout in my pond are going fast.

Happy New Year !

31st Dec 2011 18:46 GMTFred E. Davis

Snow was plentiful last winter, so much so that it almost reached the bottom of the bird feeder. This was usually out of reach for Mr. Squirrel who could now just reach up and pull out a paw-full.

Another favorite: From August 2006, sunrise on Little Sunapee Lake in New Hampshire. The night had been cool, so the warmth of the sun was lifting a fog from the lake.

Now playing: Bach: A Strange Beauty. Simone Dinnerstein.

31st Dec 2011 19:30 GMTMickey Marks

Life returned to the scoria ejected from the January 23, 1973 eruption on Heimaey Island, Iceland. This is sedum growing through the scoria, taken on August 5, 2011.

1st Jan 2012 12:41 GMTMatthew Gilbert

Sometimes nature isn't very helpful. I was doing fieldwork in Cyprus in October when I had a run-in with a hornet. I had just parked and was getting my stuff out of the boot (or 'trunk') when a hornet decided to investigate my bag. I didn't want it getting into the car so I shut the boot. The hornet paused for a few seconds and then turned around and went for me. I spent a few minutes fending it off with my field-slips before managing to jump into the car and slam the door in time to stop it getting in. Ten minutes later I was still in the car held hostage by the hornet which I could hear banging off the roof and into the windows. After a few minutes pause I thought it had gone, so I opened the door a tiny bit to check. Suddenly there was the ferocious droning of its wings like a chinook helicopter. I managed to keep it out and then drove fast down the dirt track (in my wee Nissan micra hire car!) to get it off my tail. Scary eh?

I really love the photo of the misty lake. It reminds me of a recent walk up Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh where the mist lifted just as the sun was setting. It made for a pretty good photo-taking opportunity. This one was taken by a friend of mine:

Amazing to think that that's in the middle of a capital city.

Sticking with the Iceland theme (of above), here's a photo of an algal stream *thing* in the Laki National Park in August 2011. This is on top of one of the 1783/4 Laki lava flows. The slopes on the right are fissure cones from the AD934 Eldgjá eruption (the Laki flow pretty much filled up the valley).

One of the things that was cool about this is that it's miles off the beaten track and somewhere few people are likely to ever get to visit. Normally you aren't allowed to stray off the main track in the park because the vegetation takes so long to recover, but we had permission to drive to this site (which took an hour).

2nd Jan 2012 13:07 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

A view of a nice brook I encountered in Kent, New York over the weekend.

2nd Jan 2012 23:54 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

A devil encounter...



3rd Jan 2012 00:32 GMTCraig Mercer

Awesome thread this !!

My family and I finding the perfect picnic spot. Note the waterfall in the background, that was the determining factor for the children. :-) We had a picnic in the beautiful Mt Wilson, NSW, Australia and then we collected some incredible red and yellow quartz (citrine) from a little place near Walang, NSW. I will take some photo's of them and post here within a day or so.

Caught in compromised position!

3rd Jan 2012 05:55 GMTGail Spann Manager

Adularia ( Addie ). Our mineral cat, usually laying in a flat.

3rd Jan 2012 10:34 GMTTrevor Dart

I often go fossicking over in the Flinders Ranges and I always run into a few of the locals...

Mother Kangaroo with a Joey in her pouch

The rare Yellow Footed Rock Wallaby

A flock of Emus

3rd Jan 2012 14:38 GMTAndy Klotz

View of mount solitary and the ruined castle from landslide lookout, Blue mountains,NSW,Australia.

Interesting sandstone formation at landslide lookout.

Coral fungus near Horseshoe Falls, Hazelbrook,Blue mountains.

3rd Jan 2012 15:32 GMTSteven Kuitems Expert

Hi Andy, great pictures and wildlife! Is that layered rock formation possibly a stomatolite colony fossil ?

Happy Hunting for rocks, minerals and wildlife photos in the New Year !!


3rd Jan 2012 19:26 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

Thanks for continuing to post, everyone.

Trevor, love the locals in your area!
Here are a few photos from our NZ, Australia trip. The photography turned out to be better than the mineral collecting.

New Zealand river network from 39,000 feet.

Are there any salt water crocs out here?


These guys were as curious about me as I was about them. When they approached, I retreated to the car.

The Dingos were not what I had expected. We were introduced to one tame pup that thought that my arm was a chew toy.

The highlight of the trip, for me.

Rain forest stream

The rain forest

4th Jan 2012 00:14 GMTTrevor Dart

A few more from my part of the world...

Sturt Desert Peas in full bloom

Crested Wood-Pidgeon out on the nature strip near the front of my house in Broken Hill

Canis Familiaris - Toby. Our Australian Kelpie on our back verandah.

4th Jan 2012 00:43 GMTTrevor Dart

Steven, the sandstone formation shown in Andy's photo is caused by preferential weathering of rings of slightly softer sandstone. This could be due to iron oxide (liesegang rings) cementing the grains together to form slightly more resistant bands. They are probably not stromatolites as the Hawkesbury Sandstone is Triassic in age and formed as sand dune complexes above sea level. What you seek is commonly found in the Flinders Ranges, 1500 km to the west of Sydney. Here the rocks are the right age for the large stromatolite fossils and most of the sediments were shallow marine in origin.

Here are some of the stromatolite fossils found in the Trezona Formation - 600 million years old. As seen in Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges.

4th Jan 2012 21:18 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

The picture of the pigeon reminds me of an incident many years ago on the slopes of Mount Meru in Tanzania. I've always been an avid birdwatcher. In one tree I spotted several Bar Tailed Trogans and one of the most beautiful pigeons I had ever seen. For those familiar with the Rock Dove of the inner city, you might understand my excitement. I moved in for a closer look tilted my head up and received the surprise of my life as the pigeon "unloaded" all over me. Although many folks in my group assured me it was good luck, I just didn't see it that way.

Nice pigeon, Trevor.

6th Jan 2012 17:16 GMTAndy Klotz

Thanks Steven! Sorry, just got back to it now.Happy hunting for Natures many wonders too!

Trevor's right about this not being stromatolites.Great shots of the stromatolites by the way Trevor!

At one time much of the Blue Mountains was covered in basalt lava flows, these having mostly eroded except for a few basalt capped mountains in the area. The iron originating in the basalt is thought to have leached into the sandstone, concentrating in the bedding planes formed in ancient sand bars in what was once an estuary and part of a massive river delta and also forming concretions and iron stone tubes, these being more resistant to weathering. There are numerous beautiful examples of ironstone formations throughout the mountains.

Some really great pics guys!

A tuberous Drosera.
Some type of mucus like slime mold?Incidentally this stuff works well as a living tissue culture medium especially for growing Drosera leaf cuttings.
On my way to check out old oil shale and coal mine relics.The black oil shale carves nicely.

Katoomba, NSW.

6th Jan 2012 21:53 GMTMartin Slama Expert

Harald I am with you. I also look for good mushroom places when I go out for collecting. I found my best Boletus edulis ( a group of 4 perfect shrooms, no worm inside!) when I was looking 3 hours for the small outcrop at Moos/Gastein valley. :)


13th Jan 2012 18:27 GMTBob Jackson Expert

Shroom spotted while returning from an evening fossil hunt, near Hobart, WA. In a patch of salmonberry, Rubus spectrabilis, no idea of the shroom species, just liked the form.


13th Jan 2012 18:42 GMTStephanie Martin

Great thread, definitely some breathtaking moments here. Thanks all for continuing to contribute fantastic photos.

Just thought I would share this video if you like that sort of thing.

These are time lapse photos taken from the observatory in Spain, on El Teide.


stephanie :-)

13th Jan 2012 22:01 GMTMickey Marks

Well, Stephanie, that video certainly "one-ups" all of us amateurs who have contributed to this thread. One word sums it up. Spectacular!

13th Jan 2012 22:55 GMTStephanie Martin

Glad you liked it Mickey, there are also other videos to view such as "The Aurora", "The Arctic Light" and "The Water".

14th Jan 2012 21:19 GMTBob Harman

In the "favorite self-collected specimens" thread, I have mentioned the Harrodsburg roadcuts on Indiana state route 37 in Monroe County. So today I got out to take some pix to share with you. Cloudy 25 degrees with the last 3 nites around 10 degrees and a trace of snow on the ground. Here are several views of the NW and NE road cuts. There are also two road cuts south of the exit (SE and SW cuts). All 4 cuts produce geodes with some regularity and have done so for many years, even before the road was widened to 4 divided lanes about 1970. I have talked with several folks who collected during that time and they say the construction site swarmed with midwest collectors. Many, many ultra hi end geodes with millerites, calcites, dolomites and barites including all types of combinations were collected. They went to numerous museums and into private collections.

You notice the icicles. The largest are about 7' long now and can grow to about 10'. People occasionally color them with food coloring. The repeated freeze/thaw episodes fractures the limestone and several layers peel away revealing whole or partial geodes each collecting season. The overhangs are largely barren but pose extreme dangers as they periodically fall in small and large masses during wet spells and thaws. Hundreds of US Midwest collectors and local university classes come here to study and collect. True legality of collecting status here is in question, but police usually look the other way as they recognize the stuff is being preserved. Also, geology department personnel have requested leniency. Of course collectors must show they are aware of passing traffic and falling rock etc so cars well off the roadway, no kids and yes hardhats etc.

15th Jan 2012 01:36 GMTStephen Rose Expert


Thanks for posting the pictures of the Harrodsburg road cut. It's like seeing an old friend after many years; the shape may be somewhat different but the 'personality' is the same.



15th Jan 2012 03:13 GMTBob Harman

STEVE I was hoping you or someone similar with long time knowledge of this collecting site would respond. About a year or 2 ago, I sat down briefly with Verne Swanson at the Indiana State Museum and we talked of the history of this site when the roads were being widened. That was after my years at IU and before I moved back to the Midwest. Did you ever know of Verne? Or how about David Rush? Glad you enjoyed the pix............ BOB

15th Jan 2012 04:54 GMTStephen Rose Expert


I do not know either Vern or David. I collected at the Harrodsburg cuts fairly regularly between 1964 and 1967, long before the widening took place. The only information I had about the collecting there during the widening project came from a friend in Laurence County, Duane Jorgensen, who remarked on the abundance of good specimens and the number of collectors taking advantage of the situation. He mentioned that he collected at least one very fine millerite that he donated to (I believe) either the IU collections or to the State Survey for their display case. When I collected there I found two very fine millerites in geodes that were part of the fill material on the west side of the (then) two lane road below the parking area. These were the best I collected in the area.

There was a lot of good collecting at that time around the construction site for the nearby Monroe Lake dam. Especially where the deep cut on the SE end of the dam was made. The longest millerite crystal I have personally collected came from this cut before the dam was completed and the area closed. It was a single, very fine filament about 8-9 cm long formed side to side in a clean, thin-shelled quartz geode with no other minerals.



15th Jan 2012 12:31 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Came across a couple of cool critters today...

Big A$$ Fly

What's it got to do with rocks? Nothing, other than I had to pick up a few so that they didn't get under the lawn mower. I missed one and have a small chunk missing from my leg...

Cool pics by the way Bob. Tomorrow is going to be a top of 27 degrees here. But that's centigrade! No icicles here.



17th Jan 2012 01:04 GMTMickey Marks

As long as we are talking about ice, a few years ago I noticed some frost on a patch of ivy outside my bedroom. I took my camera to see if I could get some closeups of the frost, and this picture shows what I found.

17th Jan 2012 01:24 GMTStephanie Martin

Beautiful pics Everyone!

Bob I would like to see those icicles with food colour, although it would be a bit of a sacrilege. Cool photos nonetheless.

Steve, yes that is a big *** fly and it's bright and warm enough there that it looks like he's wearing sun glasses! At least he didn't take the chunk out of your leg, like the dear flies do over here.

Mickey, love the frost pic. Reminds me of our iced-up storm windows in my old childhood home. It was always fun looking for patterns and shapes, like you did with clouds on a warm summer day. Ah the memories...


stephanie :-)

17th Jan 2012 02:20 GMTAnonymous User

This thread is such an inspiration. It is nice to see all the photos of everyone's "special moments in photography". One of my favorite things to do with a camera is just walk aimlessly until something catches my eye, like this cotton candy flavored moth. I have never seen another one since and I have not seen another what they call "Lady Slippers" Orchid growing in the wild. The flower was in bloom when I found the moth. I imagine some sort of symbiotic relationship between the plant and the moth since it is the perfect camouflage for the insect during the daylight hours. Every year, when I go back on vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I grab my camera and look for this moth and plant, but I have never seen either a second time.

17th Jan 2012 04:03 GMTMickey Marks


Talking about shapes in clouds, how about this cottontail rabbitt sitting over Maui, as seen from Molokai in 2009?

17th Jan 2012 04:12 GMTStephanie Martin

Mickey - it would seem that looking at cloud shapes is something we never outgrow? Great photo and location to boot.

Conrad - they do make a matching pair! Good luck on your annual search and hope that you are able to find both again!


stephanie :-)

18th Jan 2012 00:47 GMTPaul Siegel

Wonderful photos everyone. My wife is blessed with a green thumb. It is sure nice to get a taste of the tropics in the middle of winter in New York. Although not readily apparent in the photo the blossoms are twinned.



18th Jan 2012 02:13 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

Awesome photos everyone!!

It's been a while since I posted anything here, so I thought I would add a photo of what is still a geologic mystery, the Mima Mounds in west-central Washington state. No one for sure knows what created these strange mounds of dirt about 15 ft. around and 4 to 6 ft. tall; was it seismic activity, pocket gophers, or something else?? My apologies for the photo quality; it was a dark, rainy day.

19th Jan 2012 19:00 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Mustangs, Northern Virginia Range, Storey, County, Nevada. These mares and a foal are relaxing in the warmth of a November day in 2011.




21st Jan 2012 04:37 GMTJay Buscio

Several of these tiny tree frogs take up residence like clock work every year in a few select flower pots on our back patio.

21st Jan 2012 05:09 GMTMickey Marks

Sechelles Islands eight-legged acrobat.

21st Jan 2012 09:02 GMTBob Harman

Backyard pet. Suburbs of Jackson Wyoming home. January 2009.

21st Jan 2012 10:32 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

This one could have taken a chunk out of my leg!

Got a new macro lens today and this was one of the shots taken with it.



21st Jan 2012 18:23 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

Bob, thanks for posting a picture of my favorite animal.

21st Jan 2012 18:41 GMTAntonio Gamboni Expert

This is one of the friends I have come across in one of my trips in search of minerals, is the most dangerous spider in Sardinia, but it is also very nice.

Latrodectes tredecemguttatus (malmignatta) - photo Antonio Gamboni.

21st Jan 2012 19:53 GMTBob Harman

Himalayan blue poppy in Butchart Gardens Victoria, British Columbia June 1 2011. Hey everyone out there.......great pix!! Antonio that spider from Sardinia looks quite like our American Black Widow, female, and I bet they are in the same or a similar family. I have seen several on my Indiana field trips. The females aggressively defend their eggs and will readily bite (not sting!) the unwary rock collector

21st Jan 2012 21:07 GMTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Hello Bob, beautiful flower, surely the spider belongs to the same family.

23rd Jan 2012 14:59 GMTBob Harman

Totem pole Vancouver, B.C. June 2011 Totem poles are common along the NW coast of North America. They each tell a story of the family or extended clan of that tribe of Native Canadians or Americans. They are NOT religious symbols or akin to tombstones in a cemetery. Genuine examples have only 3 colors on the wood (usually cedar). The red is from rust and ocher found in the environment, black is from the charcoal from campfires, and bluish green is from the copper (malachite) commonly found in the area. When early missionaries came to the native peoples, they mistakenly thought the totems were religious symbols and started destroying them as they attempted to convert the native peoples to Christianity. Many great totem examples were needlessly destroyed. Totems were meant to seen and read over and over by the clan's family members and then the totem was supposed to naturally decay, fall over, and continue to disintegrate on the forest floor. In the early 20th century, it took a lot of convincing of the different tribe's elders to allow permanent preservation of the totems in Canadian and American museums, parks etc.

23rd Jan 2012 16:41 GMTEddy Vervloet Expert

Praying mantice in Toscany, Italy.

I love the way he seems (or is...) looking backwards at me to see what the **** I am doing...

24th Jan 2012 15:41 GMTMaggie Wilson Expert

nothing to do with minerals but all about nature and in slow motion that will knock your socks off! Some incredible shots - a mother bat feeding on a cactus flower with a nursing bat-let holding on for the ride for instance, and sparring hummingbirds.!


25th Jan 2012 21:54 GMTBob Harman

Mt. McKinley, Denali National Park, May 25, 2011. The first view is from the North side looking South and the second view is from the South looking North. The best viewings of the highest peak in North America, 20,320' elevation, are in May and early June as the mountains are usually shrouded in clouds. Only about 10% of tourist viewers see a cloud free view of the mountain. Although always covered with snow, the very top gets very, very little yearly snowfall, but no melting, just a bit of sublimation. In a few small localized areas, digging down a few inches can reveal snow that "fell" many hundreds of years ago. To climb the mountain you need a permit showing you are qualified and understand the requirements and hazards. Nevertheless several rescues are needed every year.

27th Jan 2012 00:00 GMTGlenn Rhein

A crazy looking tree we found while canoeing on the flooded Pochuck Creek last fall... 90 degrees does make a difference. The reflection off the water was amazing that day.

27th Jan 2012 13:55 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

Interesting tree, Glenn. Here is an interesting growth on a tree I encountered the other day.

27th Jan 2012 22:52 GMTStephen Rose Expert

A few years ago I blew a water pump near Coso Junction in Inyo County, California. While waiting for the tow truck admiring this and some other spring flowers kept me occupied. California Poppies are a hardy breed and seem to thrive almost anywhere, even in this seemingly sterile desert pavement if there is a bit of rain.



30th Jan 2012 15:27 GMTMartin Slama Expert

My all times favourite, a rare Papilio machaon butterfly. Pitured in 2010 in my Garden.



30th Jan 2012 17:50 GMTBob Harman

MARJORIE GLACIER calving, Southeast Alaska, May 25 2011. Most Alaska glaciers are retreating; that is their melting and slow crumbling(calving) at their front terminal end is faster than their inexorably slow forward and downhill movement. Glacial ice starts as compressed snow higher up in the mountains. As the snow is compressed into the glacial ice, it takes on a bluish color due to change in light refraction thru the ice. Gravity and the weight of the ice starts it moving down the mountain grinding up tons of underlying rock as it moves. Water into ice is very hard to compress, but if you were to take exactly equal amounts of a routine freezer ice cube and glacial ice cube, the glacial cube would weigh a bit more and yield a slightly higher amount of water and also take a bit longer to melt. As the glacier calves, the ground up rock (silt) is deposited at the bottom of the bay or fiord (fjord), slowly filling it in from the bottom up. The water is so silty that fish and most other water life cannot live in the silty water.

2nd Feb 2012 00:24 GMTGreg Dainty

This is a pic taken standing on our access driveway, today 2nd Feb. This is the10th day of a rather large flood. We probably wont be able to cross for another 5 days. All are safe and well , and we have plenty of supplies........ Greg

PS. I usually upload the pic into the message, but the pic utility upload Virginia Rockhounders I usually use has been hacked, does anybody know another similar site for uploading into messages?

2nd Feb 2012 00:57 GMTDon Saathoff Expert

This gives real meaning to the old phrase "I'll be there - the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise".

2nd Feb 2012 14:26 GMTBob Harman

When out field collecting with your best rockhounding buddy in the US or Canadian rockies, be careful what you wish for! "You know, someday I really would like to see a Grizzly Bear!" This is a grizzly sow and 2 cubs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 2010. There are recently more casual sightings, like this one, than ever before. The easiest ways to recognize grizzlies from the brown phase of the Black Bear are the grizzlies' rounder face (shorter snout) and the hump on the back above the front feet. But, really now, do you want to be close enough to make that positive id???

4th Feb 2012 00:00 GMTStephen Rose Expert

These little fellows, yellow-bellied marmots, are common in our part of the world and watching them is entertaining. They can be a problem, however, as they have a fondness for rubber and they have been known to sample car parts. A couple of cubs (kits?) have been sent underground by this rather grizzled parent but curiosity get the better of him. Photo by T. Rose



7th Feb 2012 17:51 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Just in case you have ever wondered what they went through before they became deep fried rings....

Harvested onions, near Yerrington, Lyon County, Nevada, 2003



11th Feb 2012 01:36 GMTGlenn Rhein

This gal hangs out in Amity, I've seen her about a dozen times now but this time we were lucky enough to have a camera ready.

They call them pie bald deer and I have seen quite a few over the years but I have never seen one this white, she's awesome !!! Must have something to do with the white Meionites around here LOL

14th Feb 2012 04:23 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Sweet Pea (AKA 'Hairball) relaxing. Just about as natural an activity as one can expect from a house cat.

Photo by Rosegraphics.



14th Feb 2012 13:00 GMTBob Harman

Buchart limestone quarry then and now. Victoria, Vancouver Is, B.C. Or rock collecting vs gardening! Late May 2011

14th Feb 2012 13:32 GMTGlenn Rhein

Wow ,Looks like a place I'd want to see.

Thank's for sharing the pictures Bob.

14th Feb 2012 13:32 GMTDavid Bernstein Expert

That's a beautiful quarry Bob.

Steve, great cat photo. Here are my beasties, a Ragdoll and a Norwegian Forest Cat.

14th Feb 2012 17:24 GMTStephen Rose Expert

I want that water feature in my yard!

David, your 'beasties' look beautiful. And, like they almost tolerate each other?


15th Feb 2012 15:33 GMTFred E. Davis

I took this snapshot last month on a cold, rainy day. I noticed that the bird feeder in the dogwood tree right next to the back porch had no birds when I expected many. Then I saw the reason sitting just above and to the left of the bird feeder - a cold, wet Cooper's hawk. It didn't mind me stepping onto the porch to snap a few shots before it flew away to the water company property & lake nearby where it lives.

24th Feb 2012 10:47 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

A pair of Gila Woodpeckers in a palm tree at the Inn Suites during the Tucson Show. Male has the red patch.



24th Feb 2012 20:15 GMTStephen Rose Expert

A not-so-furry friend. Jefferson County, Montana. 1984.



25th Feb 2012 21:16 GMTBob Harman

AMERICAN ELK (WAPITI) National elk refuge, near Jackson, Wyoming February 2010.

28th Feb 2012 04:36 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Iron oxide joint surface coatings resistant to weathering. Cretaceous Dakota formation in the canyon of the Purgatoire River in Otero County, Colorado. The area shown is about 3 meters across. 1976



1st Mar 2012 06:13 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Looking for a stibnite occurrence in June, 1984. Toiyabe Range, south of Austin, Lander County Nevada.



5th Mar 2012 18:04 GMTStephen Rose Expert

It's a question of who has the right of way......clods of mud, mustang heels and butts, Harney County, Oregon, 1978.



9th Mar 2012 14:41 GMTBob Harman

Let me think; where to start collecting first????.................. Yosemite National Park, California ........ August 2010.......BOB

9th Mar 2012 17:11 GMTStephen Rose Expert

So, Bob, which one of those erratics ended up in your collection?;-)

9th Mar 2012 21:08 GMTUwe Ludwig

Nature found in an ancient shaft. A mushroom myzel growed up in the darkness to abt. 40 cm diameter.

Uwe Ludwig

12th Mar 2012 18:43 GMTGeorg

Hallo Uwe,

erstaunlich! Danke!

Grüße Georg

14th Mar 2012 01:54 GMTStephen Rose Expert

This fellow was just hanging out on a fine, Oklahoma summer day in 1883 with some Wichita Mountains granite in the background. Ooops....I mean 1983!



15th Mar 2012 16:51 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Sunlight on columbines, LaPlata Mountains, Colorado 1975.



17th Mar 2012 11:44 GMTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Searching For minerals in these places is marvelous:

17th Mar 2012 12:27 GMTAmanda Hawkins

Baby adder (poisonous), Boscastle, Cornwall, UK

Female grass snake (harmless) in our back yard, Gillingham. Dorset, UK


17th Mar 2012 17:58 GMTBob Harman

Steller's sea lions, Southeast Alaska, June 2011. Over the last 20 years or so there has been a great reduction in numbers of these formerly common sea mammals. Not sure if the reduction in numbers results from human over fishing of the sea lion's food or changes in the water or increasing predation by orcas and sharks; it may be a combination of all of the above. Each bull can weigh up to 1200 lbs and preside over a harem of up to 15 - 20 smaller females. Sea lions differ from seals by the presence of visible ears. ENJOY!!

16th Apr 2012 03:23 BSTJonathan Woolley

This little slimy salamander (that's actually the common name of the species, not a descriptor) was the original denizen of the small opening in a quartz vein that became a pocket which I collected a week ago. Fortunately for him, he dashed out of the entrance before I started any serious poking around with a screwdriver. Glad I didn't injure this little fella.

22nd Apr 2012 17:55 BSTGeorge Creighton

Close up view inside a foxglove ( digitalis purpurea ) flower, taken 2011.


22nd Apr 2012 18:20 BSTBob Harman

The Indiana route 37 Harrodsburg road cuts as seen recently. The first pix is looking NW toward the NW cut. The overhang is devoid of minerals. The undercut area of the lowest level contains scattered geodes, but not vugs or voids. The upper levels are very steep, much more so than the photo shows so getting onto them and walking along up there is very difficult. The highest point is about 70' from the road surface to the top. The second pix shows a rock fall of about 2 tons from earlier this year. It was from the overhang of the Southeast cut and, while the overhang here is also devoid of minerals, it took down a bit of the under layer which had several nice geodes. All the rock rubble is both natural falls and collectors pulling down pieces in search of geodes and the occasional fossils The third pix shows several geodes in varying states of degeneration within the rock wall. As seen several are solid and the 2 largest appear hollow. These will slowly decay and fall out in pieces over the next several years. To find fresh ones, especially after freeze/ thaw cycles, collectors take pry bars and peel off the limestone. On the backside of these pieces there may be a half of a freshly opened geode with some surrounding limestone matrix. The piece of roadside garbage is a McDonald's hamburger box. The most common garbage is plastic and aluminum soft drink and beer containers. Next comes fast food bags, boxes and the like. Third in garbage frequency.......believe it or porno junk like magazines, old CDs etc. I guess if casual collector families are out and about, the kids might get an eye full!

22nd Apr 2012 20:39 BSTGeorge Creighton

Close up of a fly eating pollen, taken 2010.

Camera samsung GX1L, tripod and shutter release connection, this was the best photo ( in my opinion ) from a total of 19 of the same subject.


22nd Apr 2012 23:58 BSTBradley Plotkin

Here is a shot of a beaver taken from my kyak at Harriman State Park this past week.

23rd Apr 2012 03:23 BSTRock Currier Expert

My God! For a moment I thought you had gotten a picture of Nessie.

23rd Apr 2012 03:37 BSTMarco Jamer

Talking about the nature, I have recently attended this Earthy Day Run from National Geographic Channel near our area and they had the goal of raising awareness for people to care even further for mother nature and though they were able to bring up a number of people to join their ranks, the purpose was kind of defeated when at the end, there were a lot of paper cup trash on the sides from people who drank race water. Quite ironic actually.

23rd Apr 2012 03:54 BSTStephanie Martin

Great photos All!

George - looking at that fly, I can't help but wonder: Are his eyes bigger than his stomach? hehe


stephanie :-)

29th Apr 2012 22:18 BSTGeorge Creighton

Hi just want to share this piccy with you all

Title is I think self explanatory


8th May 2012 14:44 BSTJohn Truax

It is Morel season again here in Minnesota, due to perfect weather conditions (wet and warm) it has been a bumper crop year. This first photo shows a large Morel around 10 inches tall.

8th May 2012 14:52 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi John,

10 inches high, thats a plate full in one mushroom. Yummy.


8th May 2012 14:55 BSTJohn Truax

Indeed! :-)

12th May 2012 03:40 BSTStephen Rose Expert

This is Hawaii's Kilauea, the main crater and the new, smoking and steaming internal crater. No lava flows to see unless from a helicopter, but impressive no matter. There is a location for sulfur crystals on the margin of this thing somewhere, but the park authorities have no sense of humor about collecting there. May, 2011. Photo by Teri Rose.

This is Kilauea Iki, a short distance from the main crater which is producing steam and smoke in the background. This one went nuts a few decades ago with some spectacular fireworks and has since built the lava dome seen in the left center. One can climb down and walk across the crater floor on the path visible at left center. In the front center is a small bulge that emits steam, evidence of a new dome forming, possibly. May, 2011. Photo by Teri Rose.



13th May 2012 19:57 BSTStephanie Martin

A red admiral butterfly from the recent early and record-breaking migration that swarmed through...

We were going to tear down this old shed this spring but I guess we will have to wait a bit longer to accommodate an unexpected tenant,

Mrs Robin.

14th May 2012 00:47 BSTPaul Brandes Manager

Wow John!! Pair those with a nice steak and an adult beverage and you've got Heaven on a plate!!!

Don't get those here in the tropics, that's for sure.......

14th May 2012 09:56 BSTAntonio Borrelli Expert

Wonderful topic!

Time to share some photos.

Flying over the "Mer de Glace". 2005

Walking on seracs. Stampflkees 2007.

Vizze Valley. Winter 2009.

15th May 2012 21:11 BSTStephen Rose Expert

This little fellow would not appreciate those beautiful, icy scenes that you posted, Antonio.

Seen at a small park on the southern Kona coast, Hawaii, a gold dust day gecko.

May, 2012. Photo by T. Rose



17th May 2012 03:54 BSTMark & Linda Mahlum

These guys thought they owned the mountain on a recent trip to the Ouray Fault. I wonder if they have an appreciation for the world class milky quartz crystals found there?

