Some Random, Recent Critters I’ve Photographed

This is an eclectic group of images but maybe that’s part of the appeal for me. They give me a sense of the variety of my subjects even when my primary goal is birds.

Each of these images was taken within the last two months or so. I’ll provide minimal narration.


lark sparrow 6091 ron dudley

 1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

 A Lark Sparrow on Antelope Island with a beak-full of grasshoppers for its offspring.



muskrat 2297 ron dudley

  1/500, f/11, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

This muskrat at Bear River was gnawing away at some green shoots when it paused to give me eye contact. I seldom see them this far out of the water.



orb-weaver spider

  1/3200, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

The spiders on Antelope Island in August are huge, conspicuous and intimidating to many. There are so many of them (largely orb weavers) that the state park holds an annual Spider Festival that month.



raccoon 8564 ron dudley

  1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 1250, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

When I see raccoons at Bear River they’re usually wet and pretty scroungy looking. This one was running at a pretty good clip.



black-necked stilt 4928 ron dudley

  1/320, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

These Black-necked Stilt chicks on Antelope Island were crossing the road in front of me at dawn. I never did get eye contact from all three of them. I have to wonder how those long legs were able to fit in the egg.



long-tailed weasel 3259 ron dudley

  1/8000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

I was photographing egrets and stilts at Bear River when this Long-tailed Weasel peered at me from cover growing out over a boat ramp. Dang, they’re furtive and hard to photograph!

Sometimes when a subject pops up unexpectedly there’s no time to adjust camera settings. That’s what happened here – thus the ridiculously high shutter speed and ISO.



swainson's hawk 7903 ron dudley

  1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

I seldom post “poop shots” but I thought this one was pretty impressive. And interesting, because it clearly shows products from both the urinary and digestive system. This is a Swainson’s Hawk on the edge of Montana’s Centennial Valley.

Yes, I’m primarily a bird photographer but part of the enjoyment of my hobby is the occasional opportunity I get with other forms of wildlife. You just never know what you’ll see “out there”.






23 comments to Some Random, Recent Critters I’ve Photographed

  • Jane Shipp

    Oh, wow!!! I have never seen a weasel in the wild!!! And to think that he popped up for a photo op! Made my day – evening – as I am late getting to the computer today due to company! Great shots!!

  • Jean

    Loved the all Ron!

  • Love them all. And they are almost all incredible exotica to me.
    I suspect those stilts use origami to get those legs inside the egg. Or magic.

  • How fun. Sadly, I loved the poop shot. 😀 But my favorite has to be the three chicks with the impossibly long legs. 😀 Oh and the orb spider. I’m a huge fan of “Charlotte’s” ;D

  • Marya Moosman

    I love this random group of photos! I also enjoy taking pictures of other things while out birding. Someday I intend to put together a collection called “Other interesting things seen while bird watching.” I have quite a variety! I’ve also run across weasels off and on and though they are usually hard to photograph, I found one in a tree once that was very intent on watching me while I took photos of it. So much fun!

  • Kris Eberhard

    I really liked seeing these other critters—-do you have any thoughts as to why there are lots of spiders on antelope island , especially large ones, such as Orb Weavers ?

  • Dick Harlow

    Now, you know Ron I love your avian shots, but I have to admit that the one thing other than birds that captured me, took over my brain, was your shots of weasels! High shutter speeds or not you capture some outstanding shots of this very elusive mammal. Believe me you take excellent shots of other wildlife (including humans and things)) along with the landscape of where you shoot. This fellow, me, here in the east really appreciates these other shots as well as the birds!!

  • Susan Stone

    I love seeing any kind of wildlife when I’m out and about, even though there are certain things I aim for. There’s something special about surprise encounters with wildlife. I’m not sure why people are intimidated by garden spiders like the photo you included. Because they are easily visible if I keep my eyes open, they don’t surprise me by showing up in unexpected places (like rappelling down from the ceiling into my dinner), and I can therefore appreciate them more. They also tend to have interesting designs on their bodies.

  • Patty Chadwick

    I love seeing as many other critters, big skies, prairies, rivers and streams, mountains and rolling hills– as much scenery as you’re willing to share…if you love birds, and I do, You love the other critters, too…their natural surroundings and habitat…all part of this wonderful,magical, natural world. City and town scenes, not so much……

    • It’ll be a rare occurrence when I post “cities and towns” on this blog, Patty. Shots like that would have to be incidental to a more natural story I’m telling to ever show up here. But the other stuff you mention – it’s all fair game. Thank you.

  • There is nothing more boring than a person with a narrow viewpoint. Glad that doesn’t apply to you. Loved your weasel and stilt chicks the most. When I was I Malheur NWR, I used to eat their invasive carp and threw the carasses over my back fence for the magpies. I also attracted Lewis woodpeckers and a long-tailed weasel. But he was too low in the grass and to fast to capture with my camera.

    • Wow, you ate carp, Marilyn. That’s something that is still foreign to my palate.

      And yes, “low and fast” describes weasels very well. Typically they’re extremely difficult to photograph but then when you’re about to give up even trying you find a relatively cooperative one.

  • Jorge H. Oliveira

    What a delightful series of images. Definitely this is what I want to do when my retirement comes .To be “out there” enjoying whatever Nature brings to me.
    Thank you Ron.