19th May 2012 23:15 BSTAntonio Borrelli Expert

Crickets :-)

21st May 2012 00:05 BSTStephen Rose Expert

A photo illustrating atmospheric perspective taken near sunset, May 18, 2012. At the CKR claim, Pershing County, Nevada. Wildlife seen: antelope doe with twins, a horned toad, various lizards, a brown scorpion (one of the best pocket indicators), a barn swallow twenty miles from the nearest barn and a hummingbird, probably a late migrator on it's way north. We found some pretty good quartz crystals, too.



25th May 2012 19:00 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Our garden is in a red phase. Centranthus ruber (Jupiter's Beard.) Parts are edible but we've never tried it.



26th May 2012 18:13 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

Armeria maritima and Viola tricolor with their beautiful flowers on the famous mineral locality Låven island, 20, May 2012.

29th May 2012 03:27 BSTDanny Jones Expert

Straw Flower in Wyoming, look for the bee

29th May 2012 03:35 BSTDanny Jones Expert

This golden mantle ground squirrel was a mucher of the first order and had no fear. His station was on one of the walk ways above Old Faithful.

5th Jun 2012 20:43 BSTTom Bennett

Saw this a few weeks back hunting for rocks ......

Lovely ruins ....

Too bad it has been so vandalized ....

12th Jun 2012 18:27 BSTStephen Rose Expert

These orange sulfur butterflies are sipping water from a damp boulder. All facing the same direction for some reason.

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, Hawaii, May, 2012



12th Jun 2012 18:51 BSTRob Woodside Manager

A couple are backwards. What direction was the wind and where was the sun?

12th Jun 2012 19:18 BSTW Laird Fowler

I agree with seeking the other pleasures with prospecting - working the dumps. here are a few of my favorite ohotos I took a few years back in Colorado San Juan district.


12th Jun 2012 19:32 BSTGlenn Rhein

Amazing pictures W Laird

12th Jun 2012 21:14 BSTStephen Rose Expert


The wind was naf; the spot was very sheltered. The sun was at about two o'clock relative to the photo and it was early afternoon.

You are right! There has to be a rebel or two in every group. :-)



12th Jun 2012 21:44 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Some photos from Norway

12th Jun 2012 22:38 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Thanks Steve, That's a cool photo. Possibly they were sunning while imbibibing. In the chrysalis the wings are all folded up and on hatching they tend to hang vertically to let their "blood" flow into the wings and expand them. Many species warm themselves with open wings perpendicular to the sun's

rays, but sulfurs and related species like to perch with closed wings like these.

Alessio, those are great photos. The second one reminds me of some of Bob Meyer's stacked micro photos!!! Do you know what the white plant is?

14th Jun 2012 20:46 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Hi Rob, i don't know exactly, i think maybe some particular lichen from the Hardangervidda national park. I know that the plant with black "fruit" with white "lichen", is a rare plant of Hardangervidda land, but i don't remember the name.

Tomorrow if i found the norwegian books i try to find the photo and name of Hardangervidda flora.

Here you can see the big photo

15th Jun 2012 11:59 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

It's right that the white is a lichen, and it's of the family Cladonia, subfamily Cladina.

The plant with the black berries is Empetrum nigrum called "Krekling" in norwegian.


15th Jun 2012 13:30 BSTAntonio Borrelli Expert

Two shots of Mt Kilimanjaro on my way back from Madagascar.

15th Jun 2012 17:44 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Thanks Alessio and Peter. :)-D

15th Jun 2012 20:51 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Thank you so much Peter because on my norwegian books i don't find information (tu)

15th Jun 2012 21:56 BSTPeter Andresen Expert

No problem, Alessio!

And next time you are planing a trip to Norway, send me a mail! :-)


16th Jun 2012 05:33 BSTJonathan Woolley

Black-throated green warbler from our backyard. He was slightly stunned from flying into the window near the feeder, but recovered nicely and flew off a few minutes later. My wife snapped a few photos after she rescued him. :)

16th Jun 2012 14:31 BSTFred E. Davis

Jonathan - Check the bushes near the feeder; I'll bet there are two more hiding there! ;-)

16th Jun 2012 18:59 BSTJonathan Woolley

Fred, unfortunately they don't nest here in Texas. He was just passing through on his way north a few months ago. Maybe we'll see him again in a few months on his return trip.

16th Jun 2012 22:41 BSTFred E. Davis

Oh well, that just disproves the old adage: A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

17th Jun 2012 01:59 BSTJonathan Woolley

Got it now, Fred! Very funny, and sorry that I completely missed the joke first time around... :-D

1st Jul 2012 20:48 BSTAlessio Piccioni

A very very little caterpillar:-)

20th Jul 2012 23:35 BSTNorbert Fuchs


bei einer Wanderung hab ich diesen Pilz mit "Nationalstolz" entdeckt.;-)

Er zeigt sich in den deutschen Landesfarben Schwarz-Rot-Gold

21st Jul 2012 08:27 BSTAntonio Gamboni Expert

View of the granitic rocks of the island of Caprera, in this area there are numerous pegmatitic cavities. Cala Coticcio, Caprera Island, La Maddalena National Park, Sardinia, Italy - photo Antonio Gamboni.

21st Jul 2012 09:41 BSTNorbert Fuchs

Dann gibt es bestimmt auch viele interessante Mineralien in diesen Pegmatiten?

21st Jul 2012 10:08 BSTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Lieber Norbert fanden wir so viele interessante Mineralien, besonders große Kristalle von Rauchquarz:

21st Jul 2012 10:23 BSTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Norbert Fuchs Wrote:


> Hallo,


> bei einer Wanderung hab ich diesen Pilz mit

> "Nationalstolz" entdeckt.;-)

> Er zeigt sich in den deutschen Landesfarben

> Schwarz-Rot-Gold

Norbert, sehr interessant Ihr Pilz, Ich fand ein Mineral mit den italienischen Nationalfarben: :)-D

22nd Jul 2012 17:05 BSTNorbert Fuchs

Sehr gut,danke für`s zeigen.(tu)

5th Aug 2012 10:27 BSTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Muscicapa striata (Pallas 1764) - in Italian: "pigliamosche" (flycatcher) - photographed by me on the terrace of the house.

5th Aug 2012 14:35 BSTGeorg Graf

Hi Antonio,

hungry, eh!? Thx for posting!

Best wishes, Georg

5th Aug 2012 18:56 BSTAntonio Gamboni Expert


Georg Graf Wrote:


> Hi Antonio,


> hungry, eh!? Thx for posting!


> Best wishes, Georg

6th Aug 2012 13:19 BSTRoger Curry

Hi all,

Myself & Heath Barnes saw this moorland sheep in upper Teesdale yesterday whilst on a field trip. I videoed the tornado, but I won't put a link to youtube here, as bad language is used (not towards the sheep or Heath). Should anyone with a thick skin wish to see the unusual UK tornado "roping out," go to youtube and enter teesdale tornado. Hit mute.... I'm sorry, I was excited.

Heath has a better camera than me, hopefully he'll show you some of his images of the tornado on this thread. The fascinating details of our field trip will, no doubt, be the subject of a future new thread from Heath.



6th Aug 2012 23:09 BSTMichael Wood

Nice one Rog

7th Aug 2012 12:33 BSTMichael Otto

A housecat about to make a big mistake!

7th Aug 2012 13:48 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Michael - what was the outcome? Did Kitty live to prowl another day?

9th Aug 2012 16:20 BSTMichael Otto

Maggie Wilson Wrote:


> Michael - what was the outcome? Did Kitty live to

> prowl another day?

Maggie-Happy ending for all. After much loud clucking by mamma turkey, the cat thought better of it and turned tail towards the woods. A little hard to see in photo, but upper left is cat departing in defeat.

9th Aug 2012 18:47 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Since we're doing cats again, ......

Cleveland, enjoying a grass break.



9th Aug 2012 19:30 BSTGeorge Creighton

Taken in the Sandnes arboretum 2011 ( rogaland in south west norway ) loads of nature trails.

Pink waterlilly in full bloom.


9th Aug 2012 21:15 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Flora and fauna from Schwarzwald......Black Forest

9th Aug 2012 21:18 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Last from Schwarzwald....Black Forest

9th Aug 2012 21:50 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Michael Otto Wrote:

> Maggie-Happy ending for all. After much loud

> clucking by mamma turkey, the cat thought better

> of it and turned tail towards the woods. A little

> hard to see in photo, but upper left is cat

> departing in defeat.

LOL - I recognize that feline posture - it might look like defeat to you and me, but kitty is desperately trying to appear disdainful of the flock and any interest we might THINK kitty has is purely our imagination!

9th Aug 2012 22:43 BSTStephen C. Blyskal Expert

I was in a caliche quarry in South Texas, down near George West, hunting petrified wood and agate. I started digging in the wall of the quarry to see what I could uncover. No good petrified wood, just this skink who was hibernating in a cavity in the rocks when I uncovered him. I posed him in a variety of positions before he warmed up enough to dash off.

14th Aug 2012 19:48 BSTBob Harman

Bull frog in a pool, Atlanta Georgia, June 2012. If you are a very lucky young maiden, kissing this specimen might just turn him into your handsome young prince !!!!! CHEERS.........BOB

15th Aug 2012 23:49 BSTGlenn Rhein

My grandson found this little pink caterpillar in the yard.

19th Aug 2012 22:57 BSTDean Allum Expert

This one is actually a test as to whether we can keep your opinions to ourselves.

20th Aug 2012 17:37 BSTRob Woodside Manager

What beautiful irony!!!

21st Aug 2012 16:40 BSTBoris Erjavc


here is just a smal part of creatures that have crossed my way( and I had a camera with me ).



21st Aug 2012 16:54 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Lovely slide show Boris, Thanks!!!

21st Aug 2012 19:10 BSTBob Harman

Several weeks ago, while driving, I heard a slight thud against the grill of my car. After the short trip I investigated and found these 2 insects just as is....still attached to the grill. There is a CICADA KILLER WASP still attached to her CICADA victim. The Cicada Killer Wasp is the largest wasp in the US. It is a solitary ground dwelling wasp which stings and paralyzes cicadas (usually the 2 year variety) then flies with them back to her underground nest where she lays eggs on them. The wasp larvae feed on the paralyzed cicada until they grow and molt into the adult wasps. The most amazing part of all this, is that the cicadas weight about twice as much as the wasps yet the wasp still manages to fly with its prey for considerable distances back to the underground nest. CHEERS........BOB

21st Aug 2012 20:01 BSTMike Royal


the wasp you show is not so solitary as they say last year one made a nest alongside one of my water features in the yard i thought it was neat and it didn't bother us but this year a hole heard have showed up and made a nest in my back stoop Ive been swatting the darn things out of the sky with a tennis racket seams their immune to most pesticides and get aggressive when you invade there territory ( my back door) so far Ive killed 7 from the same hole and still more are going in and out bet i look funny to passersby with my tennis racket chasing them around everyday lol


21st Aug 2012 20:28 BSTBob Harman

MIKE There are several species and subspecies of cicada killers in the US. According to Wikipedia and my old college entomology book, true cicada killers are solitary (altho several can have nests in a rather small general area). Several other ground dwelling species are often confused with the cicada killer species. These other wasps may be communal. Check all this out by googling them. CHEERS............BOB

7th Sep 2012 01:50 BSTAdam Berluti

Yellow Orbweb Spider

Yellow Orbweb Spider

Monarch Butterfly

7th Sep 2012 01:52 BSTWayne Corwin

OK Everyone, , , , here's a bug like nothing i've ever seen before (except in a Si-Fi movie)

Anyone got a guess on it? I found it on the rim of one of my rock buckets, it's about 2 cm long,

seems to hold on by some suction or sticky underside, doesn't move much when poked, I found

this here in the North East US.

Top overall photo

Head from underside (at least I think it's the head)

Bottom overall photo

Any one with bug powers?

Wayne Corwin

7th Sep 2012 02:15 BSTLinda Smith


It looks like one of the Pre-Cambrian fossils of the Burgess Shale! Don't have a clue what it is. Really strange and cool at the same time. No spiders for me, guys.

7th Sep 2012 02:31 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Hi Wayne,

Google images Green Crowned Slug Caterpillar looks like your critter. Interesting but think you can keep him.


7th Sep 2012 03:02 BSTWayne Corwin

Thanks Cliff

Thats it exactally.


7th Sep 2012 03:06 BSTStephanie Martin

Wayne, that thing looks cool as a cucumber! I'm still admiring the fashionably pink one that Glenn posted above.

Thanks all for posting great stuff!


stephanie :-)

7th Sep 2012 04:22 BSTBradley Plotkin

Humpback whale off Cape Cod. - Regards - Brad.

13th Sep 2012 18:31 BSTGeorg Graf

Hi All,

attached a Red Admiral and a Little Fox, seen some days ago in the Harz Mountains, Lower Saxony, Germany, approx. 600 m asl. (Interessting: 30 years ago at the same place were observed Little Fox and Peacock Butterfly. Maybe a result of global warming.)

All the Best! Georg

13th Sep 2012 21:49 BSTKrista R

The butterfly you have photographed isn't a Monarch.

18th Sep 2012 04:55 BSTBob Harman

Brad P, The picture of the gulls and Humpback whale that you posted may have more to it than you realize. Along the California coast, aggressive gulls have learned to repeatedly peck on areas of the whale's skin eventually causing open sores. Then they feed on the whale flesh each time the whale surfaces for air. The whales then try to stay submerged longer and eventually become weakened and tired out with skin infections. Not sure if this is happening along the East Coast. CHEERS.........BOB

22nd Sep 2012 06:23 BSTFred A. Schuster

Here is a Nymphalia antiopas, Mourning Cloak Butterfly which came to an untimely end. It flew into my hand in the woods in St Lawrence CO NY.

The scales make amazing patterns on their wings. Up close looks like a Chinese painting. The First close up it looks like Mothman. Then the ends of the antennae. Then the whole butterfly.

2nd Oct 2012 06:32 BSTFred A. Schuster


Great idea for a thread. Mineral lovers usually like nature in all its diversity. Gods creation is beautiful. Here is a larva. Any one know the species

I dont


3rd Oct 2012 03:09 BSTFred A. Schuster

I met this Jump spider habronattus (sp) in Richville NY. I like her eyes.

4th Oct 2012 21:38 BSTDavid Zimmerman (2)

HI Bob,

Yeah, gulls are nasty birds. In WI, the monsters used to try and jump on salmon that were trying to spawn and the first thing they would peck at were the eyeballs. Most of these salmon were very tired from swimming up the rivers, so with no eyeballs left they would usually die right there on the sandbar. Since I've got no picture of that, I'll post a nice lizard seen in CO and two nice pictures of the Double O Arch in Arches National Monument. Two hikers standing in the lower arch for scale. What a great place to go to.

7th Oct 2012 02:24 BSTMIchael Sharpe

This adult female spent four days this week on my screen outside my house.

7th Oct 2012 03:07 BSTModris Baum Expert

That reminds me of the time - many years ago - when a mantis somehow managed to lay her eggs in my car.

When they hatched, it seemed like there were a million little mantises running about.

I evicted them as gently as i could. But I wasn't about to catch bugs for them so I don't how they fared.

We certainly weren't overrun by mantises that year.

7th Oct 2012 03:54 BSTSteve Stuart Expert

Praying mantis in Tangier, Morocco. Random shot while visiting the city on vacation a few weeks ago. Did buy some minerals in Spain and Morocco during the trip.


7th Oct 2012 13:18 BSTLarry Maltby Expert

I helped this one up onto the petoskey stone but the pose was his idea.


7th Oct 2012 18:37 BSTPaul Brandes Manager

I do hope that model was adequately compensated for their work, Larry?? :-D

8th Oct 2012 00:31 BSTAnonymous User

This one started out on the hood of my truck and ended up on my head.

8th Oct 2012 18:35 BSTFred E. Davis

It was a cool day, so the subjects were moving more slowly. A monarch butterfly-to-be:

and an unidentified beetle:

8th Oct 2012 18:53 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Hi Fred - I don't know the second beetle, but there are hundreds warming themselves on the south-facing wall of our house!

8th Oct 2012 19:40 BSTFred E. Davis

Hi Maggie! The closest match I could find is "boxelder beetle" or "boxelder bug" (Boisea trivittata).

Update: Aha! A better match is the "milkweed bug." Look here near the bottom of the page.

8th Oct 2012 19:54 BSTRob Woodside Manager

As a Kid I used to find them on milkweed while searching for Monarch caterpillers.

8th Oct 2012 19:56 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

and an update from me: I've just found where they are getting into the house! Call the exterminator! Hey Reiner!!!!

11th Oct 2012 02:12 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Here's one of my favorite critters.I found this Tree Frog in my back yard and finally got him to pose for me.


20th Oct 2012 17:46 BSTStephen Rose Expert

This fellow showed up in a willow tree next door this morning. He didn't seem to mind Teri taking pictures, or the northern harrier perched on a branch a few feet away. When he finally flew the hawk followed, just making sure that the owl knew who's territory was who's.



21st Oct 2012 22:45 BSTDean Allum Expert

I hate these small cactus trees; they bite!

Bristlecone Pine trees thrive in arid rocky wind-swept environs where there is little competition. Their slow growth makes their wood very dense. Typically, only 10% of the mass of the tree is still alive. Thus, they survive for thousands of years.

22nd Oct 2012 02:17 BSTDavid Weiss

Here's another mushroom pic.

22nd Oct 2012 12:32 BSTUwe Ludwig

I always look on the pictures of this thread with pleasure. Therefore, I would like to add some pictures of dragonflys because photography fo natural objects is one of my side hobbies.

Uwe Ludwig

22nd Oct 2012 12:34 BSTUwe Ludwig

Some more dragonflys.

Uwe Ludwig

22nd Oct 2012 13:04 BSTLarry Maltby Expert

View from the kitchen window.


22nd Oct 2012 14:57 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Hi Uwe and Larry,

Nice nature photos. I too like nature photos.My yard always has plenty of dragonflies in the Summer. Here is one I got

sitting on his hunting spot.Like the color,don't know the technical name though. Enjoy.


23rd Oct 2012 02:14 BSTAndrew Brodeur

I found this guy fishing when I went to the Dinosaur Tracks On Rt5 in Holyoke MA

23rd Oct 2012 17:33 BSTWayne Corwin

It's amazing how many diffrent shapes and colors Dragonfly's come in.

There amazing flying skills always fascinated me :-D


25th Oct 2012 12:15 BSTUwe Ludwig

Mycel of a mushroom grown up on a piece of wood on the floor of the old Persival mine below the old city of Schneeberg/Erzgebirge.

Uwe Ludwig

25th Oct 2012 22:19 BSTRock Currier Expert

Looks like lightning!

13th Nov 2012 14:02 GMTJason Evans

OK, wildlife is another of my interests and I have lots of wildlife photos so I have been looking through my best ones to share here, although I am interested in all flora and fauna my primary interest is in the field of Herpetology (reptiles and amphibians) so I have more photos of them than other subjects. So if you have a fear of snakes, be warned!

In the UK we only have 6 native reptiles, all of which are protected to some degree, Only one of the 3 native snakes is venomous, Vipera berus (Adder, Northern viper, and several other names!) as I said they are all protected from intentional killing and collecting for trade (although it is legal to collect them for your self to keep as a pet, if your into taking animals from the wild for your own enjoyment that is!). 2 of the reptiles are very rare in the UK and so are offered higher levels of protection, those are the Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) and the Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) with these it is illegal to kill, collect (wherever for trade or for yourself) and also habitat disturbance. The reason for their rarity is due to the loss of their habitat which is primarily heathland. I am lucky enough to live in one of the 4 counties the Smooth snake can be found (Hampshire, Dorset, West Sussex and Surrey) The Sand lizard is also found in these counties but there is also a colony in the dunes of the Wirral area. There have been reintroduction projects in Devon with the Smooth snake and I think these have gone fairly well.

As i conduct field surveys, data gathering for the Amphibian and reptile conservation trust I hold a licence which permits me to study all reptiles including those 2 rare ones without risk of prosecution, one of the conditions of the licence is that any photography or disturbance is for educational purpose, i.e. i cant just capture one and take photos of it just for my own entertainment. So I hope you enjoy the photos, and that you find them educational!

I shall start of with one of those rare ones, a male sand lizard in full breeding colours, certainly our most striking looking native reptile when its in its breeding colours. This stunning fella was found in Dorset.

13th Nov 2012 14:24 GMTJason Evans

And here is a male and female sand lizard, the female being the duller brown one, they are in love! This is the first and only time I have observed courtship behaviour with sand lizards, i was incredibly lucky to observe them, and of course i did not disturb them, I viewed from a distance and slowly backed away once I had a few snaps and let them get on with it!

13th Nov 2012 14:26 GMTJason Evans

Just one more of the lovely sand lizard couple!

16th Nov 2012 19:07 GMTJay Buscio

Our cat the frog whisperer.

17th Nov 2012 17:29 GMTUwe Ludwig

On the territory of our village lives a white roe which was born this summer. This morning I saw it the first time on a slope opposite of our sleeping room window. I caught it by the telephoto lens. Unfortunately the light was a little bit poor.

Uwe Ludwig

17th Nov 2012 20:55 GMTAlessio Piccioni

This summer in Black Forest at Triberg waterfalls

17th Nov 2012 23:29 GMTCraig Mercer

Beautiful images :-)

18th Nov 2012 01:27 GMTJason Evans

Here are some fungi

This alien looking fungi is Clathrus archeri (Octopus stinkhorn/Devils fingers) is actually an alien! It is native to Australia and Tazmania but has been introduced into Europe, This colony is in the New Forest. In the photo you can see it emerging from its egg, it exudes a foul smelling slime.

In a twist of fate a related fungi, Clathrus ruber, native to Europe has been introduced to Australia, as well as Asia, Africa and North & South America.

This one is a Earth star I am unsure of the exact species so I will just call it Geastrum sp Earth stars are not to common here so Its nice to have some in the local cemetery.

And here is some nice dog vomit slime mould! (Fuligo septica)

18th Nov 2012 17:40 GMTDean Allum Expert


Beautiful images :-) Thanks!

18th Nov 2012 20:04 GMTJason Evans

There's more to come. I'm just uploading 3 per day as i do not want to overload people with my photos!

24th Nov 2012 21:12 GMTDermot Walsh

we all live in a yellow submarine..Christmas is Coming and we wish you All the very Best



25th Nov 2012 22:59 GMTCraig Mercer

This guy just started to open this morning :-) It truly is amazing to watch them firstly crack open, but then they twist and contort the lid and lip until it's finished and ready to consume things, big things too, like frogs and even small bird. I will post another photo when it's complete.

30th Nov 2012 03:54 GMTGreg Dainty

This kookaburra and crow are a couple of recent releases from our home for sick animals. Both came from our farm and both had been bitten by paralyses ticks. Thankfully both recovered.

I have included a pic of the crows snowy white underfeathers , because most people are not aware they have them.

Looking after sick birds is often quiet disappointing, as many birds suffer badly from shock, and do not survive.

These two species on the other hand are amongst the most resilient of birds, particularly the kookaburras. .......Greg

30th Nov 2012 04:39 GMTCraig Mercer

What an awesome thing to be involved in Greg. That truly is a great story, and the white underfeathers on the crow have blown us all away.

Cheers mate,


1st Jan 2013 23:41 GMTAnonymous User

For the new year, I found this little guy trying to cross a paved highway here in FL and just had to rescue him. I always seem to find these as I'm riding the bike and quite unprepared to deal with them.

2nd Jan 2013 03:24 GMTJim Robison


You probably know this already, but you need to be especially careful with the little guys. More mature rattlers have learned to control their venom release (may even give a 'dry' bite at times). The small ones, not having that control, typically release their entire venom load, Good catch and pic in any event..


2nd Jan 2013 11:32 GMTUwe Ludwig

Since springtime last year there are two white roes in the woods around our village. Sometime I see them in the early morning on the hillside opposite of my bathroom window. The picture is a little bit poor but it was in the dawn and I had to use my telephoto lens.

Uwe Ludwig

2nd Jan 2013 13:10 GMTAnonymous User


I was very careful. I carried him home in a coffe cup (with lid).

2nd Jan 2013 15:30 GMTPaul Van hee (2)

When I visited november 2003 Mike an Eleanor Phegan of the Dundas extended mine and got the proposal of visiting the adit the first question Eleanor asked me was:"Are you afraid of spiders?"

It was indeed quite impressive. About 5 spiders, all 8 to 10 cm in size, hanging around just behind the entrance of the adit, guarding the entrance of the adit of the mine and their eggs.

Impossible to get into the adit without passing close to them.


2nd Jan 2013 18:15 GMTGeorg Graf

Hi Paul,

are these spiders dangerous for man? (Many people in Germany are in fear of spiders (e. g. I, when I was young). But in Germany occur no dangerous spiders.)


3rd Jan 2013 21:04 GMTPaul Van hee (2)

Hi Georg,

I have no idea but we made sure not to disturb them which is the best way to do if you'r not sure.

It is so that near the entrance they probably would be able to catch their food.


6th Jan 2013 12:00 GMTUwe Ludwig

Hi Georg,

you wrote that there are no dangerous spiders in Germany. That however, is not correct. We have the spider Cheiracanthium punctorium, rare but existing.

My wife was picking up herbs to feed their rabbit. Suddenly they got a sting in their finger. At first they thought it was a wesp. They put the finger in their mouth to suck off the venom. However, the tongue got a blue spot and felt paralysed for 1 hour. Later we checked the cicumstances and found out it was a spider named "Dornfinger" in German. In the south of Europe where these spiders are bigger a bit can cause serious problems.

Uwe Ludwig

6th Jan 2013 15:12 GMTDavid Baldwin

I'm a bit of a sucker when it comes to reptiles and just have to bring them home to show the kids (always returning them to where I found them shortly afterwards). Here's a few of my local residents that I found whilst out collecting.

3rd Feb 2013 17:51 GMTStephen Rose Expert

It is February, and a bit chilly in NW Nevada, but we found a fair day to do some collecting in Pershing County. We found some nice quartz crystals along with these fellows as they enjoyed sparse grazing on the sunny side of a canyon. You should all have such a pleasant day!

As they decided that we might be a threat they crested the ridge and disappeared. I counted 24.

And on the way out, the sun setting on the Humboldt Range.



9th Feb 2013 15:33 GMTFred E. Davis

A couple of New England (Connecticut) winter photos. The first is frost on the window in late January when it was 4 deg F (-15 deg C).

The second is out the dining room window this morning (9 Feb 2013) looking at the rhododendron decorated by a 3 foot (91 cm) snowfall combined with 60 mph (96 km/hr) wind gusts.

Update: It has been reported that my home town of Hamden recorded the greatest amount of snow in the Northeast from storm Nemo: 40 inches.

11th Feb 2013 08:36 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Paul, those Tasmanian cave spiders (or are these ones "mine spiders"!) are cool. Had to duck quite a few times to avoid them.

Came across these feelthy aanimals on Saturday at a place called Yapeen in Victoria. The next door paddock has a mullock heap on it.



14th Feb 2013 14:09 GMTBob Harman

Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska June 1, 2011. This glacier, like most Alaskan glaciers, is receding. It is easily visited with an interpretive center right near by. The dark blue areas, so I believe, are due to the ice being very compressed by long standing pressure as the glacier "moved" slowly down the mountain nearing its face which then calves off into the bay. If this is so, I have several questions. Does an exactly equal amount of this ice weigh a bit more than ordinary ice cube ice? If "yes", than I suppose that this ice would float a bit lower in surrounding water than ordinary ice cube ice? And if 2 exactly equally measured cubes of this glacial ice and ordinary cube ice are melted into 2 equal glasses, I assume there would be a bit more glacial ice in that glass? BTW disregard all included sediments etc. Are my assumptions correct? CHEERS............BOB

28th Feb 2013 23:07 GMTStephen Rose Expert

These fellows are not common here in Northern Nevada but a few seem to show up about this time of year. Maybe they think that it is spring as it is mid-60s and sunny. Cedar waxwing in sand plumb above birdbath.

1st Mar 2013 04:08 GMTAdam Berluti

Bald Eagle and Osprey which I photographed earlier this year.

1st Mar 2013 07:32 GMTUwe Ludwig

Hi Stephen,

this birds (bombycilla garrulus) are birds of the northern areas. Presently we have such an invasion also here in Germany. These birds are fruit eater and in their northern areas beeries became rare. Therefore they come to the south where these beeries still available.

Nice picture!

Uwe Ludwig

1st Mar 2013 16:33 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Thanks, Uwe. The picture was taken by my wife, Teri, from the window of our favorite sitting room. We keep water outside all year long to attract birds to the viewing area.

I think the waxwings are attracted by the few fruits left on a number of decorative pear trees in our yard. Robins, quail and jays get most of them over the winter, but there are always a few left for gleaning at this time of year.



20th Mar 2013 14:40 GMTFred E. Davis

A mystery visitor left tracks in the snow/sleet that fell on Monday. It had mostly melted away on Tuesday leaving the parts that were compacted. I suspect it was a squirrel (although a variety of other small mammals are known to frequent the back yard, like rabbit). Distance between the "islands" is 5 ~ 6 inches (13 ~ 16 cm).

23rd Mar 2013 22:57 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Been going through some older photos and came across this one taken while looking for gold in Sunday Creek, Corinna, Tasmania, in 2004...



4th Apr 2013 04:28 BSTAdam Berluti

Some photos of the recent view of the comet Pan-Starrs

Photo taken March 15th with a Cannon EOS Rebel 58mm telephoto on a tripod

18th May 2013 01:22 BSTBob Harman

The luna moth..........Actias seen under the eave of my garage about 15 minutes ago. This is one of the largest Saturniid moths in North America with a wing span of 4.5" - 6" . While common in most of Eastern Canada and the US, adults are not often seen as their camouflage pale green color is great. The larva feed while the adult, as seen here, has no mouth, living only about 1 week and only to lay eggs for the next generation.CHEERS...........BOB

20th May 2013 16:28 BSTJohn Truax

We have been seeing this pretty girl around for several years. Looks as if she is taking a break from her demanding family.

21st May 2013 14:02 BSTVincent Rigatti

Winter is still clinging on in the Colorado high country. This charming gray Jay (aka Camp Robber) stopped by for a visit last week at our cabin near Alma Colorado at 11,100 ft. After a dry winter we finally started getting snow starting March and it hasn't stopped. State snowpack now near normal which is great going into fire season.

21st May 2013 17:25 BSTJake Harper Expert

Was cleaning a batch of grimy Los Lamentos wulfenites when I discovered this little fellow!

22nd May 2013 17:13 BSTStephen Rose Expert

John, we have an all-white cat that wants to meet your squirrel.

We were out 'birding' in the Sierras west of Reno over the weekend and saw these in several areas. Snow plant, Sarcodes sanguinea.



22nd May 2013 17:33 BSTJonathan Woolley

We found this little female warbler (I think a yellowthroat warbler) dazed and frightened outside a storefront during a major thunderstorm a few weeks ago while the spring migrants were traveling through Texas. She rode home with us and recovered enough on the way to fly off from our backyard.

25th May 2013 14:30 BSTSteve Sorrell Expert

The Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is a New Zealand honeyeater and has a lovely call. And very easy to identify with its tuft of white feathers on its throat. I was fortunate to capture this shot when we stayed at Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand, on a recent holiday.



1st Jun 2013 22:24 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Continuing the birding theme,

bank swallows nesting, Stillwater Wildlive Refuge, near Fallon, Nevada.

and tri-colored blackbirds, south of Minden, Nevada. According to my birdwatching friend, this is the only known colony of these birds east of the Sierras. They were nesting in the same swampy area as the more common yellow headed blackbirds. They seemed to get along fairly well.

7th Jun 2013 18:55 BSTJohn Truax

This fellow was posing and calling out for a mate and he did it with gusto!

Yellow-headed Blackbird

18th Jun 2013 01:32 BSTDermot Walsh

hard at work bee


22nd Jun 2013 02:24 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Black Crowned Night Heron, West margin of Smoke Creek Desert, Northern Washoe County, Nevada 06-20-13 Photo by T. Rose

Any permanent source of water in this arid area will attract numerous birds and animals.

22nd Jun 2013 13:00 BSTFred E. Davis

Stephen Rose Wrote:


> <...>


> Any permanent source of water in this arid area

> will attract numerous birds and animals.

... and photographers! Nice shot!

23rd Jun 2013 00:23 BSTBob Harman

GREAT BLUE HERON as seen on Monroe Lake 6/18/13. CHEERS.........BOB

23rd Jun 2013 09:17 BSTSteve Sorrell Expert

Visited the Parwan Lava Cave (type locality for parwanite) today and saw a couple of these frogs underground...

Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis).



1st Jul 2013 01:04 BSTDean Allum Expert

There are many sides of nature. While lightening has historically caused limited wildfires in the American West, mankind has extinguished these over the past century. The end result is more massive blazes when they now occur.

But we always see regrowth after a destructive phase.

3rd Jul 2013 12:42 BSTBob Harman

Cobwebs liberally sprinkled with fine dewdrops after a warm humid Indiana summer night. Note the associated Indiana field and stream geode decorating my yard. CHEERS........BOB

4th Jul 2013 01:48 BSTvictor rzonca

Moss on Dolostone.

6th Jul 2013 12:20 BSTvictor rzonca

I recently down loaded an image to the Nature thread and I see it is posted as an attatchment to open/download, while other entries on the thead have the image as part of the opened post. I'm kind of an inner-tube idiot. What am I doing wrong? And while I'm at this, is there an easy way to resize my images for posting. Working with a Mac, image browser and Lightroom, there has to be an easier way. I post often on Jordi Fabre's forum and I think I've been spoiled by the system he uses for posting images. I can hardly figure out Face-box or My tube or whatever, and I do enjoy this site so any help to make my posts better will be welcome.

6th Jul 2013 12:43 BSTDavid Von Bargen Manager

After the attachment (in the gray area above the message entry area, there is a button after the attachment "Create Link in Message". After you position the cursor to where in the message you want the photo to appear, click on that button.

6th Jul 2013 12:43 BSTDebbie Woolf Manager

Hello Victor

Click the edit button on your post, if you have placed a photo in that post you should see a box that says 'create link in message' click this & it will work. Just make sure the cursor is in the right position where you want the photo otherwise the photo may end up between sentences ;-)

Posted at same time.

6th Jul 2013 13:40 BSTvictor rzonca

That was easy, thanks folks.

Cheers from the digital dummy.

6th Jul 2013 20:32 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Back to the original name of the thread.



6th Jul 2013 20:42 BSTDebbie Woolf Manager

Thanks Paul, I missed that !

6th Jul 2013 20:47 BSTAlessio Piccioni

June 2013 Norway

This year my father was very lucky to see more animals

6th Jul 2013 20:51 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Father,mother and kids:-D

6th Jul 2013 20:57 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Last photos of flora

9th Jul 2013 02:37 BSTJonathan Woolley

Last weekend we had the pleasure of being taken to see a spectacular rookery of roseate spoonbills, egrets, and anhingas with hundreds of birds nesting in two huge cypress trees growing in an abandonded meander loop. Here are some of the better photos I managed with our little point-and-shoot. I hope fellow mindat member Steve Blyskal (who was kind enough to take us there) can share some of his better photos soon!

9th Jul 2013 02:41 BSTJonathan Woolley

One more of a Roseate Spoonbill nest with fledglings.

9th Jul 2013 18:29 BSTStephen C. Blyskal Expert

On a field trip to South Texas a few years ago we were in a gravel pit collecting petrified wood. Digging in the wall of the pit exposed this skink, who was so cold he couldn't move at all. Normally they are so fast you're lucky to get a shot of them. I posed him on the gravel for this shot! :-)

9th Jul 2013 18:46 BSTStephen C. Blyskal Expert

In 2012 our friends in the Austin Gem and Mineral Society (Paul Bordovsky and Al Cherepon) took us hunting for minerals and petrified wood in Karnes Co. after I gave a talk at the AGMS meeting the night before. The cow was on the Bordovsky ranch where we were hunting petrified wood, and the Horse and wildflowers were near the reclaimed uranium pit where we were looking for minerals in the concretions.

18th Jul 2013 03:23 BSTDermot Walsh



18th Jul 2013 23:16 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Honey bee on lavender. Photo by Teri Rose

I have always been fond of these industrious creatures in spite of the many stings received while helping my father with the hives he kept all his life.

19th Jul 2013 20:30 BSTJyrki Autio

Round-leaved sundew is thriwing in Riutta uranium prospect. "Atomilouhos" Eno, Finland.

6th Aug 2013 00:09 BSTStephanie Martin

Last week we suffered a violent wind storm with considerable damage from winds in excess of 100 kph. That was twice within 8 days. (South Central Ontario). We lost of lot of mature trees in our neighbourhood. As a result the birds and other creatures have had to find new homes. We lost our shady walnut tree which often was the source of much cicada buzzing. I have not heard any cicadas since the second storm. But I did find this guy under my pine tree that did survive. Probably dying, as it was very tolerant of my photo session and obliged my indulgence.

I believe this is a Tibicen canicularis but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. It is known colloquially as the dogday harvestfly. This is referred to as the annual cicada, as they are seen every year. Although their life cycle is actually 4 years, they are seen yearly due to overlapping generations.

including wings, measured 5 cm


stephanie :-)

6th Aug 2013 02:13 BSTDave Owen

I was exploring a hillside in the Santa Ritas south of Tucson last week I climbed a small dump and noticed it had a small shaft which I was on my way to check out when a very loud snarling, hissing noise came out of the small pit. Curious as I was as to what kind of critter it might be I decided to let it have it's space.Don't think it was a mountain lion too high a voice but perhaps some sort of small cat. Another one that got away (photographically) was in the back of a tunnel in the Dragoon Mountains. I was exploring a tunnel and had reached the end when I spied a rubber hose of some sort laying at the back of the tunnel. Then I noticed the rubber hose had eyes and it was looking at me. Turned out to be a rather large rattler. Being winter he was slugish and didn't even curl up of rattle.

13th Aug 2013 18:20 BSTGeorge Creighton

A yellow birds nest plant found today whilst picking wild blueberries.


15th Aug 2013 02:48 BSTTony Charlton

i am fond of "shrooms" and have looked for tan oak and chantriil in NW Cal. meny times in the past, and hopefuly in the futer.

found these two majic shrooms (they never spoil) in a differant envirerment, the black hills, north of Tucson.:-D
one has a full cap while the other had a bite out of its cap. the whole cap makes a good "bulls eye"

16th Aug 2013 03:19 BSTTony Charlton

well i gues the proof is in the pudding. so i wanted to show the fruits of a good day 'SHROOM" hunting in the Weaverville, California area in December 2007. a picture of (l2r) Aaron Brooks, John Dolman, and Me. the tan oak was not as plentiful as the chantrell were, but we did get quite a few of both types.:-D

the next two are pics of chantrells in the wild with the forest duff removed. the first is about 10 inchs across, the knife in the second is an 8 inch open.

just a hint -- make two identical pizzas then grate a diferant 'shroom on each. the diferance will shock and delite you

1st Sep 2013 02:03 BSTJessica Guichard

This is part of a shrub or vine on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA. I thought it looked like the head of a seahorse.

5th Sep 2013 01:46 BSTMatthew Kimball

Here is a picture of a beautiful but dangerous copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) we spotted last weekend while collecting drusy quartz at a road cut in Meriden, CT. Luckily we spotted it before anyone got bit! We managed to safely move it across the street and out of our way. The snake was about 2 feet long.


5th Sep 2013 16:01 BSTGeoff Van Horn Expert

I'm always taking pictures while gold prospecting. This last trip to Purches Creek in Alaska was right during the salmon spawn and the hieght of blueberry season. FYI, Purches Creek is NOT on the anadromous waters list.

15th Oct 2013 17:35 BSTStephen Rose Expert

We spent four days digging in the Northern White Mountains (Mineral/Esmeralda counties, Nevada) last week. Fall color in Queen Canyon was prime.



15th Oct 2013 19:05 BSTRobert Joynes

Australian bustard while looking for quartz crystals on the Duncan Road, western Northern Territory

Jabiru in the Northern Territory.

Zebra finches at a windmill in the desert of the Northern Territory

15th Oct 2013 19:15 BSTRobert Joynes

A 14 ft croc on the bank of the Keep River, Northern Territory

Carlton Gorge, below Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, Western Australia.

Marella Gorge on the Nicholson River, East Kimberley Region, Western Australia.

27th Oct 2013 15:29 GMTWaterDog

Our first attempt at growing glass gem corn yielded a few gem stones. :-D

27th Oct 2013 19:04 GMTDanny Jones Expert

Sunset over Columbia River in Oregon

27th Oct 2013 19:19 GMTStephanie Martin

@Waterdog - it's corny, but I like it!

Danny - looks blissful, thanks for the serene moment.

Nice and interesting photos everyone! Always a pleasure to view this thread.


Stephanie :-)

28th Oct 2013 00:23 GMTDoug Daniels

Another book, waiting to be published.....

28th Oct 2013 11:10 GMTSteve Sorrell Expert

Not seen on a field trip, but right next to where I split rocks in our back yard!

Blackbird chicks...



28th Oct 2013 13:29 GMTJohn Truax

Carnelian agate & mushrooms.

3rd Nov 2013 03:02 GMTDanny Jones Expert

I don't know the flower nor the butterfly but I thought they were nice. August 2013 Mt St Helen.

3rd Nov 2013 16:52 GMTRob Woodside Manager

I think you have a Western Copper on pearly everlastings?

3rd Nov 2013 17:03 GMTReiner Mielke Expert

Western copper? Looks more like this although I guess there could be a subspecies in the west?

3rd Nov 2013 17:16 GMTRob Woodside Manager

I stopped murdering butterflies before I was 10 and never really learned proper nomenclature. Notice the dark hind wings in your Wikipedia link. Danny's photo shows a hind wing not dark. So yes there are varieties etc. Danny's butterfly looks like a fritillary, but is much too small. I see this "Western Copper" and Blues flitting along the trails and stopping at puddles and moist places when I'm looking for alpine flowers.
Several big cats have been seen in our neighborhood lately, but are pretty shy and have been not been a problem. This young cougar, apparently separated from his mother, was photographed by a neighbor. After a couple of weeks, he was found too weak to put up a fuss and was captured and turned over to a wildlife rehab organization. He is now doing well and will eventually be returned to the wild.


19th Nov 2013 19:04 GMTVincent Rigatti

We have a mountain cabin near Alma Colorado and this big guy was in our alpine meadow this past summer. Elevation is around 11,500 ft.

9th Dec 2013 22:10 GMTTony Charlton

this little fellow showed up on are feeders and spent the winter of 2007/8. He left in the early spring and did not come back, guess He was camera shy.:-D He is an Anna's hummingbird.

12th Dec 2013 00:48 GMTTony Charlton

A vary old cedar tree at the edge of the tree line, not as old as the petrified wood in the ash layers the tree grew in.

the base of the tree is about 4 meters wide

this pic was taken just north of hwy 4 Ebits pass California

13th Dec 2013 09:17 GMTAntonio Gamboni Expert

The flight to freedom ....

Lizard, Mt. Perucci-Selvani quarry, Ploaghe, Sassari Province, Sardinia, Italy - photo Antonio Gamboni.

13th Dec 2013 09:26 GMTAntonio Gamboni Expert

Macabre meal.

Praying Mantis, M. Iscoba, Nulvi, Sassari Province, Sardinia, Italy - photo Antonio Gamboni.

13th Dec 2013 13:16 GMTPaolo Franchi

Sulphur on 40mm beetle.

Cratere La Fossa, Vulcano, Sicilia, Italia

16th Dec 2013 23:14 GMTTony Charlton

the Joshua trees were on the side road to the site

19th Dec 2013 20:02 GMTTony Charlton

this little waterfall was created by a fallen tree across a small stream in the high Sierra Nevada mountains near Ebits pass.

22nd Dec 2013 16:55 GMTTony Charlton

a fellow rock-hound ( or lizard ) that I met while looking in the desert west of Tonapah, Nevada

24th Dec 2013 00:10 GMTPeter Szarka


24th Dec 2013 05:03 GMTDermot Walsh

Merry Christmas All


3rd Jan 2014 16:32 GMTFred E. Davis

Frost on the window this morning in Connecticut (field of view ~3 cm wide). It was +7 F (about -14 C) last night, and promises to be much colder tonight! Update: We lucked out - it was only -2 F (about -19 C) last night.

6th Jan 2014 22:17 GMTJonathan Woolley

Very cool photos of calcite crystallizing on an unfortunate butterfly at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Photos were taken six years ago by a friend who had closeup access doing grad school research on the hot springs. Apparently the mineralization is mainly aragonite close to the vents when the water still carries more dissolved CO2, and becomes mainly calcite a little further down the flow when the water has de-gassed, cooled, and the flow rates are lower.

7th Jan 2014 22:44 GMTTony Charlton

Here is another rock lizard, this one was collecting at the Kelly mine in NM in 2006.

15th Jan 2014 11:37 GMTBob Harman

Just wishing for the good ole summer time. MOURNING CLOAK butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) on a gravely spot including several fragments of crinoidal limestone. Monroe County, Indiana, summer 2013. CHEERS……BOB

18th Jan 2014 19:40 GMTEdgars Endzelins

Today I found this specimen after 5 hours of hike and it seems to be Ice on beard matrix :-D

19th Jan 2014 15:54 GMTMartin Rich Expert

Today's view from my house to the opposite side.

14th Feb 2014 12:09 GMTTony Charlton

This is for all the poor sole's that are suffering from the Winter:-( blues.

, just to remind y'all that Winter is a temporary situation(tu). Soon all the white will disappear:-D.

stay warm and look forward to the spring!!:)-D

14th Feb 2014 21:37 GMTWayne Corwin

Thanks Tony,,, really needed that !

23rd Feb 2014 23:27 GMTGlenn Rhein

Not what I call digging weather .......

23rd Feb 2014 23:40 GMTMaggie Wilson Expert

Glenn, that's what I call depressing weather! At least the sun is shining

25th Feb 2014 18:40 GMTTom Bennett

Glenn Rhein Wrote:


> Not what I call digging weather .......


Looks like you have lots of digging to do to me


4th Mar 2014 15:26 GMTBob Harman

This winter in south central Indiana, along with the whole eastern US, has been one of the coldest and snowiest in memory. Many local folks are now poo poohing the notion of global warming, but according to learned climatologists, all this is really part of the long term process of global warming and, at this same time, other places on the globe continue to be unusually warm and dry or wet this season. In any case, hoping for summertime, here are 2 pix. A bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and giant swallowtail butterfly (Papillo cresphontes) on butterfly bush (Buddlela davidii). This bush, commonly found in nurseries and easily grown attracts many varieties of insects.CHEERS…..BOB

5th Mar 2014 00:11 GMTMike Royal

5th Mar 2014 03:02 GMTDan Fountain

During a recent snow storm that blew in across Lake Superior, snow snakes attached themselves to the trees. One of them morphed into a snow snail in the warmer weather...

5th Mar 2014 03:21 GMTJohn Truax

12th Mar 2014 15:34 GMTClifford Trebilcock

Whooooo ?

Since Maine has become part of the Arctic this Winter these Snowy Owls (Nyctea scandiaca) have moved down

here in record numbers. Went down to the Popham Beach near my house and noticed I was being watched.

Surprised he posed for some photos.

6th Apr 2014 19:22 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Recently I have started to work on a wolframite deposit (the R.H.A. tungsten mine) in a fairly remote region of the Hwange District in western Zimbabwe. The first animal I saw on my very first morning was a beautiful green snake next to my dining table which turned out to be a non-venomous spotted bush snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus) and not a boomslang as I first thought.

Later I spotted a wonderful little lizard, a blue tailed sandveld lizard (Nucras caesicaudata) in the abandoned processing plant of the Ubique mica mine.

There are plenty of lions, elephants, baboons, buffles and other animals around the deposit but sometimes the less visible animals are simply more interesting than the big ones.

29th May 2014 00:34 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Late spring garden, Northwestern Nevada. The red is an import from those boggy islands on the East side of the pond. Interesting that it should do so well in this high, dry climate.



29th May 2014 02:13 BSTBob Harman

At 20,320 ft high, Mt. McKinley in Denali National park Alaska is the highest peak in North America. Only about 5% of the time is the whole mountain, including the summit easily visible. Best viewing is about May as it is one of the drier and less cloudy months of the year. This pix is from May of 2011. CHEERS……BOB

18th Jun 2014 22:30 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Quail chicks. It's sort of like herding cats, except that in this case cats are not welcome.



19th Jun 2014 00:40 BSTJohn Oostenryk

Always cool stuff in this thread- Thanks All!-

I do get a particular kick out of seeing those lil Quail- reminds me of the local Kildeer here in Midwest- chicks so small at first that even cut grass is complicated to traverse- and of course mama doing her 'freaky wing distraction'-LoL

10th Aug 2014 05:13 BSTStephen Rose Expert

A spot of rain here in the high desert this evening. I may have to do some (pot of) gold prospecting tomorrow.



10th Aug 2014 14:37 BSTUwe Ludwig

Some days ago I made a visit of a dump area. There I met this little nice fellow. Fortunately I had my telephoto lens available.

Rgds. Uwe Luwig

11th Aug 2014 04:22 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Looks like a very curious fellow, Uwe.

This immature Coopers hawk checked out the bathing facilities on Saturday morning. He had a drink but passed on the bath. It really wasn't a proper fit.



16th Aug 2014 16:54 BSTJohn Truax

Thank you all for the wonderful nature photos, really enjoyable!

17th Aug 2014 11:50 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Recently on my way to work in the Hwange District of Zimbabwe I have come accross these two bush beauties. After 27y in Africa, Zimbabwe is the first country where I occasionally have to chase lions from the outcrops before I may start to work...

19th Aug 2014 14:59 BSTTony Charlton

Hey All,

While on a recent trip to Crystal park, Montana I got some unexpected help with the digging.

Such nice locals!

27th Aug 2014 15:24 BSTFred E. Davis

4am, a cloudless night with no moon - a perfect time for star photos! Ursa major over a mirror-smooth Little Sunapee Lake, New London, New Hampshire.

29th Aug 2014 12:32 BSTAlessio Piccioni

A bears in a park, in Black Forest

29th Aug 2014 15:12 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

This Black-tailed Rattlesnake was crossing the dirt road in Southeastern Arizona near the Rincon Mountains in a place called Happy Valley on August 27, 2014.

It was one of the calmest rattlesnake I have seen in a while, didn't rattle or coil even though I got close to get the photos. Having been a herpetologist I know exactly how close I can get, don't recommend this for the novice with snakes.

1st Sep 2014 00:48 BSTJonathan Woolley

We've had an explosion of gray tree frogs in our backyard in the last few weeks. Here are some juveniles hiding in the leaves of our plumerias, and an adult I caught hiding behind one of the downspouts.

21st Sep 2014 15:29 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert


Trumpeter Swan and cygnets from the reclaimed Clappison's Quarry

25th Sep 2014 03:59 BSTOlivier Langelier

My favorite birds, the loon, preparing to leave for winter. They are usually solitary

so it was quite unusual to see that many together. They gathered every day at the

same time right in front of the outcrop we were working. And they came pretty close

except for when the rock drill was operating. Then they would all disperse at sunset

26th Sep 2014 02:01 BSTOlivier Langelier

Baby beaver was very curious and came very close to observe the human taking his

picture while the beaver mom was fixing the dam

Unlikely friends: racoon and fox

26th Sep 2014 14:44 BSTTony Charlton

Hey All,

This guy has been hanging around My house all summer and I finely got around to Photoing him in late Aug. And now I am getting around to posting the photo-- sometimes it just takes a while.

26th Sep 2014 15:00 BSTDanny Jones Expert

Wolfs in Alaska

26th Sep 2014 15:38 BSTBob Harman

American Elk (Wapiti) foraging at the National Elk Refuge Center near Jackson Hole Wyoming. Winter of 2011. This was about 3 miles from my daughter's home at that time. Best time to see large wildlife out there is late winter thru early spring as the large mammals are still in the low country. By early summer the snow is largely melted at the higher elevations and the animals move up into the high country away from prying civilization. CHEERS…….BOB

26th Sep 2014 15:50 BSTOlivier Langelier

This cute small lake trout will make for an awesome dinner!

26th Sep 2014 17:32 BSTSpencer Ivan Mather

When I was in Daun, Germany, I found a pile of small lizards under a rock in the old quarry there, so I just put the rock back and left them alone, and I carried on looking for good augite crystals and fond twenty four..


29th Sep 2014 18:45 BSTMichael Otto

Took a weekend to drive through the Catskill Mountains and up into the Adirondacks. Stopped at Howes Cave in NY and took a couple of photos of Calcite flows.

29th Sep 2014 22:45 BSTBob Harman

MICHAEL , I believe the official name of the cave system you visited is HOWE CAVERNS and are the stalactites and stalagmites considered ARAGONITE rather than CALCITE?? I visited that site several times as a youngster in the 1950's. CHEERS…….BOB

30th Sep 2014 12:45 BSTMichael Otto



> MICHAEL , I believe the official name of the

> cave system you visited is HOWE CAVERNS and are

> the stalactites and stalagmites considered

> ARAGONITE rather than CALCITE?? I visited that

> site several times as a youngster in the 1950's.


Bob, It is probably more correctly called Howe Caverns today. It is in Howes Cave, NY. Seems to have been originally called Howe's cave The stalactites and stalagmites as you know are formed from the dripping off the ceiling and again growing from the floor upward. The "flowstone" is formed from the water running down the walls of the cavern. From my research when the formations are white they are pure Calcite and when colored red, gray or yellow have other minerals along with Calcite. My later investigation because of your question confirmed the tour guide's descriptions of the formations as Calcite and "flowstone" or flowing Calcite. You can see the water running over the flowstone as opposed to dripping on top of it. Mike

3rd Oct 2014 20:44 BSTJerry Cone Expert

Here are some Agave parryi pictures from the Caballo Mountains in New Mexico from a few years ago.

3rd Oct 2014 21:05 BSTStephen Rose Expert

I normally wouldn't post a pic of this quality, but given the subject and the circumstances maybe I can be forgiven?

In the 1970's a late-year drilling project near Gunnison, Colorado, involved some really cold weather. One morning, on the way to the drill site, I saw a beaver moving up a stream that was pretty much frozen over but was still running strongly under the ice. It was apparent that this was an old fellow that had been put out of the den by younger males and he was trying to get to a valley another mile or so up stream where he might survive the winter by burrowing into the bank and eating willow roots. He would swim a bit and find a hole in the ice and then crawl very slowly to the next break in the ice cover to swim again. I watched him for 10 minutes or so and he never slowed his steady pace. I wished him luck and went to work. The beaver is the rounded, brown object near the center of the photograph next to the stream.



4th Oct 2014 07:57 BSTMeinrad Kempf Expert

Visiting the famous Burgumer Alp back in 2005. A lot of rocks around ... and animals. Well, you're never alone ... :-)

4th Oct 2014 09:20 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

A few more pictures from Zimbabwe, taken recently near the RHA tungsten mine.

A very colorful lizard on a pretty boring tourmaline pegmatite:

A mom and her kid:

A hand sized baboon spider which I had to chase out of my bed:

4th Oct 2014 16:28 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Looks like some one snacked on a couple of the spider's left legs! Cool pics! Thanks!!!

24th Oct 2014 23:29 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Folded quartzite at a baryte prospect, N.E. Snake Range, Elko County, Nevada. 1984.



25th Oct 2014 18:32 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Bristlecone pines near Horseshoe Lake, Sangre de Cristo range, Custer Co., Colorado. August, 1976.

When I feel old, I think of these.



2nd Nov 2014 02:01 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Mountain sheep at the base of Mt. White peak, just south of Mt. Antero, Chaffee County, Colorado, ca 1975. These were curious and not nearly as skittish as they were during hunting season.



2nd Nov 2014 15:30 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

More from Zimbabwe:

A Stripe-bellied sand snake (Psammophis subtaeniatus) having a little snack:

An impressive African cave spider (Damon variegatus) measuring 22cm from left to right, looks scary but is completely harmless:

A nasty scorpion I found under my pillow, at least it shows a nice fluorescence:

3rd Nov 2014 17:46 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Black Rock desert seen from a tungsten prospect at the north end of the Selenite Range, Pershing County, Nevada. South end of the Granite Range in background.

Large clinozoisite crystals on rock face at the tungsten prospect. Shoe is size 12.5 for scale.



9th Nov 2014 21:36 GMTWilliam W. Besse Expert

Monsoonal downpour over the Helvetia-Rosemont District and working its way north up the Santa Rita Mountains.


21st Nov 2014 13:46 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

Some time ago Virginia and I were walking along the “two track” that crosses our property with our golden retriever, Tiffany. She was a gentle, teddy bear of a dog that wouldn’t hurt anything. She ran over to the deer feeder and jumped back excitedly. We heard a loud clicking sound coming from a patch of weeds. It was this immature Great Horned Owl furiously clicking its beak warning Tiffany and us to stay back or I’ll bite your nose off!

Great Horned owls eat almost any source of meat including fur, bones and feathers which they regurgitate as pellets. I found the mother’s roost in a huge maple tree at the end of the two track. Underneath the tree was a pile of pellets filled with fur. One day I found a pellet that was bright blue. When I pulled it apart with a stick it was made up of blue jay feathers!

22nd Nov 2014 07:55 GMTJoe Ganster

^ Great photo, Larry!

Here's one from last month when I made way up to the White Mountains in Eastern California to see the ancient Bristlecone Pines... I found this tree particularly photogenic.

22nd Nov 2014 13:14 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

Beautiful photo, Joe,

The lighting on the tree is superb. I see you have a good eye for composition. I hope that you will show us more from time to time.

5th Dec 2014 02:46 GMTJohn Truax

Great photos everyone, it is fun seeing what interests you!

Mud Dauber seen this last summer.

7th Dec 2014 12:34 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

It is springtime in Zimbabwe now and after 6-7 months without a single drop of precipitation, the first rains revitalize nature. This is a wonderful Blood Lily (Sxadoxus multiflorus) I've recently found while working on the Zulu LCT pegmatite (not yet in Mindat) in the Fort Rixon area in the center of the country. Blood lilies are highly poisonous and where used in the past as arrow poison.

7th Dec 2014 14:43 GMTTony Charlton

Hey Wolfgang,

Cool flower!!

4th Jan 2015 16:40 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

This photo falls under both nature thread and mineral. Jan. 4, 2014, 6am went walking at 22 degrees F. There was a freshly dug rodent burrow that had disturbed soil where the rodents had been in and out. No other holes in the area had frost at the entrance so the rodents in this hole where home and their little bodies were putting out heat and their breathing moist air that was turning to frost at the entrance. I had never seen this before.

Happy New Year

Rolf Luetcke

4th Jan 2015 16:57 GMTRob Woodside Manager

Rolf, Please post this in the Ice gallery. Great shot and interpretation!!!

7th Jan 2015 02:37 GMTRyan Allen

Spent some quality time winter hounding down by kinbasket lake before xmas. The lake actually froze up while i was out on it in my 12ft tin boat. Another day i was combing the shoreline and the lake went from half inch of solid ice to open water in half hour. Only about 2.5 hours of direct sunlight a day makes for strange lighting.

A short vid of ice breaking up:

7th Jan 2015 13:08 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

One of my favorite lizards from the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. Now why couldn't the dinosaurs have had these wonderful colors? This lizard chases down, catches and eats smaller lizards.

11th Jan 2015 21:28 GMTBob Harman


Here are new pix of the HARRODSBURG ROAD CUTS in south central Indiana as seen earlier today, January 11, 2015. The passing cars are for scale.

There was a heavy rain event several days ago followed by a prolonged bitter cold spell which is easing just today. More rain and snow is predicted for tonight and tomorrow, followed by another cold spell until next weekend. Then a prolonged warming trend is predicted. If all this comes to pass, road cut collecting should become quite good in about 10 days. CHEERS…….BOB



16th Jan 2015 10:49 GMTHenri Koskinen Expert

Not much to photograph here in Finnish nature right now as everything is covered by snow and ice. Fortunately there are plenty of crystals of ice around and some of them make nice photos.

These were shot about a week ago as temperature dropped fast and air was very still. Nearby stream froze and gave birth to crystals of many forms. Next morning they were all gone as wind rose and swept them away.





16th Jan 2015 17:04 GMTRob Woodside Manager

Great photos Henri, please upload them to the ice page.:-)

16th Jan 2015 17:29 GMTHenri Koskinen Expert

Thanks Rob for your kind comment. I added the mineral ice to the locality "Finland". If the addition is approved I'll upload a few photos of ice specimens :-)


16th Jan 2015 17:36 GMTRob Woodside Manager

Thanks Henri, but could you please use the location where you found them? I'm sorry I wasn't more clear butat least we have these marvelous pictures. Thanks!

17th Jan 2015 21:56 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Cedar waxwings winter in this area, although we do not usually see numbers of them this time of year. These were attracted by a sprinkler on near by evergreens. I guess that we all need a bath now and then.



18th Jan 2015 14:48 GMTBob Harman


My two accompanying pictures may not be the best or clearest, but the pictured phenomenon, from earlier this morning, was the best and clearest that I have ever seen.

EARTHSHINE occurs only when the Moon is in a thin sliver or crescent phase. Light from the sun shining on the Earth is reflected back onto the moon and then reflected back again to the Earth. It is seen as a dim glow in the dark portion of the Moon adjacent to the brightly lit thin crescent. This is best seen on clear calm days shortly before dawn or after sunset, usually with the Moon low in the sky. CHEERS…..BOB.

18th Jan 2015 16:16 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

From a forest area south of Caia, Sofala Province in Mozambique: two millipedes having a good time:

I've found this leopard tortoise this morning on my way to the Kamativi tin mine, Zimbabwe. Fully grown leopard tortoises may reach a weight of 50 kg, this is just a youngster:


24th Jan 2015 19:31 GMTStephen Rose Expert

This is a spotted towhee, (Pipilo maculatus), a colorful member of the sparrow family. This energetic bird was chipping ice on our birdbath being unwilling to wait until the sun warmed it a bit to a melting point.



25th Jan 2015 02:17 GMTD Mike Reinke

Great shot, Stephen! You 'captured the moment.'

But it is also possible that that Towhee knows ice is classified as a mineral, so was actually out collecting...

25th Jan 2015 04:22 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Interesting observation, Mike! I have noticed that these birds spend much of their time foraging (fossicking) on the ground.



19th Feb 2015 08:59 GMTHenri Koskinen Expert

Very early spring in Finland. Usually by mid february the sea here would have close to a half meter thick cover of ice.

Exceptionally warm and dry weather is due to Fhoen wind flowing from Norway. According to Wiki a Föhn or Foehn is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee (downwind side) of a mountain range. Föhn winds can raise temperatures by as much as 32 °C (58 °F) in just a matter of minutes. Central Europe enjoys a warmer climate due to the Föhn, as moist winds off the Mediterranean Sea blow over the Alps, but here in Finland Foehn is very rare.

[url=][img][/img][/url][url=]Varhainen kevät - Early spring[/url] by [url=]Henri Koskinen[/url], on Flickr

Original image

20th Mar 2015 21:57 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


This was taken back in 1979 on the Beach in Baja California, Mexico near San Quintin. The beach was undisturbed and patterns were really great.

22nd Mar 2015 15:40 GMTRoger Spurr

Check this out MUDFOSSILS.COM this is perfect preservation of ancient life.

24th Mar 2015 01:17 GMTJacob Helton


Witches Butter mushroom I came across while walking about looking for staurolite on the family farm. Always found these rather fascinating, since they seem to be at their most colorful during the coldest, dreariest parts of winter.

29th Mar 2015 14:02 BSTFred E. Davis

Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos) in yet another springtime snow in Connecticut.

12th Apr 2015 19:58 BSTDave Owen

I found these, perhaps a variety of lichen while exploring at Quartzsite this year. They only occur in decomposed rock layers rich in iron thus the red color

13th Apr 2015 01:35 BSTWayne Corwin


How about the photo?

13th Apr 2015 03:04 BSTDave Owen

Here it is sorry

18th Apr 2015 09:17 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

I’ve recently found this beautiful flower, a Wild Ginger (Siphonochilus aethiopicus) near a yet undescribed tantalum pegmatite in a forest west of Toui in central Benin, West Africa. Wild Ginger has many medicinal uses and in many regions of Africa the species is almost extinct.

18th Apr 2015 22:24 BSTStephen Rose Expert

What an interesting flower, Wolfgang!

This yellow-bellied marmot lives well hidden in a pile of rocks in an area heavily used by off-road vehicles near Reno. I thought that the white muzzle indicated age until I looked it up and saw that this species has a white face as an adult.



22nd Apr 2015 18:16 BSTRyan Allen



Was out with the metal detector in an unnamed creek drainage last week. There were literally thousands of these moths? all over everything. I found an area and went to work. The problem with detecting around these parts is if you wear the ear muffs you cant hear anything else which is bad news. When you use the external speaker and get into hot rocks it sounds very similar to a predator call. Its brought all manner of unwanted guests over the last few years. In the 2nd pic you can just make out its shape up and to the right of my backpack(zoom feature in photo bucket helps). It would get within 15ft then run away. As soon as i started on hot ground again it would come running back as if it knew i was right there but it couldn't resist the sound. Im just glad it was one of the smallest predators this time :-)

27th May 2015 17:34 BSTMichael C. Michayluk

An insect friend dropped by to say hi when I was snapping this photo of a rock from the Big Chief mine near Hillsboro NM. Photo taken in Las Cruces, NM. Didn't know until I saw the photo on my computer later that night!

1st Jun 2015 11:52 BSTJay I. G. Roland

Whilst rock picking at Goonvean China Clay Pit (Cornwall, UK) last year I happened upon this little beauty underneath a lump of granite. Perfectly happy for me to move him and pose him for the camera, I had to 'build' a safe shelter to put him out of the sun (and hungry preying birds) once the pictures were taken.


1st Jun 2015 20:04 BSTStephen Rose Expert

This interesting 'critter' appears in our yard now and then, especially after a rainy period. A species of plasmodial slime mold, Fuligo septica, aka dog vomit or scrambled egg slime mold. The mass is about 20 cm. in length. Interestingly, the mold contains toxic levels of zinc which it can tolerate as it produces a yellow pigment (fuligorubin A) which chelates metals to an inactive form.



1st Jun 2015 22:40 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Cool!!! Thanks

3rd Jun 2015 01:02 BSTRyan Allen

Just finished a 25 day tour into a very remote part of BC in search of morels. Last years fires produce the best mushrooms. What started out as 3 friends just going out to see what we could find for a week turned out to be a month in what i could only explain as the wild west. I totally expected to see other people but it was far beyond my wildest expectations. Violence, robbery and drugs were common and all in a place so remote cell service was hours away. I have never seen so many bugs! I went in out of shape and came out chiseled and 18 lbs lighter. We did well and i would totally do it again next year now that i know what to expect. I was truly in awe at how mother nature regenerates herself less than 12 months after a raging forest fire.



Some more pics of this adventure:

3rd Jun 2015 16:47 BSTJohn Truax

This is a Chuckwalla lizard living in the Colorado Desert (California).

3rd Jun 2015 22:44 BSTStephen Rose Expert

The imported weed we love to hate, Russian thistle or 'tumbleweed' in bloom. Pershing County Nevada. If you have ever had a six-foot pile of these things accumulate in one of your fence corners, you can see where the 'hate' part comes from.



14th Jun 2015 05:08 BSTStephen Rose Expert

A friend in Taos, NM, posted this a short time ago looking for an identification of the critter. It is the caterpillar of the hooded owlet moth, a particularly drab end result considering this colorful stage.

Photo by Judy Nelson-Moore

14th Jun 2015 10:33 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Hi Jay,

Your critter is a common newt, Lissotriton vulgaris, or smooth newt. The animal used to be widespread through Europe but as his environment is reduced year after year, it could become rare in the future, like all the animals except those we eat.

Witches used to collect them to make potions ( eye of newt ):-D



18th Jun 2015 21:24 BSTStephen C. Blyskal Expert

On a field trip to South Texas in 2009 we were hunting for petrified wood in an unused "caliche" pit, which turned out to be cross bedded gravel with caliche. In the process of digging in the wall of a small side pit I uncovered this hibernating skink. He was cold and allowed me to hold him and pose him, something clearly not possible when they are up and running.


18th Jun 2015 21:27 BSTStephen C. Blyskal Expert

On the same trip we were working the main pit, which had not seen any activity in some time. I came across the body of a snake which was being turned into a skeleton by a large group of ants. I thought it needed a photo.

18th Jun 2015 21:44 BSTOlivier Langelier

Huge snapping turtle sunbathing and ruffed grouse at Cabonga, Quebec, Canada



19th Jun 2015 03:12 BSTRobert Rothenberg

Hi all,

Not strictly found while collecting minerals, it was growing in my yard, where I dump my reject material. I am curious about the little curly things that are growing between the petals. Are these the beginnings of the seed heads? Thanks.


19th Jun 2015 03:19 BSTOlivier Langelier

Those are the pistil, the part that catches the pollen.

19th Jun 2015 03:45 BSTRobert Rothenberg

Hi Oliver,



20th Jun 2015 04:47 BSTJay Buscio

Our rock garden. Quartz Crystal group from Forbestown, Butte Co., California.

27th Jun 2015 01:52 BSTNiels Brouwer

Last week I was on a business trip in the UK, but I took a few days off to visit the Peak District. Excellent hiking, I loved photographing the stunning landscape (photos best viewed in high res).



18th Aug 2015 20:10 BSTMichael Otto

A young black bear was an unexpected visitor to our backyard in NW Connecticut recently. IPhone photo and a little blurry but I couldn't get the bear to hold still as I followed him through the yard.

19th Aug 2015 01:25 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This little western diamondback was just born in the last week or two. Rattlesnakes give live birth. The adults live in a big brush pile on our property but the babies we relocate when we see them. They have nice bright colors at this age.

19th Aug 2015 13:02 BSTBob Harman

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California. Cretaceous age granite, 3,000 feet base to summit which is 7,573' in maximum height. Part of the Sierra Range. CHEERS……BOB

19th Aug 2015 14:25 BSTBob Harman

On the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, summer 2010. During the summer months there is very blue skies with little cloud cover however as the waters of San Francisco Bay are quite cool, low hanging stratus clouds over the bay are common. When they are are the ground they are classified as fog when just above the ground, low stratus. This day the clouds made it just to the bridge deck. CHEERS…..BOB

15th Sep 2015 20:55 BSTBob Harman

The highest point in North America, Mt Denali Alaska is over 20,000 feet tall. Only very rarely seen cloud free this photo, from our Alaska trip, was made on May 23, 2011. Originally named by Denali by native Alaskans, it means something like The Big One. Renamed Mt. McKinley about 1901 around the time of President McKinley's assasination, it was recently officially renamed back to its original name by President Obama. This was not without controversy by the Ohio congressmen as Present McKinley was an Ohioan. CHEERS......BOB.

16th Sep 2015 21:22 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Fall garden things...


[attachment 60164 SeptemberRosesPS.jpg

Virginia Creeper...

[attachment 60165 VirginiaCreeperPS.jpg



18th Sep 2015 19:32 BSTJyrki Autio

This has happened recently. Last year when I visited this place this wasn't there.

Bedrock is broken suddenly and there is roughly 5 m long and 0,5-1 m wide fracture in rock. Larger rocks have jumped half way out of the fracture and smaller pieces are found several meters apart.

Lightning is probably the cause but it is surprising that it can have this much effect on rock.

Palkiskuru, Finnish Lapland


20th Sep 2015 00:24 BSTWayne Corwin


Looks like a hockhound with a 20 pound sledge has been there ;-)

20th Sep 2015 01:27 BSTDoug Schonewald

this little fellow was about the size of my thumbnail. small in size, they have an extremely loud call during mating season.

23rd Sep 2015 10:36 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Last week I made a short trip by car to Italy and France. On my way back I came across “Les Demoiselles Coiffées” (“Ladys with hairdos”), an impressive series of hoodoos (also called “fairy chimneys” or “earth pyramids”) near Embrun, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence:

23rd Sep 2015 16:15 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Very cool!!! I wonder how many will be left in 100 years, 1000 years? Short term phenomenon like these or geysers, etc are really remarkable.

23rd Sep 2015 20:15 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Hi Rob,

These hoodoos look indeed very unstable, almost unconsolidated Quaternary sediments with some huge glacial boulders on top of them....just a question of time or a weakish, little earthquake and they are gone. There are more hoodoos forming right now and many generations of geology students will have their pleasure visiting them on their field trips. It was my first time to this part of France but certainly not the last time.


28th Sep 2015 17:27 BSTFred E. Davis

I did a little front porch astronomy last night following the lunar eclipse. By some miracle, the forecast was wrong and the sky was remarkably clear. All were tough shots because of motion (I could easily see the moon move in the viewfinder), atmospheric disturbances (ripples etc in the atmosphere), and very low light as the eclipse progressed. They show near the beginning (shadow at the left), about half way, and near full eclipse (a sliver of light in the lower-right).



28th Sep 2015 18:13 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Great!!! Thanks!!!

28th Sep 2015 18:48 BSTJamison K. Brizendine Expert

Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the total lunar eclipse. I did manage to view the partial lunar eclipse, but by the time it became a total eclipse a huge cloud blocked the moon from view....bummer.

Late summer/early fall brings out the orbweaver spiders, and some get quite large. This one has been next to our house for a couple of weeks now hoping for a foolish moth to meet its fate...

6th Oct 2015 13:30 BSTBob Harman

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska. May 2011. The second picture clearly shows the retreat of this glacier. See the scoured areas of rock in the lower right and center of the picture. In years past glacial ice covered these area of now bare rock. The first picture shows ice calving at the terminal end of the glacier. Note the layers of ice interspersed with rock rubble from the gradual wearing down of the surrounding mountains mixed with the yearly accumulation of snow into ice. I guess these layers might be akin to tree rings and show yearly snowfall and whether temperatures were warm or cold. CHEERS......BOB

29th Nov 2015 17:50 GMTStephen Rose Expert

This fine bird spent part of Thanksgiving day morning sunning in the willow tree next door. This morning, with temperatures in the single digits, he (she?) was back having found a perch at sagebrush level. I am not sure what the attraction might be as most food sources this time of year would be associated with open water some miles north or south of us.





4th Dec 2015 03:02 GMTStephen Rose Expert

Another bird photo....there are quite a few of these northern flickers around this part of Nevada. This fluffy fellow was foraging for seeds and bugs around the edge of our patio the other day.



4th Dec 2015 21:02 GMTJonelle DeFelice

No photos, but twice this fall I accidentally dug up 2 sleeping frogs in the Chelmsford MA mine dumps. I was using my "child's rake" to remove soil and there they were. Scared the begeebers out of me, I'll tell ya. Hopefully I didn't hurt them...

Also, I'd post a photo of what "nature" did to my arm last week, but I think that would get me banned from the forum!!!

4th Dec 2015 22:19 GMTPeter Andresen Expert

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) eating the seeds from a thistle, on the road from the larvikite quarry A/S Granit, photo taken in August.

10th Dec 2015 10:47 GMTChris Rayburn

It's been unseasonably warm here in Colorado, and I headed down to La Junta, in the SE part of the state, for one last dig before winter sets in for good. I found the calcite and barite I was after. Also found a cache of the local creepy crawlies--two tarantulas (in separate quarters) and a nest of scorpions, all within several feet of one another. Evidently septarian concretions make a swell place to hole up for the winter. Fortunately both critters and Chris were unharmed.


13th Dec 2015 23:37 GMTAndy Klotz

Captured this image of a robber fly the other day as it rested on a wire in Hazelbrook in the Blue mountains NSW Australia.

29th Dec 2015 13:32 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

A classic, wild Michigan Tom Turley

A classic, wild Michigan Tom Turley with two tails (just kidding) It is two Toms standing in line.

20th Jan 2016 13:49 GMTJamison K. Brizendine Expert

This is one of my favorite photos on the website and I am thankful that Kolman Rosenberg allowed me to upload it to Mindat. Considering the bitter cold temperatures we are having, I find it appropriate…

In December 2010, Cleveland, Ohio had a particular strong wind and ice storm creating very strong waves. The waves crashed over the breakwall and splattered on the lighthouse. The result was this beautiful “Ice Palace”. The FOV is approximately 65 feet x 83 feet (height of the lighthouse tower).

For those wondering, the lighthouse is automated and not inhabited.

28th Apr 2016 23:30 BSTAlex Earl Expert

On a recent trip to Otto Mountain and the Blue Bell Mine, in California with my father, we came across a few nice surprises, and I just had to photograph them, and add them to mindat!

A very nice beaver tail cactus in bloom at Otto Mountain. We also came across some other flowers in the area that were just as colorful. Early-late March was a pretty good time to go and see all of the flowers blooming in the Mojave desert.

This was a California fire barrel cactus that we came upon. It had some very bright red-pink spines, and was along one of the trails. We also found a few others on the hillside.

We also came across this Chuckwalla at the Blue Bell mine on one of the dumps. At first it was really surprised and crawled into the crack in the rocks, and inflated itself. I think after it realized we weren't there to eat it, it came out and started sunning itself on the warm rocks.

Here are the mindat photo links, there are more photos of the wildlife I took while we were there.

29th Apr 2016 17:08 BSTD Mike Reinke


Are you sure that turkey crystal isn't a japan law twin? It looks real close to a 90 degree angle.

30th Apr 2016 14:00 BSTFred E. Davis

Daffodil: early spring (or late snow) taken 21 March 2016, and dogwood: real spring at last taken April 28 2016 (both in Connecticut)!


30th Apr 2016 14:01 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Yesterday afternoon I took my camera a couple hundred yards from my house to get some photos of the Fishhook cactus I had found on my early morning dog walk. The cacti were in bloom and I got some nice photos.

Then came the bonus, the Patch-Nosed Snake was lying in the branches of a big mesquite tree and sat still for me to get some nice photos. This is a common, non-poisonous snake of our area.

1st May 2016 07:17 BSTJoel Dyer

I went yesterday on Year 2016's first field trip, just to look for some quartz potentially suitable for fluid inclusion studies & test how one's new medicine will help to tolerate the pains during digging, thinking of the starting collecting season. Sadly, looks like this rockhound's filed collecting is going to soon wane, but c'est la vie - towards studies & microcope work then!

While digging at the Kaatiala location's dumps, I found - along with some nice transparent rose quarts - some "false truffles" of type Elaphomyces muricatus: FOV=7cm.

One Internet site stated that truffles are "members of the Basidiomycota not the Ascomycota, yet many others state they DO belong to the Ascomycota division. I've yet to start "microscoping" this material, but it looks to me definitely different than elaphomyces granulatus.

Too bad these mushrooms are not edible, as they look deliciously similar to chocolate truffles. FYI: real truffle mushroom species (of genus tuber) can be found even here in harsh, far away Finland, but a truffle pig / dog would probably be required to find thse tasty & elusive creatures :-)

1st May 2016 11:18 BSTPeter Trebilcock Expert

An appropriate time to upload this picture, while walking in mined woodland close to our home yesterday 30/04/2016 we noticed what looked like a dancing deer close to one of my secret cassiterite open works, it failed to move away as we approached until we got very close and then it stayed very close watching us which in itself was very unusual, it was then that my wife spotted a newly born deer at the bottom of the openwork, after collecting rope etc and climbing down I placed the terrified animal in a sack and hauled to the surface where my wife checked it over placed it within view of the mother and we retired to watch them reunite.

1st May 2016 18:03 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

Peter, you saved Bambi.

1st May 2016 18:56 BSTUwe Ludwig

The "Bambi" has not been saved but probably sentenced to dead. Never touch a new born deer or roe because the mother will not attend it anymore after the sence of a human smell is there. Deers and roes lay their new born young at a save place and let it allone for a while in order to protect it for predators. Now for the a.m. young the game is over!



1st May 2016 19:37 BSTPeter Trebilcock Expert

Hello Uwe, the young deer was at least 30 feet down a steep ravine, certainly not in a safe place and with no hope of climbing out or for me without a decent rope, we watched as they were reunited, the mother licking and coaxing the young one until they trotted off in to our wood. As a country lad and very used to the taste of Venison we are very aware of what you have said but the choice of the devil or the deep blue see as we say here.

Regards Peter.

1st May 2016 19:43 BSTRanger Dave

Children are often told to leave baby birds and other baby animals alone because the mother will stop caring for it if she smells human on them. Not necessarily true. The mothering instinct overwhelms any scent. That fawn will do just fine. And with birds, most have a very poor sense of smell. They could not detect human scent on an egg or hatchling. But telling this to kids usually keeps them from messing with things.

1st May 2016 22:04 BSTUwe Ludwig

OK Peter, I see you have experience with the wild and in this case you did probably the right. I take back my impeachment. However, a lot of peobles coming from the cities for holiday on the country site evaluate a lonely animal baby as abandoned by the mother. Some take the fawn and bring it to a wild protection station. Such animals have never a chance to come back in the nature.

Dave, applied of lonely animals it is a big difference between a bird and a mammal. Main sence of a bird is the sight while the main sense of the most mammals (except of primates) is smell and hearing.


Uwe Ludwig

1st May 2016 22:54 BSTRanger Dave

Nowhere did I say otherwise. Notice that I used the word 'most' when referring to birds. Some birds have an extraordinary sense of smell, being able to detect scents as low as a few parts per billion. Some birds have very poor eyesight. In deer, they have a sense of smell not much better than we do. The males have special receptors for certain pheromones produced by the females. Human scent on a fawn normally would not cause her to abandon the fawn. Their dichromatic vision is not much better than ours. Their visual cortex is "wired" a bit differently than ours. They are far more acute at perceiving horizontal movement - as in a predator moving at them.

My degree is in biology.

It is very popular in the USA to put "deer whistles" on our automobiles. They go on the front somewhere and the wind from driving is supposed to make them whistle at a high frequency, one that we cannot hear. The problem is that deer hear in the same frequencies that we do. If we cannot hear the whistle, neither can the deer. Besides, no one told the deer that when they hear that whistle, the one they can't hear, that they are supposed to get out of the road.

1st May 2016 23:02 BSTLarry Maltby Expert

I agree with Ranger Dave.

I think that the mother deer will return to the fawn after everyone leaves. We have about four or five fawns born near our home every spring and we observe their behavior. Typically the mother feeds her fawn early in the morning and then hides it in heavy cover all day long. The fawn has no sent and a predator cannot smell it. It will be safe as long as the predator does not visually find it. In the evening the mother returns and feed it again. We have seen this reunion many times from the windows of our house. The mother always finds the fawn without any trouble.

I am attaching this photo of a stand-off between a fawn and a turkey. It looks to me like the fawn is thinking, “what the heck is that”. I wish the turkey in the foreground had better manners.

1st May 2016 23:11 BSTPaul Brandes Manager

I think a more appropriate thought for the deer would be "well, I see this neighborhood has went to the birds!" And I wouldn't worry too much about turkey manners Larry.... I have a photo of an elk doing something that is definitely NSFM (not safe for Mindat)! :-D

2nd May 2016 08:28 BSTBruce Cairncross Expert

We were on an IMA excursion in Namibia in September 2014, looking at various pegmatites, and saw this raptor sitting on a telephone pole, on the road between the Brandberg and Henties Bay. Someone said it was a snake eagle...


9th May 2016 15:02 BSTFred E. Davis

The transit of mercury across the sun is happening today. I set up my homemade solar filter & shot a few pix. Not perfect, but still you can see a sunspot and below it, mercury. In a way, the worst eclipse ever.


10th May 2016 23:36 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


To some this may look like a mineral photo but it is a tiny Arizona plant called cryptantha that when its seeds dry and one walks with sandles, the little pieces fall off and get between ones toes. Luckily they are really small plants but it feels like tiny needles poking you and you have to get them out between your toes.

They are right about nearly everything in the desert either biting, stinging or poking you with thorns.

11th May 2016 18:28 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


These baby Round-tailed Groundsquirrels just came out of their hole right by our front door. They are fun to watch as they explore their outside world.

14th May 2016 16:49 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


The little juvenile Regal Horned Lizard is about 2 1/2 inches in size. The adults can get about the size of ones hand. This one lives right near our house and feeds on the ants here. We see it about every couple of days. They are so well camouflaged they blend right in and you only really notice them when they move.

The term Regal for the lizard comes from the full circle of horns on the back of the head. Other species vary in the number and placement of those horns.

They remind me of some of the dinosaurs that once roamed the planet.

1st Jun 2016 22:17 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


These are juvenile Shield-Legged Bugs feeding on mesquite sap. The juvenile bugs are bright red with spots to warn birds not to eat them. They concentrate the various compounds in the mesquite and are very distasteful to birds.

The bugs get to be over an inch when adults and are basically harmless to people.

Cool color spots in the green trees.

5th Jun 2016 23:03 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

We are live and reporting from Cobalt Ontario - finally have our internet connection up.

We've been getting out each night to explore our new "digs". Last night we trod the road to the Nipissing 404 high grade mill ruins. Reiner went "off road for a bit and I heard him exclaim - you know, the sound of surprise when he uncovers something remarkable mineral-wise. When I met up with him, there was a magnificent colony of yellow lady-slipper orchids. Did I take a picture? Of course not. The camera was at home.

But here is representative sample of what we can find along the roadside, usually singles or in doubles. These we found blooming in our own yard!

6th Jun 2016 00:01 BSTPat R Gould Jr.

This ia a killdeer nest I saw at US Silca mine durning a field trip with the Richmond Virginia Club last year.

10th Jun 2016 00:55 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Here are a couple of photos of my favorite native orchids here in Maine. I have many blooming in the woods behind

may house now. Wish I had some yellow ones like Maggie up in Ontario but they are very scarce around here.



12th Jun 2016 20:48 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


My wife put some chicken skin and fat out when she cooked the chicken today and we got a bit of a surprise to see what came to get it. The raven was not a surprise but the two vultures were not expected.

Ravens are always around our place and vultures are around. The vultures watch and when ravens fly down for something the vultures know there may be food and they follow. It was not much and they didn't stay long but were there long enough to get a photo through the window. Also shows how large ravens actually are next to the vultures. Crows are not in our area of S. Arizona and they are much smaller than a raven.

13th Jun 2016 18:16 BSTStephen Rose Expert

A plover nest on the floor of a barite mine in NE Nevada, Elko County, in 1985. All of the rock in the photograph is barite. One wonders why a spot with less weighty building material was not selected.



13th Jun 2016 18:38 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Did the bird pick lighter coloured stones or were they just randomly turned over to an unweathered lighter coloured side? The lighter coloured rocks might give the eggs more camoflage?

14th Jun 2016 00:51 BSTLarry Maltby Expert

The Turkey Fight.

In the spring the tom turkeys fight for mating rights. We have seen this behavior at least three times over the years. The pattern is always the same. It seems like there is always a third tom that acts as referee.

Click on the photos for a better picture.



16th Jun 2016 08:10 BSTBruce Cairncross Expert

We were in the Drakensberg Mountains a while ago (a good area to look for zeolites and agates in the basalts) and saw these:

A bald ibis

Dragonfly at one of the mountain streams

An uninvited guest hanging around our accommodation

19th Jun 2016 21:05 BSTGuy Davis (2)

I'm no herpetologist so I know nothing about the social interaction of Eastern box turtles. I've always wondered how these slow moving creatures with relatively small territories find mates. Pheromones, maybe? I thought I had found these two in some kind of courtship ritual but it was actually two males. This was exactly how I found them while on a quartz crystal collecting trip in western Baltimore County, Maryland.

20th Jun 2016 20:13 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is what I often think the dinosaurs would have actually have looked like.

This collard lizard is the largest in the US, living just outside of Palm Springs on the road to the tramway.

21st Jun 2016 00:50 BSTDennis Tryon

Here is a Gila monster found in my Tucson yard about a year ago. He wasn't very interested in posing for me and I wasn't interested in helping him as they have a nasty bite, and are quite poisonous. The poison is a potent neurotoxin, but they inject such a small amount that it is not often, if ever, fatal.

21st Jun 2016 17:17 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



This morning I walked outside before the sun came up and smelled a familiar smell. The Native Americans used to smell this flower and follow it to the plant to use the tuber as a food source. The smell can be recognized for up to a half mile away. Waited for the sun to come up for a more dramatic photo of the Night-Blooming Cereus cactus on our property.

Dennis, loved the Heloderma photo, we see them here also, 5 mi. SE of Tucson. Nice one you got a photo of.

21st Jun 2016 18:18 BSTStephen Rose Expert


We had a night blooming Cereus for years, a gift from a New England relative with a sun porch habitat for them. When the plant was blooming, the perfume was so powerful that we kept the door to the room shut and sealed the cracks with towels! We were not aware that the plant had edible parts.



21st Jun 2016 18:35 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Wanted to mention that there are a large number of "hot house" varieties of the Cereus all give the same Night-Blooming Cereus name. I do not know whether the hot house varieties are edible as the native one to Arizona. I have personally dug up a few to move them and the tubers look like giant turnips and I have accidentally cut into one and that left a piece I did taste and it was not a distinctive taste but definitely not unpleasant. The native peoples ate many things that were "edible" by their standards and I have tried many a wild food and find very few would fit into the "edible" category by the standards we look at for food today. Fresh yucca flowers are an exception. We use those every year in salads and cooking.

Noticed I had inadvertently left off a zero in where we live, actually 50 miles SE of Tucson, Dennis.

21st Jun 2016 22:24 BSTJonelle DeFelice

Geesh... I never see ANYTHING cool... even the chipmunks hide from me. Today I saw a teeny-tiny snake, and only for second. I suppose that was better than a large, mean, nasty snake!!

21st Jun 2016 23:08 BSTWayne Corwin

Should be looking for Rocks anyhow ;-)

22nd Jun 2016 15:16 BSTŁukasz Kruszewski Expert

Thanks for these numerous animal posts! That's a pity I didn't get photos of animals that I sometimes encounter when visiting the coal-minning heaps... Last time we saw a unique though tiny "fluorescent"-green spider walking on coaly shales... it just looked like a moving "alive cuprosklodowskite" :-D I've also seen a similar tiny but light orange spider living in coal-fire-formed hot char that was covering a high dump cone; seems like the poisonous gases around didn't hurt Mr. Spider.

These dumps, left free-standing, tend to get covered by dense forests in some places; one of such forest complexes (20-30 ha or more) was a home for three boars. The mining heaps permanently enter the environment; in Upper Silesia these new mountains are the highest points, and thus become home for predatory birds; there is one such special dump (in Łaziska) with a small lake on its top, and there were rumours of a potential reservation site.

27th Jun 2016 19:08 BSTDennis Tryon

Here is another I got a picture of, a roadrunner presenting us with a small snake. He came to see us with something for three days.

28th Jun 2016 00:13 BSTDon Saathoff Expert

Nice shot, Dennis. Here in Southern New Mexico our favorite birds to watch on breaks are the Roadrunners, Cactus Wrens, Flycatchers and Swallows.....great entertainment!!!!

Don S.

28th Jun 2016 14:23 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


If you have a way to watch where the roadrunner goes without scaring it you will see it has a nest close by and is bringing the snake to young. We had a nest right by a blocked off door and a bucket with drying penstemon seeds. The roadrunners decided to have their nest there and nothing we did could stop them so we let them have the nest right there by the house. The adults ran all over catching mostly lizards and we got to see all sorts of fun stuff. We could take down the bucket and look in with the adults not too worried. Fun thing was to see the three young roadrunners with long lizard tails sticking out of their mouths. The lizards were too long for the baby birds to swallow completely and so they had to digest the lizard before they could swallow the tail.

If you watch you may be able to find where the nest is.

11th Jul 2016 14:32 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



To most, these photos don't mean much. Being an ex herpetologist, they tell a story,

A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake coiled here by where I park my bicycle in an open shed to hunt for prey. Rattlesnakes don't necessarily crawl around looking for food, they find a spot with a lot of rodent "smells" and coil in a spot on the ground and wait for prey. The snake had been there last night but when I got up this morning it had already gone to its shelter spot for the day.

We often see these hunting spots the snakes leave but don't often see snakes themselves but we know they are there because of the signs.

This is in SE Arizona. We often see the tracks where the snakes have crawled in the local washes and it is easy to tell which way the snake crawled, if you know how to read the signs.


11th Jul 2016 19:56 BSTStephen Rose Expert

One of my favorite plants and a good food source for winter birds, Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolea) with fall fruit and colors. A bit toxic for mammals, however, because of contained oxalic acid. Northern flickers sometimes create a small problem as they consume the purple fruit and then roost clinging to the trim on the house and poop down the walls. It stains.

Interesting info about the snakes, Rolf.



18th Jul 2016 23:07 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


At 3pm in the afternoon today, this is the view out our kitchen window. I walked out to get a nice photo. The storm is a classic thunderhead over the Whetstone Mts. in SE Arizona.

19th Jul 2016 12:50 BSTErik Vercammen Expert


your picture shows the formation af a mineral: ice. The lower clouds have rounded forms and consists of water droplets, but there is a heavy upwards current in the cloud that carries the droplets to higher and colder heights. There they freeze, forming the mineral ice. That may reach the ground as hail, but most hail melt before reaching the ground and ends as water (= rain)

19th Jul 2016 13:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


I was thinking of mentioning that but figure many would realize that already.

We often get the actual mineral falling as hail from these storms. One I did post a while back was the ice xls that formed in the rodent hole from the breathing of the rodents inside. That was a crossover photo of mineral-animal.

This cloud was just such a nice study in form, thought people would like the photo.

Thanks for your comment Erik.


19th Jul 2016 22:29 BSTJason Evans

Went out in search of a butterfly that I have been after for a while, the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) I am happy that on my 6th attempt going to this site, which is well know as one of the best places in the UK to see them, I finally got one, unfortunately it was a female and it;s only the males which have the amazing purple colouration on their upper wings which is only seen when view from the right angle, rather like schiller on certain minerals. But never mind, I have at least seen one now! we also found a common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) a Grass snake was spotted but I missed that, and I found a Slow worm (a legless lizard) but sadlyit was dead.



21st Aug 2016 15:25 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Insect Art!

The big morning glory vine on our fence this morning was in the shade and I saw the skeletonizer insects had been at work. To me the few leaves that had been eaten beneath them made for art and not damage.

22nd Aug 2016 20:58 BSTGeorge Creighton


Norwegian ( universal ) lichen

22nd Aug 2016 21:03 BSTGeorge Creighton



22nd Aug 2016 21:07 BSTGeorge Creighton


Oil beetle

27th Aug 2016 19:27 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Becker's white butterfly on thistle, Northern Washoe County, Nevada. August, 2016

Young Cooper's hawk on birdbath, August 27, 2016. The quail and songbirds usually hanging out near this water were not happy to see this visitor this morning.


Photographs by RoseGraphics/Teri Rose

4th Sep 2016 18:40 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Early Fall in Northern Nevada.....Sedum, variety "Autumn Joy," is always a favorite this time of year.



4th Sep 2016 19:18 BSTBob Harman

An American Bald Eagle in a tree near Jackson, Wyoming and the American Elk Refuge in winter also near Jackson, Wyoming. Finally, our dogs surveying the scene that winter from our place in Jackson, Wyoming. CHEERS.....BOB



4th Sep 2016 19:41 BSTBob Harman

Two pix of a moose in the yard. Like deer in many parts of the country, moose have invaded the yards of housing subdivisions in mountainous parts of Western North America. Unlike deer which are shy and will run off if approached, moose are often aggressive. They will charge anyone who might approach one and, being large massive animals, can inflict major injuries or death to the unfortunate individual. CHEERS.....BOB


4th Sep 2016 20:29 BSTBob Harman

Several deer in our back yard, Bloomington Indiana, winter 2014.

Urbanized deer have become a widespread nuisance in the suburbs of many US cities. Not only have deer populations exploded, but now coyotes, foxes, and skunks are increasingly common in backyards. These are in addition to long time increasing populations of rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and other small rodents. Landscaping and bird feeders have attracted increasing numbers of birds, but unfortunately, several messy trash bird species have increased as well. These include starlings, blackbirds, crows and pigeons.

In Indiana extirpation of the forests and unregulated hunting wiped out Black Bear populations in the 1850s thru 1870, but in 2015 and early 2016, the first 2 well documented sightings of Black Bear since 1871 were reported. The first sighting was of a wanderer down from Michigan and 6 months later a second sighting in southern Indiana was of a wanderer up from western Kentucky. Black Bear are curious wanderers and populations are increasing. Sightings should become more common within the next several years. CHEERS......BOB


6th Sep 2016 19:59 BSTjeff yadunno




7th Sep 2016 11:44 BSTJerry Cone Expert


These barrel cactus flowers were found at one of the collecting sites in the Red Hills area of the Derry District in New Mexico.

7th Sep 2016 13:11 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


One day old grosbeak young in our SE Arizona yard.

8th Sep 2016 11:29 BSTjeff yadunno


8th Sep 2016 15:54 BSTjeff yadunno




9th Sep 2016 01:53 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


On a rainy morning trip to the Chiricahua Mts. in SE Arizona there were white-tailed deer all over. They stood right by the road while you stopped and took photos and talked to them. Saw more than a dozen along a 5 mile stretch of road.

I had posted a baby grosbeak nest photo a few back and we finally saw the male to identify which one it is, it is a Blue Grosbeak with babies.

11th Sep 2016 14:59 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is another one from my herpetologist background.

We have gophers and there was one in front of our place I kept seeing the mounds. I didn't yet get to the setting a gopher trap but as I will explain in the photo, a gopher snake did the job for me.

I saw the fresh mound and then the indentations of a snake track going in and out. From my background I know it was a gopher snake and not a rattlesnake and the snake did its namesake job.

I raked the mounds flat and have been watching for a few days now to see if more mounds appeared.

Seems the gopher was gotten by the snake and is gone now. It the snake didn't get it, it drove it so far away it is no longer in the area but I think it got eaten.


11th Sep 2016 15:34 BSTKyle Beucke


I think "oil beetle" is a common name used for the family Meloidae, but the beetle in your photograph is almost certainly a ground beetle (family Carabidae). I am an entomologist, so I should know this!



11th Sep 2016 16:40 BSTDoug Schonewald

Mount Washington, Ferry Co., Washington, USA

Yearling Mule Deer

11th Sep 2016 17:39 BSTLarry Maltby Expert


Your photo of the bog shows a cluster of “Pitcher Plants”. They are carnivorous plants that eat insects. Check it out on Google. They are shaped like a vase and have down pointing hairs lining the inside. They are partially filled with water and insects that inter the plant can’t get out. They drown and are ingested by the plant. When I was a boy I found some poking up through snow in the winter time. I found that the water inside the “vase” was frozen. In the clear ice at the top were whole black ants. Below that was a zone of ant parts that graded into black dust going down into the plant.

12th Sep 2016 21:35 BSTGeorge Creighton

Kyle Beucke Wrote:


> George,


> I think "oil beetle" is a common name used for the

> family Meloidae, but the beetle in your photograph

> is almost certainly a ground beetle (family

> Carabidae). I am an entomologist, so I should

> know this!


> Cheers,


> Kyle

Hi Kyle

Bow to your superior knowledge with reverence to your skills.

cannot find this bug here.................

But here

this bug is nearest




My post from another forum

"" Spotted this beast of an oil beetle over 3 cm long, luckily very slow moving. Think its a Meloe type but as there are numerous varieties have labeled it " unknown oil beetle "

12th Sep 2016 23:01 BSTKyle Beucke

Greetings George,

Here are some shots of beetles in the family Carabidae:

I am near certain your photo is a carabid. Might be in the genus Carabus (looks superficially like it, anyways). With hundreds of thousands of species of beetles, there are a lot of things that look similar, but I am not budging with the family :)

The gestalt appearance is what gave it away, but two characters, 1. The separation of the first abdominal sternite by the hind coxae (first segment of the legs) and 2. The presence of a notopleural suture on the prothorax, are some of the ones that are used to identify the Adephaga (suborder of Coleoptera that contains Carabidae but not Meloidae). Would be tough to see these in the photo, though.


15th Sep 2016 10:52 BSTjeff yadunno

Hi Larry,

yes i knew they were pitcher plants but thank you for the visual of the digestion process!

there were also sundews all around the lakes as well....

saw these on a hike through killarney, ontario...

each night we would camp near a lake and most of them had carnivorous plants

the lakes are slightly acidic

pic from the hike:



17th Sep 2016 13:43 BSTjeff yadunno

picture doesnt do it justice

lots of starlings? overhead this morning


17th Sep 2016 14:38 BSTDoug Schonewald

while trimming and cleaning specimens this Chinese Mantis was running around on my patio. He was quite irritated that I decided to take his photo.

17th Sep 2016 16:42 BSTTimothy Greenland

T.D.S. - I would suspect that it was a she, not a he...



18th Sep 2016 02:16 BSTDoug Schonewald


You are correct! She laid eggs today on my fence and is still there. I haven't googled it but by her behavior I think they lay their eggs and die. Not unlike salmon.

20th Sep 2016 18:52 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Just went out to go to our compost and while passing my trimming table outside, these two Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes were mating.

Have only seen that a couple of times before on our place. Being a herpetologist I love seeing this. We have them living with us on our place and know they are there.

When they are mating they are so occupied one can get quite close to get great photos.

21st Sep 2016 07:08 BSTMartin Rich Expert

My first try in photographing plants.

Großer Wiesenknopf/great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis).

Rotklee/red clover (Trifolium pratense).

21st Sep 2016 11:28 BSTHarald Schillhammer Expert

George Creighton Wrote:


> >

> Oil beetle

George, that is not an oil beetle (Meloidae) but a groundbeetle. Its name is Carabus coriaceus.

Nice capture, though.

21st Sep 2016 17:13 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


For a "first" attempt at flower photos, very nice photos. You may have a new career ahead.

I have posted a photo of the Night-Blooming Cereus cactus flower before but the fruit are hard to catch before the critters eat them.

Found this one on our property.

The first photo is of the one side, second of the other side where birds are in the process of spreading the seeds.


21st Sep 2016 17:51 BSTDoug Schonewald

Wild Tiger Lilly and Avalanche Lily from Mt Rainier NP area. Dry land Mariposa Lily from Grant County, WA

Tiger Lily

Avalanche Lily

Mariposa Lily

21st Sep 2016 18:43 BSTGeorge Creighton

Thanks Kyle and Harald for beetle info and type:)-D

Think I will stick to minerals in the future:-D



22nd Sep 2016 07:47 BSTWolfgang Hampel Expert


This is a picture of an armoured bush cricket (Acanthoplus discoidalis) taken at the Cobra tungsten copper mine near the Mutandahwe Complex in SE Zimbabwe (not yet on Mindat). It is a pretty common species in southern Africa and has a number of different defence mechanisms (taken from Wikipedia):

“Acanthoplus discoidalis has several defensive mechanisms apart from the armoured exoskeleton. Their defence takes various forms, depending on the gender of the individual and the method of attack.

When attacked from the side, both males and females will attempt to bite the attacker and males will stridulate (females have no functional stridulatory mechanism). In about half the attacks from the side, either gender may autohaemorrhage, squirting between 5 mg and 80 mg of possibly toxic haemolymph at the attacker at ranges of up to 3 cm.

When attacked from above, and therefore not in a good position to bite the attacker, either gender will autohaemorrhage more than when attacked from the side."

24th Sep 2016 15:49 BSTjeff yadunno


25th Sep 2016 21:34 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



These are the flowers of the Devil's Claw plant we have in SE Arizona. The flowers are larger than my thumb and have a very nice fragrance. They can be from yellow, as in the first one, to a bit orange, second one.

There is a different species that is also in the area with a more lavender flower but this is the one that was blooming now.

27th Sep 2016 06:07 BSTMartin Rich Expert

Thanks Rolf for the kind words! Maybe I become a good plant-photographer and I earn a lot of money for my photos, so I will spend this money for goodies for my mineral collection. ;-)

This is a wesp spider (Argiope bruennichi). Originally this spider was widespread in the southern part of Europe. During the last 50 years, this spider expanded his habidat nearly across whole Europe caused by higher temperatures (especially in winter). Diameter of the spider about 4 cm. Not a very good photo, because I made it about a half hour before sunset and the lightning condition was some tricky.

27th Sep 2016 13:25 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Alles in ordnung!

This photo we took in a place called Happy Valley in the Rincon Mts. of SE Arizona. Funny thing is they were in "Turkey Creek" and we saw turkeys there the last time we were there too.

27th Sep 2016 13:30 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This fungus was about a foot across the cluster. On old burned out oak tree and I had not seen them before and don't know what kind they are. Sure stood out with their bright color.

Also in Happy Valley where the previous photo was taken.

1st Oct 2016 18:06 BSTBob Harman

The Mourning Cloak butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa, also known as the Camberwell Beauty in the UK is native to Eurasia and North America. This one was pictured on the shore of Monroe Reservoir Indiana in August of 2013. CHEERS.....BOB


2nd Oct 2016 15:03 BSTjeff yadunno


one clam, middle low is on the move

3rd Oct 2016 02:31 BSTjeff yadunno

turkey vultures eating a dead salmon and playing with my camera




3rd Oct 2016 03:29 BSTAndrew Debnam

neat photo Jeff, what is the location?


3rd Oct 2016 11:31 BSTjeff yadunno

Bond Head, south of Newcastle, ON.

i almost posted in the identity help section, some rocks from this beach.

i scouted it out on the way home from a friends cottage and i have been back several times since

looking for surf/kiting spots but found cool rocks instead (had a great kite session on saturday!)

i didnt post though because i have not done any hardness tests etc and experienced people

on here have said they have unknown minerals in their own collections to figure out...

dont want to waste peoples time

i also almost started a thread on beach collecting although i am sure there is one already, just need to find it

i also almost started a thread on rock collections... like yardrocks or beach rock

i plan on having a cobble beach with colourful rocks at my property so i have a little pile going...

so yeah i have found peristerite (i think) at this beach and other really interesting rocks that almost look like agates

i will take some pictures soon and post them somewhere.....

3rd Oct 2016 16:27 BSTToby Seim

Always running into these guys in Washington State!

3rd Oct 2016 18:17 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager


Keep them safe because in a few decades, they will be extinct, like most species on earth, except man.

The only species who will maintain, are Politicians Sp.



3rd Oct 2016 19:39 BSTToby Seim

No worries. I always give earth's creatures and most plant life the highest respect.

3rd Oct 2016 22:21 BSTJohn Dagenais Expert

A majestic Male California Quail viewing his surroundings from the top of a dirt mound near Duncan on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. Not native to BC, they were introduced in the late 18 hundreds as a game species. They are presently doing well and now can be found in many areas of BC.

7th Oct 2016 22:31 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

it's autumn here in Northern Ontario - this is a view of the ruins of the Cobalt Lake Mine - Cobalt Lake in the foreground and Mother Nature in the background.

8th Oct 2016 04:24 BSTJuno (Amy Phillips)

I am rereading " A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold and this thread made me very happy. Last week I sugared a tree and several Rosy Maple Moths came to feed. It was quite lovely and made me feel like I was in "A Girl of the Limberlost."

“We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Aldo Leopold

9th Oct 2016 14:08 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert

Here is a weird fungus that I saw, in the woods, while collecting in the Gibson Road East area, near Wilberforce, Ontario. About a foot across and four metres up the tree trunk.

David K Joyce

9th Oct 2016 14:41 BSTBob Harman

DAVID, Are you sure that this is a fungus? Your picture of the tree trunk suggests a tumor spreading and splaying out the adjacent trunk structures. Plants, including tree trunks are susceptible to cancer. Much like a burl on a redwood tree. One major difference in cancers in animals and cancers in plants is that the cancers in plants do not usually spread (metastasize) and therefore do not materially affect the whole plant. The reason the cancers in plants don't metastasize is a difference in their individual and whole plant cell structures. CHEERS.....BOB

9th Oct 2016 15:23 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert

Bob, I have no idea what it really is. I have assumed it is a fungus. It is natural curiosity, though, and this is a nature thread!

David K. Joyce

9th Oct 2016 15:39 BSTWayne Corwin

Dave, Bob

I also have seen this wierd fungus here in Massachusetts, USA, there are 5 of them on this tree ;-)

Maybe this tree is Real Real sick and these aliens from space came here to make the tree well again?

9th Oct 2016 15:58 BSTBob Harman

Yes, I am really not sure what it is. Tumor vs tree trunk fungus (most fungi grow on rotting or damaged areas of plants, yet this one seems to grow on otherwise healthy appearing areas of tree trunks ???). Certainly very interesting. CHEERS.....BOB

9th Oct 2016 16:10 BSTWayne Corwin


Yes, the tree seems real healthy, and they feel like some kind of mushroom.

9th Oct 2016 16:54 BSTulrike kullik (2)

It is the Northern Tooth Fungus ( Climacodon septentrionale. Quit comon if you look up and not down ,hunting minerals.


9th Oct 2016 17:02 BSTulrike kullik (2)


A group of Jack O'Latern (Omphalotus olearius) Beautiful ,but deadly poisonous.

9th Oct 2016 17:38 BSTMaggie Wilson Expert

Nice captures, Ulrike!

9th Oct 2016 18:35 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert


Your Northern Tooth fungus is actually quite different from the ones in mine and Wayne's photo's. Is it a different fungus or just photographed in a different time of that fungus' life cycle?

Love your Jack O'Lantern image.

David K. Joyce

9th Oct 2016 18:59 BSTulrike kullik (2)

The photo was done in a earlier stage of growing, but they can look different. The one you posted is a perfect one.

12th Oct 2016 02:56 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Going through some of my old photos I came across this unknown frog species from Mazatlán Mexico I took photos of because of the cool eye pattern.


12th Oct 2016 03:14 BSTMatt Courville

I'm loving the mushrooms:-D Here is what I remember to be one of the Boletus genus mushrooms that I snapped a photo of while hiking, and yes collecting a few minerals/rocks in the Adirondack high peaks, New York State this past early September. It was a huge one, approximately as large as my hand. This year's weather allowed for mushrooms to thrive better than average.

My wife's family traditionally picks all of the edible wild mushrooms and make interesting meals with them. After much apprehension at first, I trusted their skills and remain un-poisoned so far......

12th Oct 2016 06:01 BSTJoel Dyer

Nice pictures again of various animals, scenery and (mmm...!) mushrooms. I, too, have eaten dozens of different wild fungi and am still chugging along fine :-) . But you do have to be careful and know what you're doing; been picking myself for decades now (Finland, UK, Canada).

After having researched the medicinal / nutritional usage of mushrooms a lot, I took a liking to pick and carefully clean and prepare "chaga" - inonotus olbiquus or pakurikääpä in Finnish - when on rock trips or otherwise roaming in the many forest areas of Finland.

Here's a picture of some hard, large chaga growth on an old birch, a particularly good find with a total of 8 kg of usable material. It is however, is only usable so long as the tree is still alive and not overtaken by other fungus. Chaga has many self-defence systems to chemically+antibiotically keep away the birch's defense mechanisms and attack methods of other fungi, but its life, too, will eventually run out & spores spread to other trees by the wind.


13th Oct 2016 04:53 BSTJohn Truax

Mushrooms with mineral nick names

sulfur shelf mushroons


amethyst deceiver mushrooms

17th Oct 2016 02:16 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Just got in from walking our dogs as the sun was setting and this fellow was by our shed. It is a baby Long-Nosed Snake, just new this year, only about 9 or 10 inches long. I tried to get a photo of it on the ground but it would not sit still. When I picked it up it coiled in my hand and hid its head to protect it. Gave me a good chance to take a photo, not natural background but what can you do.

19th Oct 2016 19:49 BSTStephen Rose Expert

A fine example of Salsola kragus (Russian thistle) from Humboldt County, Nevada. This European import now populates much of the Western US. The picture of the seed seems to illustrate the prickly nature of this tumbleweed.




21st Oct 2016 21:16 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Noticed Bob posted a Mourning Cloak earlier. This Cloudless Sulphur Phoebis sennae showed up on our deck while doing some painting. Sat still so I could get this photo.

29th Oct 2016 23:10 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


I don't normally think of snails in SE Arizona but they are here. This one had climbed up the side of our house and dried out there. I took it inside and got a photo under the microscope of its pretty patterns.

30th Oct 2016 01:10 GMTGuy Davis (2)


I was snapping a photo of this big Case blue beryl and this little mantis photo bombed me.

31st Oct 2016 15:32 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Sometimes it is nice to get up before the sun does and this morning was a "pastel" morning.


31st Oct 2016 16:39 GMTFred E. Davis

Beautiful, Rolf! Here's one from last August in New Hampshire just before sunrise.

3rd Nov 2016 14:09 GMTjeff yadunno



5th Nov 2016 13:32 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



Down in Baja Calif. Mexico a number of years ago, sand dunes were a great place to look for tracks. The first photo I followed the track and it belonged to a Patch-Nosed Snake.

The second was a beetle and didn't find the one that made the track.

Sand dunes are fun places when they are pristine with only the wild animal tracks.


6th Nov 2016 17:48 GMTjeff yadunno

i saw some similar tracks recently




6th Nov 2016 23:11 GMTDon Saathoff Expert




We call this a "Christmas Cactus" although it blooms in November, not December, and it's not a cactus, its a succulant. The flowers always remind me of various water fowl (especially cranes) coming into the Bosque on their way down to the coast - taking a break.....

Don S.

7th Nov 2016 15:57 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Beetle larval tracks in oak was interesting. Hard part is to get them to do their tunneling in shapes we can recognize.

7th Nov 2016 15:59 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


This one was done in bark and must say, they did a nice job recreating our alien visitors.

28th Nov 2016 22:24 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

This Sea Anemone was photographed in 1979 at Glacier Bay Alaska. It was found at low tide in a shallow pool on the beach about one foot below the surface of the water. I wondered if the anemone could be induced to feed. The only thing nearby was a clutch of black mussels clinging to a rock. I pulled off one and dropped it onto the tentacles. The anemone grabbed the mussel pulled it into the central mouth and after a minute or so spit out the empty shells. We feed it another five or six before continuing our hike down the beach.

29th Nov 2016 02:12 GMTDavid K. Joyce Expert

Now THAT is cool! Wonder how it opens the mussel shell?!

David K. Joyce

29th Nov 2016 03:20 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

David, there is a lot of information on the web about anemones. They sometimes eat mussels, snails, barnacles, and fish. If something touches the tentacles a stinger fires out of the tentacle and stuns the prey with a toxin. You can find a video of an anemone eating a fish. The mouth leads to a muscular stalk but the body is soft so it is hard to figure out how the shell is opened. Is the mussel articulate and strong enough to accomplish the task? Is there some chemistry that acts on the hinge of the shell? In this case the procedure was relatively fast. We did not spend a lot of time there.

3rd Dec 2016 12:52 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

A picture of a Marbled Emperor (Heniocha dyops) taken yesterday outside the RHA Tungsten Mine in Zimbabwe:

3rd Dec 2016 13:40 GMTReiner Mielke Expert

Hello Wolfgang,

What a beauty! Looks different from the one pictured here:

Is that because it is a male?

3rd Dec 2016 14:49 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Not too sure, Reiner. There are over 1000 different moths here in Zimbabwe and the Marbled Emperor seems to include several sub-species, a "southern" from KwaZulu-Natal, others are found in Angola, Kenia, Tanzania, Botswana...all are a bit different. Perhaps there is a Zimbabwean sub-species? Wildlife in this part of Zimbabwe is incredibly rich, the RHA Mine is just a few hundreds of meters from the Hwange National Park and the fence is gone since long. That's why I have to chase lions from "my" outcrops from time to time. Before we had fenced in the mine camp, elephants were regular visitors walking through the camp. We even have Painted Dogs here, very rare anywhere else in Africa but quite abundant in our bush.

3rd Dec 2016 14:53 GMTulrike kullik (2)

Early walk this morning with the dogs.

In early winter if conditions are right i find this beautiful hair ice on my property.

Hair ice is fungus related.



4th Dec 2016 16:19 GMTJason Evans

Our second attempt of seeing the short eared owls drew a blank, we missed them by 30 minutes! but this kestrel was a nice consolation

4th Dec 2016 16:39 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

Wolfgang – Great detail!

Jason – Wings up and in flight – Wow!

4th Dec 2016 19:07 GMTJason Evans

This bizarre looking fungus is Aseroe rubra commonly called the anemone stinkhorn. It is native to New Zealand, Australia and a few other places in the southern hemisphere.

In the northern hemisphere it is very rare, in fact this particular site in the UK is one of the only known northern hemisphere occurrence in the of them (outside of greenhouses) I think it has been found in one or 2 sites in North America since these were first found.

4th Dec 2016 19:14 GMTJason Evans

2 Elephant hawk moths a Poplar hawk moth and a Swallow tailed moth

4th Dec 2016 19:19 GMTJason Evans

These Burnished brass moths are lovely with their metallic gold markings

10th Dec 2016 18:59 GMTBecky Coulson Expert

Tree frog in Florida, hiding behind a downspout. 11/2015

11th Dec 2016 19:46 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


While visiting a friend in Hawaii at the University of Hawaii campus I was walking and saw this Mindanau Gum, a variety of eucalyptus tree. I had never seen bark as beautiful as the bark from this tree and I have taken a lot of bark photos but for color and patterns this one is my favorite.

Love this thread, great photos of things I have seen and most I have not, great to share here.


11th Dec 2016 21:04 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



Going through more photos and found a completely different bark photo, one of Saguaro Cactus bark in Organ Pipe National Monument.

The second one is of an Agave leaf that was just unfolding in the Sierra De Los Alamos in Mexico.

11th Dec 2016 21:15 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert




I was looking at the stinkhorn mushroom you had the photo of and I knew I had taken photos of one and they were in Hawaii in Kokee State Park on Kauai in 1982. It certainly was an odd fungus to find.

Yours, by the way, looks stinkier than the one I found.

12th Dec 2016 00:27 GMTClifford Trebilcock


Here is a photo of a pileated woodpecker that has become a fairly regular visitor to my window bird feeder

in Phippsburg,Maine. These are one of the largest woodpeckers in North America. The suet feeder mesh is

one inch for scale.

Cliff Trebilcock

12th Dec 2016 23:52 GMTJason Evans

Hi Rolf, nice to see another Aseroe rubra from another Northern Hemisphere locality. I find they are not as smelly as our more well known stinkhorn Phallus impudicus which we just call the Stinkhorn, You can often smell those from quite a distance away!

13th Dec 2016 00:55 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



This is the smellier Stinkhorn mushroom I found in Bisbee Arizona back in 1981 and it did have quite a smell.

I have always loved mushrooms and have quite a few photos of them. Ate from 21 different species over the years and am still here. A really good book is very important if you try eating mushrooms since one bite of the wrong species can be deadly.

13th Dec 2016 00:58 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


I have one more mushroom, a tooth fungus, which is edible, I wanted to post a photo since it looked to me like a mineral, cave aragonite or calcite I have seen underground in Bisbee. This Tooth Fungus is from the Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona.

13th Dec 2016 22:46 GMTJason Evans

Hello again Rolf, yes picking mushrooms for consumption can be a little risky unless you are very confident in your ability to identify them. I have been picking and eating wild mushrooms since i was 18, I am now 40 so I think i am doing OK! I have a simple philosophy that unless I am 100% certain on the id of a wild mushroom, I wont eat it. I have found it best to stick with a few species which would be very hard to misidentify, one of my favourite edible mushrooms to pick is Coprinus comatus, we call it shaggy ink cap or lawyers wig here in the UK but I think you have another name for it in the US (shaggy mane?) There is not really any chance of misidentifying those, and I quite enjoy the flavour of them, some fungi are considered edible but are rather tasteless so I don't see the point of eating those.

I live close to an area called the New Forest which has been a very popular place for people to collect mushrooms for consumption but they have recently banned any mushroom collecting in the forest, which is a shame.

I found these today, whilst checking out a new location for bird spotting. Velvet shank - Flammulina velutipes , these are edible but I did not bother collecting any.

13th Dec 2016 23:42 GMTRyan Allen

I chase morels for at least 3 weeks a year. This past spring was a disaster due to very low buyer prices and intense insects. Chaga season has come early due to all the cold weather and its time to strap on the snow shoes and get into the birch.


Here is one from my flower patch this past summer:


14th Dec 2016 14:33 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



I seem to have started a sub thread with fungi here. Yes, we have the Shaggy Mane here, right on our property.

The photo here has a little story to it. I have a friend who was giving a talk on varieties of gypsum one time and asked to use many of my photos from the St. David area of Arizona. I have just about every kind of gypsum from here in photos. I gave her a bunch of photos and also photos of collecting trips to the places the roses are in place still.

One trip to an area I took a hike and found the Soil Fungus in the photo. On the particular trip group of photos I had not labeled the individual photos and my friend, having picked some of the "sand roses" we have also, choose this photo as an example of sand roses in place.

She gave her talk and it went very well. When she stopped to visit she brought the flash drive with her talk.

When I was looking at the show I saw this photo as one that showed the sand roses in place. I really had to smile and told her that she was using a fungus photo thinking it was gypsum. Nobody caught it but the sand roses do look almost exactly like this.

Funny mistake but no real harm done. Only someone very familiar with this area of gypsum would ever know.

14th Dec 2016 14:37 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Thought I should post a sand rose so you can see how similar they do look.

18th Dec 2016 22:53 GMTBob Harman

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a large reptile commonly found in various watery and swampy situations in the southeastern states of the US. This 8' example was seen by us in the Ding Darling nature preserve on Sanibel Island, Fla in April of this year. Often times they lie motionless at the water's edge. If they are approached too closely they can become agitated and become quickly aggressive. Just after we took this photo, from a safe distance, another photographer approached the gator too closely and it sprang into life hissing at him and then splashed into the water. CHEERS.....BOB

18th Dec 2016 23:35 GMTBob Harman

San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge area, experiences a special kind of fog each afternoon virtually every warm and clear summer day. The inland areas heat up and as the warm air rises, the cold waters of the bay cool the layer of air right above it. This cool air can't hold the moisture and it turns into fog. As the cool air moves inland replacing the warmer rising inland air, the fog dissipates. July 2011. CHEERS.....BOB



25th Dec 2016 16:32 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


This Western Woodhouse's Toad lived in our greenhouse and garden for a number of years. When we first found the toad it had a severely injured right front foot and when it tried to hop it fell over every time. My wife put it in our greenhouse and started feeding it mealworms. It lived with us for many years and got quite fat for a toad. I had a friend who is a herpetologist complain we were making it obese.

One year it got out of the greenhouse and kept going to the gate to the garden to get out. It was a wet summer and I knew it wanted to mate and fulfill what it was here for. I called my wife out and we opened the gate and off it went. By now it did just fine with its damaged front foot and hopped like a normal toad. We were both sad to see it go but we knew the urge it had to mate was strong and we had to "let go". We never did see it again but we do have a few photos of it. Came across this one today in my folders and thought we post it.

Merry Christmas

25th Dec 2016 17:08 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


This photo was in Sedona in 1981 and was a lucky shot with the sky and the sky jewelry thanks to a high flying airliner.

25th Dec 2016 19:50 GMTPaul De Bondt Manager

Rolf, that toad looks like Jabba The Hut:-D

28th Dec 2016 18:36 GMTGuy Davis (2)

Can any mycophile/mycologist identify this mushroom for me? Seen in Meshomasic State Forest in Connecticut June 2015.

28th Dec 2016 19:09 GMTulrike kullik (2)

Ganoderma lucidum

Lacquered Polypore

A beautiful Bracket Fungi

3rd Jan 2017 12:16 GMTGerhard Niklasch Expert

Happy 2017 everyone!

...Lumpers and splitters trying to shift the terminology in one direction or the other; traditional species names beloved by collectors and vendors alike falling victim to modern high-tech lab analysis methods... sound familiar? Well, it all applies to the Cactaceae, too.

Here's a Myrtillocactus schenckii, seen looking down the c axis, which seems to have taken some inspiration from a few quartz crystals nearby (outside the field of view):



13th Jan 2017 14:16 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

A picture of a carrion flower (Stapelia gigantea) taken today at the RHA Tungsten Mine in NW Zimbabwe. The flower has an impressive diameter of approximately 25cm. As beautiful as these flowers are, their smell of rotting flesh is just terrible. Mainly flies get attracted to the flowers.

13th Jan 2017 14:39 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Great to see the Stapelia in its natural habitat. I had one in a planter and when it bloomed I had to take it out to the greenhouse, too much in the house.

They are an amazing plant, never know from just the foliage what is to come. You are right, ours attracted a lot of flies as well.

Sure love this thread and looking at all the people see all over the world.


13th Jan 2017 15:04 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert


Here is another Stapelia from around the mine, though a very small one. The flowers have a diameter of just 3cm.


13th Jan 2017 15:35 GMTWolfgang Hampel Expert

Sorry Rolf, I have just looked it up. The picture above is not a Stapelia, though closely related, but a Huernia verekeri.

13th Jan 2017 16:35 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


I like the second one, very nice!

If I remember right, we had two species also but it was long ago we can't remember which species we had if they were in the same genus or not. I think it was about 25 years ago we had those.

So nice to see them in their natural habitat.

13th Jan 2017 16:41 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



Found the photo of the one we had. Similar to the species you took the photo of but since it was a gift and the people gave it away because of the smell of the flowers, they didn't tell me what genus and species it was. I was much more into the native plants of our area and never really researched the one we had. Flower was a bit more compact that your native photo.

13th Jan 2017 17:03 GMTBruce Cairncross Expert


Following on your Stapelia thread. I took this photo just before sunset at Ameib Ranch, in the foothills of Erongo Mountain, Namibia, in September 2014. There's a fly in the one flower, attracted by the rotten smell:

13th Jan 2017 21:31 GMTDoug Schonewald

Since the upper half of the N American continent is locked in snow and ice this is appropriate. I suppose it could pass as a mineral but I just have problems with that.



31st Jan 2017 13:35 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Opened my door a couple of nights ago to see if we had clouds or clear skies and fortunately I turn the light on first and don't just swing the door wide but look out first and this guy or gal was right at the door.

Next day the Hognose Skunk was out feeding on some bones we had tossed out. Only thing I saw as that it stopped every half minute to scratch its fleas. Poor thing. I wanted my wife to give it a flea bath and she said no problem if I went and grabbed it.

We are fortunate in our SE Arizona corner to have all 4 skunk species here.

3rd Feb 2017 19:54 GMTGeorge Creighton


Sunset from beach near sola airport rogaland norway:-)


12th Feb 2017 23:01 GMTStephen Rose Expert

I may have posted these pictures some time ago, but I came across them and today and thought, "what the heck."

Cedar waxwings at water.

Spotted towhee after chipping ice.


14th Feb 2017 01:53 GMTjeff yadunno

i have wanted to see a cedar waxwing for a long time...

today i saw a bunch of them feeding on berries

i was a bit jealous when i saw youre pic but now i feel redeemed!

16th Feb 2017 19:03 GMTGeorge Creighton


Winter snap from Norway


17th Feb 2017 02:51 GMTDon Windeler

This one may fall outside the thread parameters because it was not taken on an excursion with any relation to minerals, but it's still pretty cool. A couple of years back my wife signed up for a mushroom education / collecting trip to take place an hour or so north of San Francisco. On the final morning they got all the finds together and the world-renowned expert in charge talked about everything and whether it was good to eat, likely to kill you, or might make you see things that weren't actually there.

This pic is of my daughter, age 9 at the time, with a distinctive find from the trip. It is not Photoshopped and is held only a little away from her body. Supposedly it is good to eat, but this one was a bit far gone...



17th Feb 2017 13:45 GMTReiner Mielke Expert

Now that's a mushroom! What species is it Don?

22nd Feb 2017 01:12 GMTjeff yadunno

yeah great pic Don

my nephews love looking for mushrooms when we are walking in the woods

they both reacted with a lot of whoa!!'s when they saw the pic!

here is a pic of the cedar waxwings i saw


5th Mar 2017 01:31 GMTDon Windeler

Sorry, got distracted by some bright, shiny object and missed updating this thread as it rolled by.

My wife didn't write down the specific species, but it's some kind of bolete. The underside of the cap of boletes have little pores like a sponge, rather than the gills I usually associate with mushrooms.

We've had a lot of rain this year and last month we saw a bunch of mushrooms popping up in a local park. They were tan with purplish highlights and lavender gills; after much checking and doublechecking we determined they were wood blewits, an edible species. Tasted pretty good sauteed, though the second batch when we went back a week later was kinda strong.



6th Mar 2017 00:03 GMTRory Howell

Ruby Marsh - Typical "wide open" Nevada

6th Mar 2017 00:20 GMTRory Howell

Traffic on Nevada Hwy 290

The range they had just brought them from - Aspens in the Santa Rosa Mountains

27th Apr 2017 16:57 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Columbine we just took this photo of.

Love this thread and all the interesting photos.

27th Apr 2017 18:22 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Things are green and trimmed, but we are still waiting for our summer garden.....

27th Apr 2017 19:09 BSTMichael Harwell

A few pictures: a Mountain Lion and a Red Tailed Hawk taken in the Santa Cruz Mountains and a picture of the central coast in California.



1st May 2017 18:58 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Stephen thought I should post this story for all to enjoy.

It revolves around the Cedar Wax Wings photo he posted. When I lived in California back in the 1960's we had a lawn in our front yard. There was a big Pyracantha bush there too and one year it was full of ripe fruit that had gotten overripe and were falling off the plant. A flock of Cedar Wax Wings flew in one day and had been feeding on the berries. When I went out front there was a lawn full of wabbling birds that were falling down all over the place. They had eaten the fermenting berries and were drunk as can be. You could walk up to them and when they tried to fly they only flopped down on their sides and looked completely dazed. I would pick one up and it fell over in my hand. One tried to fly and slammed into the house and broke its neck. I decided it was time for me to leave before more accidents happened. I picked up the freshly dead bird and since I was a herpetologist at the time and had a number of live rattlesnakes that I fed with mice. Since snakes also eat birds and mine were used to eating freshly dead things I dangled the bird in front of one of my rattlesnakes and it struck the bird quickly. I left the bird in front of the snake and it swallowed it in no time. Since snakes don't move much after a meal but coil up and rest I always wondered if eating a drunk bird had actually gotten the snake drunk too but no way to know. The birds on the lawn got over their being drunk and eventually flew off after wabbling around in the yard for a while. Never saw that again.

1st May 2017 22:36 BSTWayne Corwin


LOL ! That must have been fun to watch, wish I had seen that.

I had a friend call me one morning,,, "Can you come over, I have a dead Bear in my apple tree!"

When I checked it,,, it was just drunk and hanging over a couple branches where it had passed out.

We sat on the deck having coffee till an hour later when it fell out of the tree on it's head,, got up and wandered into several trees trying to get back into the woods before passing out again. I think it must have slept for most of the day before leaving.

1st May 2017 22:46 BSTJason Evans

A group of early purple orchids (Orchis mascula) in woodland, Hampshire UK

1st May 2017 22:50 BSTJason Evans

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

7th May 2017 22:24 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This Gopher Snake is a gravid female and was digging a hole to lay eggs on our property in SE Arizona today. They dig with the head and make a close coil with the head to pull out the soil and then rebury the eggs after laying.

Good to see this big female since we have gophers. Posted a previous photo with a gopher mound open and a snake track leading in and out, maybe even this same snake.

8th May 2017 15:05 BSTLarry Maltby Expert


Here is my story about a gopher snake. My wife and I were returning from a western trip in the early 70’s and we were driving along the route of the Oregon Trail in Nebraska. As we passed Chimney Rock, one of the famous land marks on the Trail, I noticed a gravel road that approached the Rock within about ½ mile and I decided that I would try to hike over to the Rock for some close-up pictures. I parked the car and noticed that the drainage ditch at the side of the gravel road was filled with scrub vegetation and looked very “snakey”. Unfortunately, I don’t have your rapport with snakes. I did not have clear view of the trail so I found a long stick and probed the brush as I crossed the ditch. Happily, nothing rattled and I was feeling better about this hike. On the other side was a narrow trail lined on both sides with sage brush and I started the hike. Right in the trail I came upon the tail end of a large snake. It stopped me in my tracks! I could clearly see the tail and there were no rattles. My mind was telling me that this was not a rattlesnake and I could probably walk past it without getting bit and even if I did get bit, it would not be poisonous.

About this time, I saw the grass in front of the snake moving and heard rustle of a small animal scurrying away. I looked back at the snake’s tail and it was vibrating profusely. I put two and two together and came to the conclusion that I had scarred the little animal away that the snake was planning for dinner and now the snake was really pissed! The snakes head came around through the sage brush and he glared at me with one eye while the tail continued to vibrate. I thought that I could move him off the trail with my stick and continue my hike. But then I thought what if this was a mutant rattlesnake that did not develop rattles. Things like that happen! He sure was trying to rattle. LOL As I reasoned this out in my convoluted way I thought that it was getting late and I really should be getting back to the car. I hiked back to the car poking my stick into the brush to be sure that nothing rattled. I will get the pictures next time. In all of the hiking in the western states, I have only encountered two rattlesnakes.

10th May 2017 13:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Fun story and I have a few things to add for your benefit. I did study herpetology in my college days and the shaking of the tail on the gopher snakes is a common attempt to simulate a rattlesnake to any predators trying to kill and eat them. Shaking the tail in dry brush or leaves actually does sound much like a rattlesnake. By the way, a rattlesnake moves its tail about 60 times a second to make that buzzzz of the snake. If you have ever held a rattle (without a snake attached) in your hand and attempted to simulate the sound, it is impossible to move it fast enough to make the noise they make.

We have a lot of snakes in our area and my wife Mary was reminding me that the meanest snake she ever encountered in her many snake encounters was a gopher snake. Gopher snakes use a bravado to try and fool anything trying to mess with them. I have seen that also, the one gopher snake actually went on the attack and came after me. They can bite but the bite is not bad unless you encounter a big one, they can get up to about 8 feet long. They also pull in air and blow it out in a hiss and a few other things to fool one into thinking they are dangerous.

I had a local fellow who did maintenance at a big campground. He would bring over the snakes they got and I would release them by our place. Nice they didn't kill them. One time a big gopher snake was in the plastic trash can and I reached in to pull it out and it did its best to get mean and struck up at me, hissing and shaking its tail. I took off my sandal and used it to pin the snakes head. As soon as I picked up the snake, all the bravado was gone and it was gentle as can be. But then I know how to handle them. I would not suggest it for someone not familiar with snakes.

They normally try and get away but if cornered they can go on the offensive. Your encounter was correctly assessed and that snake was pissed you chased away its meal. They are generally in an escape mode though.

Fun story Larry.

10th May 2017 21:06 BSTLarry Maltby Expert

Thanks for the info, Rolf.

Animal behavior has always fascinated me. This snake’s survival techniques sure worked on me.

11th May 2017 19:25 BSTJason Evans

Here's a juvenile Grass snake (Natrix natrix) performing one of it's little tricks, playing dead, it has already carried out it's primary defense mechanism, i musked me, and grass snake musk smells lovely...NOT! it's revolting and hard to wash off!

Grass snakes are found near water sources as their prey consist of mainly aquatic animals and they can grow up to 5ft in length, there are old reports of 6fters but none that big have been recorded in recent times, even a 5 foot one would be quite a rare find. biggest I have found must have been near on 4ft, even so they are the UK's largest snakes.

16th May 2017 13:52 BSTJohn Truax

It's Morel mushroom season in Minnesota again.

31st May 2017 01:44 BSTStephen Rose Expert

The late spring garden is busy with critters. Recent arrivals are the migrating painted lady butterflies, stopping to tank up before continuing their journey to somewhere north. In the early, calm mornings there are hundreds of them around and they scatter like a flock of quail when they are approached. Two favorites for them are the cat mint, and the Centranthus.



31st May 2017 01:46 BSTStephen Rose Expert

And, here is the critter on a Centranthus bloom.

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24th Jul 2017 12:27 BSTMichael Otto

One of the hummingbirds that have been attracted to our "Bee Bombs" in our yard.

24th Jul 2017 20:47 BSTulrike kullik (2)

Went picking Chanterelles this morning and found this beauties .

Microstoma Floccosum

25th Jul 2017 16:09 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



The Desert in Arizona has mushrooms too. Many I know but this morning we came across this one I had never seen before. Nothing about it in the mushroom book. Cool little fungus though.

26th Jul 2017 11:03 BSTMichael Otto

Took a 5 hour hike yesterday in a mountain forest preserve where I observed many types of fungi. These were some of the more colorful.

26th Jul 2017 16:49 BSTJohn Truax

Rolf that mushroom may be in the genus Coprinus if you would like to compare it with other photos.

26th Jul 2017 18:03 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Thank you for the direction on the mushroom, will check out the genus Coprinus.

We have mushrooms on our property this year we have not seen before. It has been a drought for many years and we have had a good start to the rainy season with some good rains and we do see a number of mushrooms, besides the slime molds coming up.

6th Aug 2017 18:32 BSTJessica Guichard (2)

Here is a photograph from a few winters ago, a pair of mating Stoneflies. Cute little insects.

8th Aug 2017 16:07 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



August 7, 2017, a late afternoon walk on our property had a bit of contrast in things we saw. The flowers are the Desert Four O'clock in bloom and the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is about a meter long.

Both are welcome on our property.

8th Aug 2017 17:36 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Summer Poppies by Highway 80, in front of our property. Good summer rains in SE Arizona.

15th Aug 2017 18:07 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Took a morning trip over the top of the Chiricahua Mountains in SE Arizona, great day for it with nice clouds and sun, took about 112 photos of scenery, water, wildlife and more.

Although we went by a few mines, didn't stop at any this trip.

Summer rains were spotty, some areas very dry, others nice and wet and full of flowers.

15th Aug 2017 23:26 BSTJerry Cone Expert

Great photos Rolf! Thanks.

17th Aug 2017 13:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

I wanted to add some comments since I had just posted the rattlesnake photo. I found a snakes shed skin just the other day, a big one. I picked it up to see what snake had left it behind. First thing I noticed was the tail end was pointed so not a rattlesnake. The next day a friend asked me about those shed skins since his wife had found one and he wanted to know how to tell it was or wasn't a rattlesnake. I mentioned the first one about the tail end but the sure fire one is to pick up the skin and since the snakes pull themselves out the shed is inside out. Take a spot near the middle and pull it open so you can see the actual scales of the back. All non poisonous snakes in Arizona have smooth scales but the rattlesnakes have a small keel that goes down the middle of the scale. If the one you look at has smooth scales it is non poisonous, if it has a keel, it was a rattlesnake that left the skin.

We often find the sheds on our place and I like to see what kind of snake left it. Since we have about a dozen kinds of snakes in our area it is fun to do the detective work. The sheds are a faithful representation of the snake that left it, patterns and all. Often it is easy to tell which one left the skin behind.

Snakes shed two to three times a year on average, depending on how well they feed. This is how the rattle of a rattlesnake grows, each time they shed they add one segment to the rattle so counting the number of segments on a snake you see will not give an accurate age. When rattlesnakes get older the segments often break off and an ideal number to do the proper noise when rattling is about 6 to 7 segments. More and the rattle becomes too heave and large to make a proper noise, too few and very little noise. When a rattlesnake rattle comes to a point, original button on the end, one can geusstimate their age but when the rattle is very even all the way to the broken end, the snake has lost many segments and age can't be told.

The big shed we found the other day was from our resident large gopher snake.

17th Aug 2017 14:33 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




There is a plant, Wolfberry-Lycium spp. on our property that this time of year always has caterpillars on it. The red fruit is edible and the native people use it for eating and drinking. The caterpillars are small but quite pretty. I have been looking to see if I can figure out what the moth is but have had no luck so far. I am assuming it is a moth that emerges from this caterpillar.

This time of year there are a lot of caterpillar species around.

22nd Aug 2017 20:34 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



I was out on my dog walk this morning and saw the cool concretions and for a split second I thought rock but in another second I looked around and saw I had been fooled. The area was a nice little rise that Jack Rabbits use to eat the grass and have a bit of a view for predators. They leave what I call "smart pills" behind. You can have fun thinking what you could do with that term. The termites of our area are in the soil and when something like the rabbit leavings are there they come out at night and coat the objects to keep the predators away and keep the sun from roasting things.

Sure made me do a double take for a second.

24th Aug 2017 20:03 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Came across one of the sand concretions that the above termite surrounded rabbit droppings reminded me of. These were given to me by a fellow who collected them near Safford Arizona.

24th Aug 2017 20:28 BSTBob Harman

Phantom Ship and Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. Summer 2012. CHEERS.....BOB



28th Sep 2017 22:27 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



This fellow, a male Giant Crab Spider, lived on our bathroom ceiling for weeks but since we have nothing for him to eat in the house, we took him back out and I got a couple of photos of him on our shed roof. They are harmless spiders and we get them often inside. Males are not a problem but if a female comes in and lays eggs and they hatch, one ends up taking hundreds of tiny spiders outside again.

29th Sep 2017 15:11 BSTHolger Hartmaier


We were at Crater Lake in August and the view was not as clear as yours. Due to numerous forest fires in southern Oregon this summer, a few right around the crater area, it was quite smokey. Compare with the following pictures taken from more or less similar viewpoints:


8th Oct 2017 14:50 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



For the ones who like to know what they see I saw something this morning in SE Arizona that was nice to show two animal differences.

Often one doesn't see the actual spiders involved but we have both kinds living right on our property and this morning I took photos of both holes. The first is of the tarantula hole with the webbing that is level with the ground. The holes have webbing that covers the hole during the day and at night the spider opens the hole to hunt for insects.

The second photo is of the wolf spider hole. They have a raised entrance with grass seeds and other things woven into the web that makes it stand a bit above the surface of the ground.

Both are spiders that are usually out at night and hunt actively for food.

Nice to see such a nice form on both holes this morning.

If you are in Arizona and see the holes with webbing, this is how to tell one spiders hole from another.

11th Oct 2017 21:34 BSTEmily John

Hello Guys i'm newbie on this website such a nice forum every thing is looking so great,Most mineral collectors are fascinated by the flora and fauna that we encounter in our travels. Some of us are experts in the identity of the natural things we encounter outside.

11th Oct 2017 21:41 BSTJason Evans

Here is a yellow belied marmot on Mt Evans, Colorado which I saw on my recent holiday.

11th Oct 2017 21:47 BSTJason Evans

And this is a Pika on Mt Antero, Colorado

11th Oct 2017 21:58 BSTJason Evans

Not sure if these can be here as its not really nature in living nature but it is a natural phenomena.

This is the total solar eclipse on 21/08/2017 as seen from north of Torrintgton, Wyoming. It is the first time I have seen a total solar eclipse and it was just as incredible as I was expecting it to be, only trouble is, now I want to see more!



11th Oct 2017 22:27 BSTScott Rider

Yey, thanks Jason for helping me figure out what I saw on Pike's Peak, a yellow bellied marmot. The thing was on the side of the road, was quite large, and my buddy and I were not sure what in tarnation that was!!!

12th Oct 2017 08:49 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager


A solar eclipse is something magic. I saw my first one August 11, 1999.

The sun made of earth what it is now, so it's natural. If the sun wasn't there, there would be nobody to look for something.

The sun is life !

On your images you can clearly see the solar flames.

12th Oct 2017 19:30 BSTJason Evans

The one in August 99 should have been my first, the path off totality wasnt that big over the UK, just parts of Cornwall and southern Devon, Me and a friend traveled to Devon to see it, spent the night in a field and woke up to see the sky was totally overcast and that's how it remained, annoying only 10 miles away there was a few clear patches so we might have got a glimpse but we were stuck in the field as it was full off other people! So I am really happy I managed to see one at last and I am hoping to see 2 more in Spain but there's a few years to wait!

I was pleased that the prominence's were visible, I did a few different exposures, a few longer ones to show the corona and a few quicker ones to show the prominence's better.

Once witnessed it is easy to appreciate how ancient civilizations feared eclipses.

12th Oct 2017 19:31 BSTJason Evans

Glad my pic helped you to id your mystery critter, Scott!

12th Oct 2017 22:37 BSTPaul De Bondt Manager

I went to the northern France and there it was well visible. Southern Belgium had much clouds and there was nothing to see, except pitch dark in the middle of the day.

I can imagine how freightened it must have been in the ancient times.

14th Oct 2017 12:53 BSTJason Evans

This is a moth I have been wanting to see for quite some time. In my opinion one of the most striking moths we have in the UK. The Merville du jour. It's considered a common moth but this is the first one I have seen in the 5 years I have been observing and recording lepidoptera.

25th Oct 2017 14:27 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Cleaning out our curio cabinet I came across this one and thought it may be a nice addition to the page. My wife's sister sent this to us a few years back. She is in the Seattle area and was selling things on the internet and buying from many sources to get things for her sales. She sent us a box of things she was not familiar with but knew the laws about selling ivory. The piece here was one she had no idea what it was.

My biology background kicked in nicely. Some may recognize it right away and for those who don't, it is a carved Killer Whale tooth. Do not know if it was carved by a native or someone else but thought it was an interesting piece.

25th Oct 2017 15:35 BSTErik Vercammen Expert


may the name of the moth not be "Merveille du jour"?

25th Oct 2017 18:03 BSTJason Evans

Indeed it is I accidentally missed out the e.

25th Oct 2017 18:52 BSTRob Woodside Manager

Rolf it might also be a carved walrus tusk?

30th Oct 2017 14:22 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


These caterpillars are on our Desert Willow trees every Summer and grow larger than ones middle finger. The trees are above out deck and we see the caterpillar droppings and know they are up there. They are surprisingly hard to spot, until they get big, like this one, which is about 4 inches long. An added plus, katydid above the caterpillar.

30th Oct 2017 17:31 GMTDoug Schonewald

I think Hornworms are all Sphinx Moth larva. We get a few in the tomatoes once in a while.

30th Oct 2017 17:48 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Yes, the hornworms are all sphinx moth caterpillars. They are usually host specific and the one on the tomato is different than this one. We have some years there are so many of the white lined sphinx caterpillars they cover the ground like a carpet there are so many and the roads turn green with the ones hit by cars. No way to avoid them there are so many.

The ones on tomato plants also eat the datura so when we find them on the tomato we take them off and put them on the datura plants so they don't eat up all our tomato plants.

4th Nov 2017 03:17 GMTJohn Truax

Great photos everyone, a fun thread to visit.

This is Chlorociboria fungi, also known as Elf Cup.

F.O.V. ~25mm

9th Nov 2017 14:03 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Have to excuse the not the best photo but the Montezuma Quail were right in front of our car in the road and I know if I had gotten out to get photos they would have been gone. Fun thing is the photo is taken in Montezuma Canyon in the Coronado National Monument of the Montezuma Quail. Other names for them are Harlequin Quail and Mearns's Quail. Don't see this quail species very often.

26th Nov 2017 12:39 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert




At the Willcox Playa in Cochise County Arizona it was good timing to see the Snadhill Cranes come in from their morning feeding. They fly to the harvested grain fields in the early morning and gather at a spot with water around noon. The cranes fly in in the hundreds and circle once and land with the ones on the ground. There are ten thousand or more in just this one spot. The noise from all their calling is quite something too.

There are several places they gather in this large lake bed. This one is on the West side by the power plant where their water is pumped to the playa.

31st Dec 2017 21:55 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



This is wood from the Littleleaf Sumac bush-Rhus microphylla, that grows in SE Arizona. We often collected interesting wood and this plant sure had interesting internal grain. The odd thing was that one time I saw with my black light that the wood fluoresced quite nicely. This is under Long Wave but it fluoresces under all the wavelengths.

Not many of the other woods of the area are fluorescent and we have no idea why this one is.

Thought people would enjoy seeing this unusual wood.

10th Jan 2018 12:51 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Great Horned Owl on a cedar root in a wash near our place in St. David Arizona.

10th Jan 2018 14:02 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

Neat photo Rolf, It is watching you!

We had a great horned owl living on our property for several years. At the east edge of our property was a large maple tree. I often found a pile of furry pellets under that tree. One day I noticed something bright blue. When I poked it with a stick it turned out to be a pellet of compacted blue jay feathers, a pretty good indicator of what the owl had for dinner the day before.

10th Jan 2018 14:19 GMTFred E. Davis

During a recent cold spell (lows around -6F [-21C]), I saw a fox bounding through the snow in our back yard (suburban New Haven, CT). This is the first time we've seen a fox in our neighborhood.

10th Jan 2018 15:23 GMTBruce Cairncross Expert

While doing field work in the KwaZulu-Natal region some time ago, we drove through the small village of Mooi River. I took this picture on the outskirts of town. The sign on the gate says "beware of the dog"!

10th Jan 2018 15:37 GMTBruce Cairncross Expert

This is Burhinus capensis, the Spotted thick-knee dikkop, we saw recently in the Eastern Cape province. The legs explain the name. Not the most flattering name, especially as "dikkop" in Afrikaans, translates literally to "thick head". Pretty good camouflage though. Its a nocturnal bird that either stands around during daytime or more commonly squats on the ground to avoid being seen.


10th Jan 2018 15:57 GMTJeff Weissman Expert

Hi Fred, great image, we see this guy's cousins in Guilford all the time - plus bobcats, coyotes, wild turkeys, and we spotted a bald eagle last week. Couldn't get pictures thought.

10th Jan 2018 16:04 GMTKevin Conroy

Hi Jeff, the eagles have made the annual migration south along the Mississippi River, so we're seeing more than usual around St Louis, Missouri. This one was sitting on a lamp post near Grafton, Illinois.

12th Jan 2018 00:05 GMTFred E. Davis

Nice eagle, Kevin. I've seen them visiting New Hampshire the last couple of summers. Concerning my fox sighting, the most common mammals (not on two legs or not domesticated) are squirrel, skunk, raccoon, chipmunk, field mouse, vole and opossum. In the small area of the back yard, I've observed 32 different bird species (but not an eagle - yet; biggest raptor thus far is Cooper's hawk).

12th Jan 2018 02:47 GMTKevin Conroy

Thanks Fred. That fox is a beauty! We've only seen grey foxes in our yard (no, not the human kind).

Although St Louis is toward the center of the country we get a decent variety of birds. Today I was by the locks and dam on the Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois. The photo shows a bunch of gulls that were checking for fish. I'm certainly not an ornithologist, but I'm guessing that since we're so far from the sea that these are river-gulls and not bay-gulls...

12th Jan 2018 03:35 GMTSteven Kuitems Expert

Kevin, the gulls are most likely Ring Billed Gulls.


12th Jan 2018 11:45 GMTChris Rayburn

This may be particularly interesting to New Mexico collectors. A friend who lives in Socorro, NM owns property in Hop Canyon, which is in the Magdalena Mountains a couple of miles southwest of the famous Kelly Mine. He recently installed a camera with motion sensor on the property to see what kind of wildlife shows up. It was only a few weeks later that he captured this big fella (or gal?) making its rounds. No surprise that mountain lions live in the Magdalenas, but it’s pretty cool to actually capture images of one in its habitat. I’ve been exploring mountain lion territory for the past 40 years and have seen only one track in all that time.



12th Jan 2018 12:55 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


As for the Great Horned Owl, yes, it saw me coming as I came up the wash. I had seen one owl fly away and this one sat still and watched me. Soon after it also flew off. As for the owl pellets, I studied those one time and the blue one is really cool. The owls swallow their prey hole but can't digest all they swallow and regurgitate the stuff they can't digest as "owl pellets" and those can be dissected to see what they have been eating. I have a small box of identified skulls of the prey they had been eating. Full skulls and bones of the rodents that can be identified.

Love the photos on this thread.


Have seen the mountain lion tracks near us too but never seen the actual cat. Also wolf tracks not far from us in SE Arizona. We are fortunate to live out away from development and quite a bit of wild near us.

12th Jan 2018 16:48 GMTChris Rayburn

I don't doubt that I've been within shouting distance of lions and not known they were there. Fortunately I'm too ugly to eat.

12th Jan 2018 19:34 GMTDoug Schonewald

On an exploration trip in the hinterlands of the Channeled Scabland of central Washington we came upon this coyote. January/February is birthing time for cattle in our area and the coyote was staying near the cattle.

The deer were cautious, but they never ran, and watched intently as we passed.


18th Jan 2018 22:39 GMTAllan Blaske

Thought I would dig through my 35-mm slides and contribute something to this thread. This guy was in the Cactus Queen mine near Mojave, California in the late 1980s, about 150 feet underground. For some reason, the other geologist I was with decided it would be a good idea to catch him! He got a hold on him, but luckily it got away unscathed. (both the owl and the geologist!)

22nd Jan 2018 15:46 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

I wanted to mention something with the Barn Owls in mines. We often see this here in SE Arizona. I went with a friend to a local mine and one shaft he decided he wanted to see how deep it was by tossing in a rock. He picked up a rock about fist size and tossed it into the hole. Next thing I know there was an odd thump and a Barn Owl came flying out and it was not flying very well.

It made me think the friend had not looked into the shaft before tossing in the rock. I have always looked in before tossing in a rock since I have so often seen owls in the mines. I was not right by him when he toss the rock in or I would have said something. I sure hope this owl was OK and I told the friend not to toss rocks without looking first.

Just to pass on a bit of knowledge and hope others look before they toss rocks into mine shafts.

23rd Jan 2018 16:15 GMTClifford Trebilcock


One of my favorite winter visitors at my bird feeder. Northern Cardinal


23rd Jan 2018 17:05 GMTBob Harman

CLIFF, For those not familiar with North American birds, this would be the male cardinal. The female is largely olive-gray-green with splashes of red around the head and crest area, but still a handsome bird. The male cannot be confused with any other North American bird. CHEERS.....BOB

25th Jan 2018 14:42 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


On a trip to Yellowstone I hiked to a geyser a distance from a parking area. It was summer and a bit warm in the sun. The geyser was just sitting and I didn't know its eruption schedule so waited in the trees out of the open since the sun was strong. Unfortunately the big horse flies were nasty and biting. There were a lot of them and I was driven out of the trees to the open. I stood in the shade of the base of the geyser to stay a little cool. I thought I could easily get out away when it blew. As I waited I saw large wasps coming in. Oh no, on top of the biting flies now wasps. I was watching the wasps that just hovered a ways away. I was hoping they would not go after me and then I saw something fascinating. As I saw one of the big horse flies come toward me the hovering wasp swooped in and grabbed the fly and took it away. I immediately knew what was going on and cheered the wasps. They had a hard time catching prey for their nests in the forest but out in the open the big flies didn't stand a chance. The wasps, and there were a number of them, would fly near me and just hover. When a horse fly came for me it swooped in and grabbed it. I stood and watched this fascinating event. The wasps had learned that people attracted the flies and so they could get all they needed by just hanging close to the people.

When the geyser did go off I ran to the edge of the opening but it turned out that had not even been a problem since by the time the water came back down it was already cold. I could walk right up to the geyser with no hot water coming down. It was a fascinating experience and I have never forgotten the savior wasps that kept me from being bitten up by the horse flies.

25th Jan 2018 15:13 GMTKeith A. Peregrine

Chris, your cougar (or Kougar back in my old High School) brought back a story a friend shared with me this past summer.

He and his wife was driving near Central, MI when they noticed an animal along side the road. Not getting a good impression of it, they decided to turn around, and what a sight did they see! A cougar (mountain lion) was standing in the middle of the highway looking up at an RV which had stopped to look. The image gave one the impression that the cougar was gauging what was good to eat inside. And of course, fearless.

While stories of cougars in the Keweenaw have been circulating for a few years now, this was the first definite proof I'd had that they are now present. Hopefully, it was passing through on its way down to Chicago!

Will have to develop another set of eyes while hunting copper from now on.

26th Jan 2018 12:40 GMTChris Rayburn

Keith, that’s a very interesting snapshot of mountain lion behavior. I’m not an expert on the topic, but anecdotally, they (generally) avoid human contact. Maybe this one didn’t associate the outside of a RV with the two legged creatures inside? Or maybe it just didn’t have an instinct to avoid humans. Either way, it’s encouraging to hear that they’re gradually moving back into their old territory.

Rolf, fascinating story about wasps! Symbiosis works in wonderful ways.

26th Jan 2018 13:04 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Living in SE Arizona we have mountain lions here too but don't see them much since they avoid people. But, just walking near our house in the washes we have seen tracks of not only mountain lion but also Mexican wolf. Both are hardly ever seen but they are out there none the less. Those motion cameras are great and have captured a lot of interesting things. So far have not decided to get one but use my background to see what the tracks tell me.


Thanks for your comment, the above statement of reading signs is part of my biological background, I love those mysteries and ability to figure those things out. The wasps in Yellowstone must have learned to hang around elk, moose, deer and us two legged mammals also. Even insects can learn behaviors a mystery to us most of the time. I have never forgotten those savior wasps. I was worried at first since they were huge, about an inch or more long and very good fliers. Fortunately they were on my side.


Nice to see the Cardinal. We have the Pyroluxia, has a nice red breast but is not fully red. Males get very bright in Spring and they call it the Western Cardinal, we love seeing those at our feeders too, just no snow for a good color contrast. No snow at all so far this winter here.

26th Jan 2018 14:28 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


I was searching some of my older photos today and thought people might enjoy a grasshopper we have here in Fall called the Circus Grasshopper. They are some of the most colorful ones we see.

This one is a juvenile Great Crested Grasshopper. Also one from our local area.

26th Jan 2018 15:42 GMTLarry Maltby Expert


Your story about the mountain lion near Central is really interesting. It adds something to think about while collecting up in the Keweenaw. Fortunately we have a large deer population up there which is their favorite food and that reduces the risk to humans. Thinking about risk, collectors in Alaska have a lot to think about. I found this old photo taken in 1961. We heard that this mounted Alaskan brown bear was temporarily in a warehouse at Detroit Metro Airport. We drove over to take a look. It was taken by Fred Bear, the famous Michigan archer, with a long bow and arrow.

Phil, my lifelong friend, is clowning around, but the photo illustrates the relative size, human to brown bear. Now that is something to think about!

26th Jan 2018 18:40 GMTStephen Rose Expert

I may have posted this previously, if so, I'm an old guy and am allowed to repeat tales from my youth. While working near Green River, Utah, in the 1970's I had parked at the end of a trail in a canyon and proceeded to walk a couple of miles further in order to evaluate some uranium prospects on the rim rock. I spent the day there; I remember that there were a lot of hummingbirds in the area and that one or two were very interested in the polka dot pattern on my hat as I ate lunch. Walking back down the sandy canyon bottom in the late afternoon I found cougar tracks following my morning tracks for over a mile. Quite the pay attention moment.

26th Jan 2018 21:46 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

Following the mountain lion tales. A friend was over at the Maid of Sunshine Mine in Courtland Arizona last year and was not wearing his pistol he often does carry. He was rockhounding and not many dangers he thought he needed his gun for. He was walking on an old dirt road and looked across the small canyon separating him from the nearby set of hills. He spotted something on the hill only about a hundred yards away. It was an adult mountain lion, sitting on the hill and watching him walk along. He stopped and thought that the cat noticing he had spotted it would leave but it just sat there watching him. He had nothing but a rock pick with him at that time and he decided to retreat back to his vehicle and did so slowly, watching the cat the whole time. The cat finally stood up and walked away the other direction. He didn't think it meant to come after him but it made him very uneasy none the less.

I walked around a trail in the Chiricahua Mts. one time to see a cloud of dust ahead, only a few yards away. I hadn't heard anything but when I walked a bit farther I smelled what it was and there was a good amount of cat urine and some in the leaves. It was a mountain lion and when it heard me approach it left quickly. I also was not armed but know in almost all cases the animals would rather run than confront people.

15th Mar 2018 23:06 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


This coyote showed up this afternoon. We have water for the wildlife and they come for that.

Nice to have them come by.

21st Mar 2018 19:45 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


We tossed out some chicken bones for the coyotes that come to our place and got a surprise when our dog barked and I thought the coyote had come to get the bones but when I looked there were three Turkey Vultures that came to eat. They are coming back for Spring and they had seen ravens come down and followed the ravens. Those vultures are big birds.

26th Mar 2018 22:05 BSTJason Evans

Here in the UK our reptiles are starting to emerge so i have been up at some of my local sites to observe them, The adder is out only venomous snake and the males always appear first as they need to build up reserves for combat and mating, I expect to be seeing my first females in a week or so, some places they have been seen out already.

The photo of the adder was taken yesterday at one site which is less than a mile from my home, and the other one shows a juvenile adder, only of last years young along with a few slow worms, which are actually legless lizards, this site is just a little further but still close, the sites would have been connected at one point, until the motorway was built.


27th Mar 2018 14:23 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Being an ex herpetologist, those photos are always fun for me to see.

We have resident rattlesnakes on our 5 acres and never mind seeing them. We have about 7 snake species on our place and with the warm up here recently, the Tucson news has already given the yearly rattlers are out report. No snakes on our place yet but we have seen a few lizards coming out.

Nice post.

28th Mar 2018 00:03 BSTJason Evans

Thank's Rolf glad you like them. Hopefully there will be more images in the next few months. Onne thing i have yet to see and its something i would really love to see is dancing adders, once the females are out the males will be in competition and when they fight over the girls its as if they are dancing, you have to be in the right place at the right time to see it, one day perhaps!

5th Apr 2018 18:59 BSTStephen Rose Expert


These critters patrol our neighborhood regularly, looking for careless pets or cottontails. We hear them often but rarely see them as they are usually back in the sage by daylight. Teri got a quick shot of this healthy looking individual stopping for a drink from our birdbath this morning.

19th Apr 2018 18:16 BSTKevin Conroy

Our Checkered Lilies are starting to bloom. The scientific name is Fritillaria meleagris, but they're also commonly called snake's head fritillary, snake's head (the original English name), chess flower, frog-cup, guinea-hen flower, guinea flower, leper lily, Lazarus bell, checkered daffodil, drooping tulip or simply fritillary.



5th May 2018 21:55 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is a rattlesnake track on our parking lot and it is a small rattlesnake. I can tell by the short distance between pushing off. Can sure follow where the snake went with tracks as easy to read as this one.

12th May 2018 13:43 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Not the same snake that made the track in the previous photo but a larger version of the same. This one is about 4 feet long and was lying in wait for a meal to walk by. This is how most rattlesnakes "hunt" lay in wait for a rodent to come by.

Snake was quite calm. One can tell if they are aware of you by their flicking their tongue in and out and this one was not doing that so quit calm.

It is the time of year they are out now in Arizona so we have to be vigilant.

13th May 2018 23:19 BSTGuy Davis

The long winter we experienced on the East Coast of the U.S. caused the morel mushrooms to come up exactly one week late. I foraged about a pound and a half of them on Friday near Hunt Valley, Maryland.

4th Jun 2018 14:00 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


My wife has been putting lettuce and other greens out for the Round-Tailed Ground Squirrels on our place and there are now a lot of baby squirrels out and about. I call our place the squirrel ranch now since she loves to watch the squirrels. Actually I called it the squirrel farm but she said it was not a farm but a ranch.

Yesterday I was going out to put a bowl of greens by our feeding station from the greenhouse and on the way back to the house saw a dead young squirrel. At first I thought it was because the adults sometimes kill young squirrels of competing females. About 20 minutes later, Mary was watching the squirrels eating the greens when she saw movement in one of the squirrel holes but it was not a squirrel but our resident rattlesnake. I immediately knew what had "deadened" the squirrel. Sure enough, the snake had gone down one of the holes and a young squirrel had not left by another entrance but gotten bitten and run out and died in about 20 feet.

We could watch the snake follow the track the squirrel had gone with its extremely sensitive tongue system, a bit like s super sensitive sense of smell. It found the meal in no time and while swallowing it, another squirrel came over to see what was going on.

We know the snakes and hawks and other predators love the overabundance of squirrels Mary has created so we know this happens but it was the first time we had seen it as it happened. The snake swallowed the squirrel in only a couple of minutes and then crawled into brush to get out of the open. This all happened at dusk, just when the late sunlight was still hitting the area. The reason the photo is not the best is I took it from our bedroom window, through the closed window not to disturb things.

5th Jun 2018 19:28 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This morning I was using my outside rock breaking table, next to our shed. The spot is in the shade of a big mulberry tree so a good place to chop minerals.

Under the table are a couple of buckets I use to put scraps into before disposing of them. As I pulled out the bucket to put in the rock, there was the baby cottontail. Its mom had found a good place to let the baby stay during the day and the adult was off somewhere else.

I put the bucket back and got Mary with her camera and he took this photo before I put the bucket back by it. Good place to hang out in the heat.

We have baby squirrels and baby cottontails at the moment.

9th Jun 2018 16:43 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This morning the same rattlesnake was lying in wait for a meal to come by and I got the camera out. On zoom I took a close up of the head so people can see a way to tell poisonous snakes from non poisonous ones. The poisonous snakes in the United States have the slit pupil that can open wide at night for better vision. They call it "cat eye" with the slit. Non poisonous snakes in the US have round pupils.

My wife mentioned after she saw the close up that snakes look "mean" even though they are normally not.

The way to also tell this Western Diamondback from the Mohave Green Rattlesnake, which is also in our area but much more dangerous with a high amount of neurotoxin in the venom. The diamondback has numerous small scales between the two main eye scales, the Mohave green only three scales.

15th Jun 2018 12:43 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Not a snake related photo this time. We have the Night-blooming Cereus cactus on our place and they are a day from blooming. Took the photos to show the nondescript nature of the cactus. One can tell when the buds are ready to bloom in that the tips puff up visibly the late afternoon before they actually open. These are very close. The cactus is hard to find out in nature since they almost always grow under bushes or trees and look like any of the branches of the plants they grow below.

15th Jun 2018 14:20 BSTMatt Courville

Fantastic photos Rolf! I also appreciate the wide variety of subjects

16th Jun 2018 21:51 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Some years ago

16th Jun 2018 21:59 BSTAlessio Piccioni

Sorry i don't attach this

17th Jun 2018 14:00 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Here are photos of the Night-Blooming Cereus in flower. They bloomed last night and early this morning I got the shots attached. We had 44 blooms in all on our place, these are some of the nicer ones.

15th Jul 2018 09:37 BSTMeinrad Kempf Expert

Found whilst checking the abandoned quarry near Villingen: Bufo calamita. The exposed limestone and clay horizons form new wetlands worth to preserve.

16th Jul 2018 14:54 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



This is a couple of Clark's Spiny Lizards living on our railing on the back yard deck. We have watched them grow up from brand new hatchlings last year. Normally a very shy lizard, these are used to our and our dogs comings and goings.

18th Aug 2018 14:52 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is a moth caterpillar we have on our property. Saw one today but had a nice photo I took a few years back.

The little plates on the sides are like little mother of pearl mirrors. They are a beautiful caterpillar. They feed on legume trees, in this case Cat Claw Acacia.

22nd Aug 2018 20:57 BSTBob Harman


Several years ago at this very time, while driving, I heard a thud onto the front of my vehicle. After stopping I found this loosely attached to the front grill.

It is a cicada captured and paralyzed by a cicada killer wasp. this wasp is the largest wasp species in the North America. It captures and stings its prey, the cicada, paralyzing it. Then it flies with the cicada back to its nest, a hole in the ground, where the larval wasp(s) feed on the cicada. The most amazing thing is that the cicada is both larger and heavier than the wasp, yet the wasp has no trouble carrying it off in flight.

With this story as an intro, I will give a short primer on arthropod encounters; especially useful for the (North American) field collectors among us.

Starting off with bees and wasps and yellow jackets. These are stinging insects. With a bee sting, part of the bee's insides are lost and the bee dies shortly thereafter. Other than a reaction.....mild thru the sting, no diseases that I am aware of are transmitted by the sting per se. Yellow jackets and wasps, on the other hand, survive each of their stings and can sting multiple times. Ants, including stinging varieties are closely related to the wasps. As an aside, pollinating bee populations are in serious decline; serious economic hardships might result if the decline continues.

Scorpions are a ground dwelling arthropod capable of stinging with some species actually quite docile, only stinging as a last resort. Reactions to the stings are usually similar to those of bee and wasp stings, but can be severe at times. There are a number of outdoor centipedes. They are usually found hiding in crevices in rocky areas. They can bite with a reaction similar to scorpions.

Spiders are 8 legged arthropods. They bite rather than sting. The bite of some species has a potent poison and reactions can be severe. The female Black Widow Spider is a ground dwelling variety commonly found in loose rocky areas thru out much of the eastern US.

I have encountered 1 in all my time collecting. I saw it in a shallow crevice before anything bad happened. The other common species is the Brown Recluse Spider, but it isn't really found to any great degree in areas frequented by field collectors. There are several other out door and indoor species with powerful poisons, but the fangs on some of these types are quite weak so they don't penetrate the skin and rarely, if. ever cause trouble.

Mosquitos are very ubiquitous flying insects at this time of year. When they bite, they inject a tiny bit of their saliva into the bite. It is this saliva that causes the usual "mosquito bite" reaction as an allergic response to the saliva proteins. Their saliva also contains the organisms for diseases that mosquitos transmit. Yellow Fever and Malaria are two major worldwide diseases transmitted by infected mosquitos. these have been eradicated in North America, but remain important (potentially anyway to mineral field collectors) in some other parts of the world.

Finally on to ticks. Ticks are an arthropod with 8 legs. The tick problem is becoming increasingly severe and should be taken seriously by all mineral field collectors. They emerge early in the spring so are a problem well before mosquitos become a problem. Most ticks also disappear by fall, before mosquitos are killed off by a good frost/freeze. While a mosquito bite happens in a second, tick bites with consequences, occur over a period of hours. When a tick attaches and imbeds into the skin, it relaxes its abdominal muscles, allowing for a very slow gradual oozing of your blood into the tick abdomen. This occurs over a period of several hours. Finally, after several hours, the tick loosens its grip and falls off. If the tick is infected with disease causing organisms, it must transmit them as a result of the back and forth flow of blood so transmission is very slow. Disease is caused only after the tick has been imbedded for some time. If a tick is promptly found and properly removed, there should be no resulting tick bourn disease.

The 2 most important tick diseases are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Lyme Disease (first described from a case in Lyme Connecticut). A type of Rickettsia is the organism for RMSF, while a bacterium causes Lyme disease. RMSF is serious while Lyme disease is increasing as man-deer tick encounters in suburbia and wild areas increases. The interesting thing about rickettsia is that the ticks carry the organism even in their eggs so the new born larval ticks are infected from the moment they come into the world. This can occur thru multiple tick generations unlike mosquitos which must first become infected to only then be disease carrying individuals. Over my field collecting years, I have had numerous ticks on my clothing, but only 2 on my skin; they were found and removed promptly.

Hope this is not too pessimistic, but gives a bit of knowledge for all of us field collectors. Use common sense. Proper clothes, bug sprays, check for ticks with no field collecting clothes brought into the house. Shower right after coming in etc et etc. CHEERS.......BOB

22nd Aug 2018 21:35 BSTKevin Conroy

To add onto Bob's comments, the range of scorpions in the US is wider than many folks know. I've run into them numerous times here in Missouri! They're fairly common in the mine dumps in Granby (which is in the southwestern part of the state), and I've seen them several times while collecting in Saint Louis County.

23rd Aug 2018 19:54 BSTFred E. Davis

I don't even pretend to be a mycologist, so I can only guess based on what I've seen for comparison. These small, delicate mushrooms (largest one is ~1cm diameter, ~4.5cm tall) appear to be Mirasmius Siccus (Orange Pinwheel Mirasmius). They are very ephemeral, appear after a rain following a dry spell and are gone the next day. The inset shows details of the gills. The conditions in New Hampshire were very good for fungi, and I've seen a wide variety pop up.

These are (or are related to) Monotropa uniflora. In the mountains of Western North Carolina where I grew up, we called them "Indian Pipes." They have zero chlorophyll, but draw their energy from the roots of plants. The inset shows the view looking down from above into the "flower" section. The central pistil is surrounded by several yellow, pollen-bearing stamens. The mature flower forms a pink fruit (shown in following image).



Edit: Updated pinwheel mirasmius identification.

23rd Aug 2018 22:49 BSTDana Morong

The ones in the first photo look like little parlor lamps, with the lamps on. One almost expects to find a tiny pull-chain under the shade.

24th Aug 2018 04:45 BSTAaron Verrill

Had this mamushi viper creep up on me while I was digging in a pegmatite pocket in Gifu prefecture (Japan). Scared the crap out of me, so I put him down with a crowbar. Ended up killing two vipers that night. I wonder if they were drawn to the bugs that were in turn drawn to my headlight.

24th Aug 2018 05:05 BSTAaron Verrill

It's honestly been a rough year of rockhounding for me. I've been stung by a mudwasp, bitten by four ticks, chased off by an angry old man in a truck at, what had been up until that time, an open, public collecting site of a flourite mine. I also fell asleep at the wheel while driving back from a dig and drove into a ditch(won't be telling the wifey about that one). Rockhounding is not a hobby to be taken lightly. Be careful folks!

24th Aug 2018 13:52 BSTFred E. Davis

A couple more mushrooms. The first might be a chanterelle (golden or yellow?). The funnels are filled with rain water (which was still in progress at the time of the photo). The long exposure time captured some ripples in the water.

Update: Now identified as Turbinellus floccosus, or scaly vase chanterelle.

Next is a small button mushroom (not identified) with a yellowish stem. It's about 18mm tall above the moss covering a granite boulder. There's a small (about 0.9mm) unidentified insect in the moss just to the left of the stem (look for the black dot).

Update 1: I've been following the progress of this little guy, and as it develops, it's beginning to show characteristics of Suillus pictus, or Painted Suillus.

Update 2: Suillus pictus confirmed; veiled gills. Unfortunately, it was partially eaten by a nocturnal creature.


Update 3: Close view of the Monotropa uniflora fruit (about 10mm diameter).


24th Aug 2018 18:14 BSTClifford Trebilcock

Hi Fred,

I think the orange funnel shaped mushrooms in your first photo are called Wooly Chanterelles (Gompus floccosus)

according to my mushrooms of the northeast guidebook.


24th Aug 2018 20:07 BSTFred E. Davis

Hi Cliff,

I believe you are correct! Wikipedia gives the current name (redefined in 2011) as Turbinellus floccosus.

Warmest regards,


25th Aug 2018 17:21 BSTFred E. Davis

Ok, one more then I'm back to minerals. This one appears to be Amanita muscaria var. guessowii, commonly known as the American yellow fly agaric. The cap was damaged, showing a hole in it. It stands about 9.5cm tall above the leaves.

Update: Eaten by a nocturnal creature. Remnants were found scattered.

25th Aug 2018 20:43 BSTNick Gilly

Sunset clouds 3rd August 2018:


Like a polychrome sapphire above our heads...

26th Aug 2018 16:53 BSTKyle Bayliff

I believe this is a white mayfly (Ephoron Leukon). I found this one while digging fossils on the Brazos River near College Station, TX.

26th Aug 2018 21:53 BSTWayne Corwin

"Smart Bear Story"

This spring, as with most springs here, Mama Bear leads her cubs thru my yard, across the main road and to the swamps and lakes not far from here.

These 2 cubs are yearlings, she will dump them sometime in the summer and bread again. Some years she has 3 cubs.

They come down off the mountain behind my house, go around my house, down a steep banking and wait till they don't hear any traffic,,, then make a run for it. Mama jumps right over the gaurd rail, the cubs scurry under it,,, probably won't be able to do that by fall.

This year I had my camera close and got some shots thru the windows, but 2 from standing on my back step of Mama Bear.... which she didn't like, so last photo was thru a window again.

3 more photos in next posting.



26th Aug 2018 21:53 BSTWayne Corwin

Last 3 photos of the "Smart Bear Story"



27th Aug 2018 14:15 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Here are a couple of plants in SE Arizona, the first photo is of the Jimsonweed and the other two are of the Datura. The flowers are about 12 to 14 cm across and quite pretty. The Jimsonweed has the purple spots in the throat and the Datura just white. Both plants are toxic to man and animals but they sure have pretty flowers and are drought tolerant, a good thing in Arizona.

As they unfold the flowers have a very pretty swirling pattern.

One morning the Daturas on our place had a couple hundred flowers open and quite a smell, which is not unpleasant.

27th Aug 2018 14:18 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Last night the sky put on a very pretty show. I was taking the flower photos and when I looked up this was the sky.

28th Aug 2018 12:04 BSTFred E. Davis

Nice ones, Rolf! Love the light on the layered clouds, and fascinating flowers.

31st Aug 2018 19:54 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Today we took a trip into the Dragoon Mountains of SE Arizona and the Old Man's Beard, Clematis drummondii that was in flower and also with the silky seeds starting.

3rd Sep 2018 18:53 BSTMatt Courville

I thought that I could finally contribute to this thread with something decent;)

Series of rapids and rocks along the Ausable river in the Adirondack High Peaks New York State with a neat mushroom found nearby. I found some labradorite in the river, but that will be for another post I suppose ;)



4th Sep 2018 15:31 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This Summer we have had a good rainy season, which makes for very pretty skies both mornings and evenings. This one was from just last night.

5th Sep 2018 13:03 BSTChris Rayburn

Love this, Rolf! It almost looks surreal.

9th Sep 2018 21:32 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



This is a sphinx moth caterpillar often called horn worm on wolfberry. We see similar ones on tomato and datura plants but had never seen them on the wolfberry but the wolfberry is in the same family of plants so they can eat this also I guess. This one was pretier than the ones on the tomato plants. It was on a plant on our property in SE Arizona.

9th Sep 2018 21:50 BSTPeter K. Szarka

Mutant flower on the same plant as the normal flowers.


14th Sep 2018 14:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



This is a small plant of our SE Arizona desert canyons. We have one on our property and it is both blooming and in seed. The sun was just up and hitting it to make the seeds glow. The plant is Pigeonberry or Rouge Plant Rivina humilis.

15th Sep 2018 14:18 BSTGuy Davis

Can any New England herpetologists ID this tree frog species for me? I found it on a plant in a butterfly garden in Western Connecticut last summer. The frog's coloration perfectly camouflaged it to the point that it seemed to have evolved its coloration to live on this plant alone. The frog was smooth-skinned and about an inch in length. I do not think it is a gray tree frog and might be a non-native species.

22nd Sep 2018 16:08 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Just after sunrise this morning the morning glory flowers were back lit and I got my camera out. Our fence is covered with them this year.

26th Sep 2018 14:32 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Almost started a new thread on "biologicals" since we come across them often. This thread works well enough. I was looking through some Tombstone chrysocolla material after washing it and came across this little piece and decided it was fun enough to get a photo. Even with spray cleaner the little roots stayed in place. Just a fun little photo. Mostly we find lichen and insect parts or spiderwebs but in this case a plant root.

9th Oct 2018 18:21 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Just found the lower fragment of the Mastadon molar we just found yesterday a mile from our house. The upper one I found in the same area a few years ago. Fossil dates here are from tens of thousands to maybe 4 million in our area. Wikepedia Mastadon page has a photo of a molar and one can see the root like the piece we just found.

10th Oct 2018 15:53 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


On the same walk I found the previous Mastadon fossil tooth segment I also found a large but dead wasp, size on my palm near three fingers width. Didn't know what it was and asked online and found it is from the Prionyx genus, Sphecidae family. They are predatory on grasshoppers and use them to feed their young. It is also called a thread-waist wasp. Nice colors of orange and the blue-green irridescent wings.

31st Oct 2018 22:55 GMTAaron Verrill

Thought this pic would be appropriate for halloween. These impressively large (8cm) millipedes glow a wicked, ghost-green under a black light. Touch them and they'll let out a stench you'll never forget! I thought they were moving flourite crystals!


31st Oct 2018 23:04 GMTAaron Verrill

On that same night I ran into Mr. Toad, who was a good 6 inches long. He was not intimidated by my presence and made no effort to crawl away (at this size, they can't jump, just crawl).


8th Nov 2018 17:23 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



This morning we found a leaf on a wild plant with these brown spots and I took a leaf home to see if it was insect related or plant related.

Think it is a fungus with tiny round spores. Some clear stuff thrown in and probably from the plant juices that crystalized.

8th Nov 2018 23:32 GMTJean-François Ferrandon

A few weeks ago , i found this big coconut crab ( birgus latro ) in Niau , French Polynesia .

9th Nov 2018 12:55 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

This is a story with no photo unfortunately. A mine near Dragoon in Cochise County Arizona has a mine dump with a lot of red quartz and hematite on a portion of the mine dump. It is bright red and the only rock type in any of the surrounding area that has this bright red color. I have studied herpetology since I was a youth and know a lot about snakes and one collecting trip to the Centurion Mine in winter with a friend it was warm enough for snakes to be out. Sure enough, there was a western diamondback rattlesnake sunning itself on the red dump. I stopped in my tracks, not because it was a rattlesnake but because it was red, just like the rocks it was sitting between. Our areas rattlesnakes are either gray or light tan to blend in with the background colors of our soils but this snake was a dark red.

I know snakes, over generations can change color to blend into the background of their home. I had never seen a snake change its color to blend in with only a small mine dump color and didn't know this was possible. Changes in color like this take generations and the mine had not been there for more than 70 or so years. Unfortunately it was a collecting trip so no camera along on this trip.

It was just a very odd thing to see an animal that is normally quite different in color change so much to blend into just one spot. Nature is amazing.

9th Nov 2018 14:33 GMTLarry Maltby Expert

Interesting story Rofl,

Here is a photo of a grasshopper that my daughter-in-law took south of Kadoka, South Dakota in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. It appears to show color adaptation.

9th Nov 2018 21:55 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Cool grasshopper photo.

Yes, a ton of things do color adaptation, chameleons do it nearly in seconds to change color to a background and I have seen it very often but the snake story above kind of messed with my biological mind. The mind dump is very small and nothing else is that color anywhere around it. It was just one of those mysteries that to me still remains a big question. Fun to see the various things and how they blend into the background. My wife often says when I point out an animal I spotted that blended in very well, "it is invisible" and that is the point of the adaptation, they are virtually invisible. Like with that grasshopper, if it doesn't move, it is very hard to spot.

Nice photo.

10th Nov 2018 15:05 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Shaggy Mane mushroom, photo just taken 11-10-2018 by our place in SE Arizona.

10th Nov 2018 15:10 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert




While getting the mushroom photo, saw the Jimsonweed in flower and got three photos of the plant, first is the flower full open. The Datura is closely related by the throat is all white. The second is the seed pod. People call them "porcupine eggs" when they try and pull a fast one on the unknowing. The third photo is of the Jimsonweed flower in the process of unfurling and the color is much darker than when they actually are open. Photos taken 11-10-2018 in St. David, Arizona.

2nd Dec 2018 23:09 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Long-Nosed Bat on our outside wall in SE Arizona Dec. 2, 2018. These nectar feeding bats have mostly migrated South by now, this one may have missed going along.

8th Dec 2018 18:15 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert



Had a nice rain yesterday and this mornings walk saw a tiny Lupine plant on the ground, only about 2.5cm across, covered in dew from the nights wet. The sun was out and I took a couple of photos.

20th Dec 2018 14:59 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


On facebook the other day, Mary showed me a photo of the bark of this same kind of eucalyptus tree and I looked for the photo I had of it. It is from a Mindanau Gum tree on Hawaii in 1982 but to make it a bit more interesting, I turned the photo sideways. The tree was on the campus of the college on Oahu.

20th Dec 2018 15:10 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert

Tried to turn the photo but for some reason it didn't stay horizontal, the above photo is the way I took it on the tree.

2nd Jan 2019 14:49 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert


Southeastern Arizona is a bit on the white side on the 2'nd of Jan. Yesterday was a preview with about 2cm of the white stuff, today it is 8cm and still falling. Have not had a Winter like this in many years.

Hope it doesn't do this for the Tucson Mineral Show?? Did this one year.

12th Jan 2019 22:49 GMTKevin Conroy

Saint Louis, Missouri, USA just got our first decent snow of the season, about 10 inches so far. The birds still didn't have any trouble finding the sunflower seed buffet in our back yard.


6th Mar 2019 15:39 GMTJohn Truax

Out shooting on a cold winter day, and was happy to get a close fly over by a young bald eagle.

7th Mar 2019 15:38 GMTKevin Conroy

Recently my wife and I went to the Audubon Center at Riverlands ( ) just north of Saint Louis, Missouri. There's a slough that comes off of the Mississippi River that partially to mostly freezes during the winter. Here are some bald eagles on the ice with some pelicans in the background.

Pelicans with seagulls on the ice.


13th Mar 2019 17:21 GMTDoug Schonewald

Ice altering to water on my patio cover :-)

13th Mar 2019 17:23 GMTDoug Schonewald

This fellow patiently waited for my feeder birds to reappear. He sat in the same location for over 5 hours before finally giving up and moving on to better hunting grounds.

13th Mar 2019 19:45 GMTKevin Conroy

Douglas, I like your water polymorph!

26th Mar 2019 15:38 GMTRolf Luetcke Expert




This mornings wildflowers in SE Arizona. Been a drought for years so after a nice rainy winter, finally had some flowers come up.

First two are in the Lily family-Bluedicks, the third a Heliotrope. Took these photos 3-26-2019 near St. David, Arizona.

1st Apr 2019 22:51 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



We were working at the front of our store about 2:30pm and heard a lot of buzzing above us. The air was full of flying bees, hundreds and hundreds of them. I followed a short distance to see they had picked a mesquite tree near our building to rest. The queen lands and then the worker bees cover the queen and make a big ball of bees. They are relatively docile in this way, even though they are Africanized. The swarm is not a really big one but fun to see.

2nd Apr 2019 04:09 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert

I went out to collect fluorescent chalcedony/opal with my friends Joe and Jinette D'Oliveira(from Sudbury, Ont.) a week ago, just north east of Safford, AZ. On the way, we came across amazing areas of yellow flowers, mostly "Mexican Poppies" with varying doses of Desert Marigolds and Lupine. Mostly Mexican poppies, though. First time I've seen this sort of "super bloom", apparently cause by lots of precipitation in November and during winter, which helps the seeds to germinate and flourish.

Joe took the picture of Riley (my guard-dog buddy) and me, while I took the other two.

Oh, and we found some good fluorescent chalcedony and opal!

David K. Joyce



2nd Apr 2019 04:55 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. This “Stick Bug” has made it’s residence at the Rustler #2 Mine.

4th Apr 2019 21:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Just was outside in SE Arizona at 1:30pm and saw this gopher snake on our parking lot. It was not moving too fast so got the camera and got a few shots of it. First photo shows the head to neck and body ratio and it is important to tell this snake from the rattlesnakes, there is nearly no neck and the head is narrow and on the rattlesnakes the back of the head sticks out a good ways from the neck, more like a modified triangle.

Second easy way to tell is the second photo shows the tail coming to a point and no rattle. The people who are from out of the area often mistake the gopher snake with a rattlesnake because of the patterns on the body but they are distinctly different and not in a diamond shape as with a rattlesnake. Nice snake to see and we love having those around.

18th Apr 2019 20:55 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Just took these photos this morning on our place in SE Arizona, looks like Spring has sprung. First is a hedgehog cactus in bloom, second one is a mammilaria cactus with new blooms and older red fruits. Third one is a prickly pear on the way to blooming. We had never seen so many buds on pads on our place and should be quite a sight when blooming.

20th Apr 2019 23:30 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Today we tossed a couple small cupcakes for the little round-tailed ground squirrels on our property and to my surprise, the cottontail also had a sweet tooth. I took several photos and one shows the bunny getting a bite but this one shows both bunny and squirrel at the toss outs. A minute before the two had touched noses and both hopped back a bit but went right back to getting bites. Happy Easter!

2nd May 2019 23:30 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



A couple more early May cactus flowers, first one is the center portion of a Hedgehog Cactus. Second one is a Prickly Pear Cactus flower.

Both on our property in SE Arizona.

5th May 2019 15:39 BSTJobe Giles

Rolf, I absolutely love the cacti flowers. Went out digging quartz yesterday and found 12 lbs of sprin King porcini boletes in about 15 min.


8th May 2019 17:30 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


We have a Pyroluxis, or western Cardinal, nesting in our back yard in SE Arizona and I took a photo of the eggs in the nest today, 5-8-2019.

8th May 2019 17:45 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. Cactus Flowers in bloom on Sugar Loaf Hill at the Florence Mine. Beautiful and delicate Flowers that is amazing that they can survive in the harsh Nevada desert.



12th May 2019 00:12 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is a Cane Cholla blooming on our place this morning.

12th May 2019 23:38 BSTKevin Conroy

A few photos from this week in Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, USA:

Mingo Falls


Black Bear


Female turkey

12th May 2019 23:43 BSTKevin Conroy

Some butterflies enjoying(?) dung in Smoky Mountains National Park:


13th May 2019 16:27 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. The “Settlers Rose” growing wild as it has in Goldfield for over 110 years... in town, the residents call it the Goldfield Rose as the color of the rose is close to the towns name.

13th May 2019 16:41 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


The butterflies use dung often to get minerals not found in just, plain water.

The following photo is of our Round-Tailed Ground Squirrels that just had their young and the babies all watching me with the camera trying to get a few shots.

13th May 2019 18:28 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Another visitor, coyote, to our bird feeder, just checking for anything it can eat.

15th May 2019 15:05 BSTKyle Bayliff

Lepidoptera use other strange sources for nutrients, too including sweat, tears, and yes, blood. Calyptra Thalictri, the "Vampire Moth," even has the ability to pierce skin to get to it.

16th May 2019 12:04 BSTChris Rayburn

Swell. Now I'm going to have moth nightmares. Where did you photograph this little darling? A quick Wikipedia search suggests they've made their way from Asia to western Europe, but no mention of them being in the New World...yet...

16th May 2019 14:42 BSTKyle Bayliff

That picture just came from google, but I thought it was a good visual. It even looks like it dribbled a few drops of blood

19th May 2019 14:37 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Here in SE Arizona it is the time of year again for the Night-Blooming Cereus to flower. This is from the ones that flowered last night. Early morning is the best time to get the photos.

19th May 2019 21:31 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



These are, unlike the previous two photos being night flowering, these are day flowering. Both are Cholla Cactus of different varieties.

First one is the Arizona Pencil Cholla and the second one is the Buck-horn Cholla.

20th May 2019 18:40 BSTDoug Schonewald

Circumhorizontal Arc, 22 degree Sun Halo (rainbow colored), Parhelic Arc (white), and an Altocumulus Volutus (rare cloud formation) in Moses Lake, WA yesterday



20th May 2019 21:38 BSTScott Rider

Doug, your altocumulus volutus looks like you are looking at a wave from below! You have some very nice images!!

20th May 2019 21:41 BSTDoug Schonewald

Thanks Scott. Just being observant and having a camera at the ready is pretty much all it takes

20th May 2019 21:47 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. It looks like Jack Frost has visited the famous mining district of Goldfield.

20th May 2019 22:44 BSTWayne Corwin

I think you already did the "cool" frozen Jack Frost lamp.

23rd May 2019 00:33 BSTDoug Schonewald

Painted Turtle under water. By far the most common turtle in central Washington state

23rd May 2019 16:57 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


this morning, on our property back gate, this Turkey Vulture was roosting from last night. The gate is not tall so was a bit surprised to see it roosting that low. Well, no neighbors to disturb it, or it knew something we didn't know. Hope not but by 9am it was gone.

4th Jun 2019 22:07 BSTKevin Conroy

In a small glen in Wildwood, Missouri, USA (not far from Saint Louis) the prickly pear cactus are in bloom.

4th Jun 2019 22:29 BSTJon Aurich

I think I did, but it was on Mindat Photo Gallery.

5th Jun 2019 05:23 BSTAndrea Oppicelli

This is the tree of life. In it is represented all the beauty of the plant world. There's the ovary with the stylus and the stigma, the stamens with the anthers and the filaments and scattered pollen grains. The flower is a mountain mallow.


21st Jun 2019 13:59 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




This is a bit like "never met a mineral I didn't like" and picking up a mineral because you just can't walk by, even though you already have enough of this mineral. The Night-Blooming Cereus cactus flowers are very similar, I have a ton of good photos already but these two bloomed just yesterday morning and I had to go back for the camera. The flowers are amazing, not only in size, near the size of ones hand, but are so short in the time they are open, just one night. They also have a wonderful sweet smell one can smell a long way off.

We have nearly 60 of the cacti on our place and still about 90 flowers to come in a couple more weeks.

21st Jun 2019 14:38 BSTDoug Schonewald

Great photo Rolf. My understanding is that there are bats that love them and are the primary pollinators

21st Jun 2019 19:47 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the comment on the photos. I just can't "not" take photos of those when they flower. As for the bats and pollination on the flowers, not so much on the cereus since most of the nectar bats are busy farther west of us this time of year on the saguaros. The long-nosed bats don't usually show up in our area until sometime in August. Although the bats are here, we see mostly the sphinx moths on them and early as the sun first comes up the bees are all over them. They normally don't close until about 2 to 3 hours after sunrise, best time to get photos too. Most people get the photos at night but if one gets up before the sun does, the flowers are at their best. That morning I beat the honeybees to the flowers so they were pretty much pristine. We do have one thing that gets the flowers some years, the javalinas can smell them from far off and some mornings we got up early to get photos only to find the flowers eaten off. Since we have so many we have had plenty of time to study them over the years.

22nd Jun 2019 03:11 BSTDavid K. Joyce Expert

Thanks Rolf. Really nice! Since your place is the BEST mineral locality for many miles around Benson, there are TWO good reasons for people to visit you! Great plants and great minerals! :)

23rd Jun 2019 02:13 BSTJobe Giles

Sierra Nevada thunderstorms



23rd Jun 2019 16:27 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. Ravens have made their home at the old mill of the Florence Mine. Owls are also a favorite tenant here, generally at the Carpenters Shop.


23rd Jun 2019 19:21 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Funny, earlier this year we had a bee swarm come through late in the day and settle in a branch on a mesquite tree by our shop and a couple days later the scouts found a place and the swarm moved on. That branch had a little bit of wax the bees had put on the branch. It was there when I looked recently. Late yesterday I was by the same area and saw a ton of bees flying right above me. I stood and watched and wondered if they could find that spot the others had landed. Sure enough, that is exactly where the second swarm landed for the night.

This swarm was nearly twice the size of the last one that made only one ball of bees, this was two balls of them. I got to within about 8 feet to get photos this morning since swarming bees are very docile, even though they are Africanized here in our area. The swarms send out scouts to find a good place to live and that can take a day or two before they move on.

We love seeing things like this up close and on our property and I thought I share it here.

24th Jun 2019 10:10 BSTLarry Maltby Expert


I enjoyed seeing your bee swarm. When I was a young boy I often saw bee swarms and bee trees but not hardly at all in recent years. I can remember riding my bike past an area where some “old growth” forest was being cleared to build some stores. One of the trees fell across the sidewalk and broke open. Gobs of honey were oozing out of the tree onto the sidewalk. I thought that wild honey had to be processed to be edible. Big mistake! I should have gone home to get some jars. It would have been delicious.


24th Jun 2019 11:59 BSTChris Rayburn


Just getting back to Mindat after a couple of days in the field. Great lightning shots!

24th Jun 2019 14:24 BSTJohn Truax

Down at the swimming hole....

Snapping turtle

24th Jun 2019 14:56 BSTDon Swenson

Back in 1991 a friend and I were digging through the dumps at the Beauregard Mine in Alstead, New Hampshire. We had found a fair number of beryl crystals (mostly yellow and opaque) but decided to cut our trip short when we heard the warning sounds of a rattlesnake coming from a hole in the rocks (sorry, no picture).

26th Jun 2019 00:44 BSTStephen Rose Expert

Working in the West for decades and seeing lots of snakes, the only time I really had a scare was while sampling a mine dump in Utah. That buzz does get your heart going! Doing a field camp in Montana we were warned about the snakes, but told that only one student had actually been bitten. In the wallet as he sat down!

1st Jul 2019 14:56 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Heat is on here in SE Arizona, waiting for the summer monsoon to kick in and the animals on our place do what they can. The cottontail is in a small depression under an old plastic chair we keep full of water for the bees and birds and I cleaned it off and the area below was wet. Bunny dug the top dry soil away and laid down in the damp soil below to keep cool. We have at least 7 cottontails close to our house since we have plants we water and they stay under those where it is a bit cooler.

2nd Jul 2019 17:27 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Took a little ATV trip from our house in SE Arizona this morning. I can use a gate at the back of our property to access land that is now closed to access by the public. I also got permission from the land owner to use this access so plenty of open land to get to.

There is an old railroad bed only about 2km from our place that goes up and down the valley. The tracks have been gone for a long time but the bed is drivable. A few miles along is a short road that goes into a big wash and this wash I can ride back to the main roads. Along the way are many steep banks that expose all kinds of silt layers and some have fossils. On this trip I stopped by one bank and looked to see if anything had been exposed. At the bottom was the tooth in the photos. I recognized it as a fossil horse tooth that is from 2 to 4 million years old. I was very happy to find the tooth.

On the way down I also decided to ride to one small side wash that is a good spot for gypsum collecting. The spot I wanted to see was one a fellow was killed a few years back by the bank giving way. I wanted to see if the area had changed at all. Last time I didn't think the wall looked loose and dangerous so I figured people had probably been back to that place to collect.

I was completely surprised to see that another huge section of the bank had collapsed again. This one was about twice the size that had killed someone before. There was no sign of anyone having gone there in the wash as I rode up so I figure it came down all on its own with nobody in the area, at least I hope so.

This I wanted to post to again point out the danger of some of these steep banks that apparently can come down at any time.

3rd Jul 2019 22:41 BSTJobe Giles

Woah! Rolf, you can’t ever be too careful with those vertical or past vertical embankments. If had a few clods fall on me, enough to know that I wouldn’t be able to escape of a few that size fell on me. I’m telling you, not a feeling you ever want to experience. Great PSA! Oh, and fascinating find!

4th Jul 2019 03:04 BSTJon Aurich

Goldfield Nevada. Young birds getting ready for flight in the old compressor shop of the Florence Mine.


4th Jul 2019 08:25 BSTDale Foster Expert


A Robin, perched in a hedge at the old St Agnes Consols Mine site.

The little bird obligingly sat still long enough to get a picture.

5th Jul 2019 04:58 BSTKyle Bayliff

I went hunting for vesuvianite at the Traverse Creek Special Interest Area near Georgetown, CA today. I didn't find much in the way of gemstones, but it was a prime location for wildflowers (and I'll have to go back in the fall when the blackberries are ripe). I found this pretty Mariposa lily (calochortus superbus), and this little bug. I haven't been able to ID the bug, but its carapace shines like copper in the sun. Perfect thing to find in a rock hole.

Edit: I finally found out what the little bug is. It's a rock bristletail (all the better to find in a rock hole). Bristletails apparently have been around since the Devonian period more or less unchanged. This little guy's a living fossil!


8th Jul 2019 14:57 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


It was the time again for the cereus cacti to bloom and this morning we had about 60 flowers open. This one had the most, 21 flowers on the whole plant but we only took the photo of the main group, great flowers and wonderful smell. They are best photographed as the sun rises to get them as they are full open. Most people take the photos at night and the flash does not do the flower justice.

25th Jul 2019 23:53 BSTDon Saathoff Expert

Any mycologists out there? I only know these critters are strange! They are growing on/in magnetite etched out of calcite 25 years ago so they have appeared since then. The magnetite specimens were sitting on the top of an old assay furnace in the back yard, undisturbed since the etch & neutralization - 25 years ago. The first pic (82999) is a snapshot of the "bottom" surface of the specimen (no crystals). Each white spot is .2mm in diameter and extends into the magnetite 1mm. There is a translucent white ring around the circumference and the center is opaque white. Each critter (or colony) is shaped like a funnel with gently sloping walls down to a point.

The second pic (83000) is a close-up of two of the critters. The one on the right is torn open - very soft and somewhat fibrous - and was intense red at the base when initially exposed but, in an less than hour, turned to an orange and lost intensity. I tried to google iron-consuming fungi but found nothing like these critters...


27th Jul 2019 15:25 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



In Arizona it is definitely the time of year where one watches all the time for snakes. This morning I took our dog for a walk, me on bicycle and she walking. Fortunately she was behind me and I came to a quick stop when I saw the rattlesnake in the "hunting" position, right in the middle of the trail I was on. The snake had been here waiting for a meal to come by but we were a bit big. I went way around and made sure the dog did also and went back for my camera. I think the snake was asleep since it had not moved after I saw it.

Got a few nice photos and then zoomed in on the head. The main point for people asking me about poisonous versus non-poisonous is the eye has a slit pupil as opposed to a round pupil. Here you can see the slit is completely closed off.

This Western Diamondback had a particularly nice pattern and I wanted a photo of it. Most of the time the snakes are the same color as the background to blend in but this one stood out.

27th Jul 2019 22:54 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


This is an addition to the earlier rattlesnake post. I also found a shed skin of a snake and wanted to see if it was a rattlesnake skin or one of the non-poisonous snakes. To do this one picks up the dry skin and since the snake turns the skin inside out as it crawls out of the skin, the skin is outside in. To tell one needs to break the skin open and look at the smaller upper body scales and if they are smooth, as in the photo, the snake is non poisonous, in this case probably a gopher snake. If the center of the scale has a "keel" running down the center, then it is a rattlesnake. This goes pretty much for our area of Southern Arizona.

27th Jul 2019 22:58 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



I also found one of the first green June Beetles-Cotinis nitida, that was dead. I took it in to the microscope and since the color reminds me of a dark emerald, took some photos of the beetles head. The color is absolutely metallic.

28th Jul 2019 18:01 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Here is an example I talked about above. The top photo is of a coachwhip, a non poisonous snake that is an active hunter and has the round pupils.

The second snake is a night snake, a mildly poisonous snake of Arizona. They are not anything to worry about and actually rarely bite but show the pupil in the vertical slit as with the rattlesnakes.

29th Jul 2019 03:50 BSTKeith Compton Manager

Hi Rolf

I wouldn't like to put your "snake eye test" to the test down under. Our brown snakes and taipans for example have round eyes and are some of the most poisonous snakes in the world.

I like to treat all snakes with extreme caution.

29th Jul 2019 14:45 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Yes, that is why I had said "Arizona" in my post. I know about the Aussie snakes and how many are hard to tell between poisonous and non poisonous, my rule of thumb doesn't apply in your neck of the woods. I always realized that going down under I would have to look at herps with a totally new eye. Same with spiders, here one gets to know what are a problem and what are not but in Australia, different matter again, some really nasty spider down under too.

31st Jul 2019 20:16 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Just a bit ago I posted the close up of the scales on the shed skin I had found. Today, only about three days later, I saw the snake, freshly shed since it is very bright in color. It is the snake I thought had left the skin, a Gopher Snake.

31st Jul 2019 21:56 BSTDoug Schonewald

Moths have been busy in my yard lately, especially in the evenings. Since I re-landscaped to benefit birds and pollinators we have butterflies and bees during the day and moths in the evenings


31st Jul 2019 23:36 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Particularly nice sphinx photo. Those move wings so fast it is hard to get them clear but you did well.

1st Aug 2019 04:30 BSTGreg Dainty

Recently we came across this rather lost and disorientated young Spotted Quoll, close to our home. The quoll is a marsupial (animal with pouch) and is usually nocturnal, and usually is only seen in open forests, they are very shy. We contacted the National Park ranger, and together we were able to capture it, with some effort, (note the teeth). The National Parks, examined it and looked after it (fed it up) for a few days then were able to release it successfully back to the forest. ( last pic). This was a rare and wonderful experience, most Australian would never see one of these beautiful animals in their entire life!


1st Aug 2019 16:59 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert



Typical after a good rain in SE Arizona in the Summer season are the ant swarms. This morning there was a column of the ants in the air, looks like a small tornado of ants and thousands on the ground. The mating flight of ants is a common site in the Monsoon season. My brother in law called one time to tell me on his way to work he saw dozens of swarms of bees driving down the road and I had to laugh, he had seen the ant swarms and thought they were bees.

I know the ants outnumber us on our property by astronomical proportions.

2nd Aug 2019 00:05 BSTJobe Giles

Greg, that is soooo awesome!!! Almost akin to to our experiences with a ringtail cat that liked to frequent our mining camp in the Sierra Nevadas of California. I’m guessing yours was more rare though. Also, we never could get pics of it as he only came around at night.

2nd Aug 2019 00:14 BSTJobe Giles

Rolf, as always, so much beauty in aZ, I love how you capture and share it! Thank you! I don’t think I e ever mentioned it here but, my 4 year old son had a run in with a diamondback when he was 14 months old. He went into the kids playhouse on our front porch and picked a baby diamond back. Spent 5 days in PICU and received 17 vials of antivenin.

2nd Aug 2019 02:25 BSTGareth Evans

Actually reptiles are my most favoured of pets. As a young lad in NSW I would often go out catching 'blue-tongue' lizards. When I lived in Western Australia I would go for a walk in the neighbouring woodlands and come across a dozen or more western brown snakes in an hours walk. Western Browns are very timid snakes and only bite if you step on them. An even then it was problematic that they would inject venom. Venom is best kept for hunting so 'dry' bites are very common form of defense for the western brown. They are a very beautiful reptile!

2nd Aug 2019 14:32 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert


Sure is lucky that the son did OK after a bite. That is very dangerous in young children. We live in diamondback country and have a snake proof back yard since we have dogs. In the 8 years we have had the yard, only one time did a rattlesnake ever get in and that was because a rat had chewed a hole in the window screen fence we have over the chain link. Your son was very fortunate with modern techniques to save them and the antivenin does work.


Funny you mentioned a blue-tongued skin, we have one as a pet, had it for a number of years now. It was captive born, they have a big market for them in the US. I started off collecting snakes and lizards as a kid in California and kept a bunch as pets. Now down to the skink, a couple of dogs and all the wildlife that lives on our property.

Our Arizona coral snakes are like you said with the Brown snakes, they are not likely to bite and in the historic records there has never been a bite that killed anyone from an Arizona Coral Snake bite. They are normally too small to bite, even though their venom is like that of a cobra, neurotoxic.

We had a pet tarantula for nearly 40 years also, unfortunately it died last year. Cool thing with tarantulas, they are quiet, don't smell and can be left alone for months at a time, nearly the perfect pet.

2nd Aug 2019 14:37 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert




Here are some photos of our blue-tongued skink.

3rd Aug 2019 00:01 BSTGareth Evans


That is a beautiful reptile. I do have a fondness for reptiles and turtles. I suppose it grew out of my contact with them as a young boy. My mother would often confuse goanna's with crocodiles. She and my father had arrived on the Australian continent with some of my siblings in the late 40’s and started building a house on the outskirts of Sydney. Her first day of house building came with a very loud scream – her first encounter with a crocodile, which was actually a goanna.

I have often considered having a reptile as a pet, but it is a big responsibility. I am often saddened to see dogs and cats neglected after the novelty of owning them has worn off.

Many thanks for the wonderful photos.


3rd Aug 2019 04:45 BSTGreg Dainty

Rolf , we love your very healthy blue tongue, they are wonderful reptiles. We have a family living around our house, when it a bit cool, they love sneaking in and hiding behind the refrigerator, where it a bit warm. They are also very fond of dog biscuits! Wonderful pics! Thanks.

3rd Aug 2019 14:23 BSTRolf Luetcke Expert