Montana Outdoors

June 28, 2010

Catching up ~ little critters

Here are a few of the small critters that I’ve encountered during the last month or so: it wouldn’t be right to leave them out because they were kind enough to let me photograph them.

Pine Siskin A Pine Siskin, maybe not the best groomed, but the friendliest of all our local birds. I think they are pretty special.

Crab spiderCrab spider: I thought they came in many colors until I found that they have the ability to change color, although it takes them a while to do it.

Hundred-pound batNot everyone has a hundred-pound bat hanging (literally) around the place. This one is a year-round resident.

Bull snakeThis bull snake was pretty good sized and did his very best rattlesnake imitation for me complete with a hiss that sounded very much like a rattle and a quite professional strike at my hand. He’s a very pretty and beneficial snake!

Yellow-headed blackbirdA yellow-headed blackbird: I had never seen one before and thought I had quite a find until I read that they are actually very common.

Frog (he's hiding)Don’t pay any attention to this frog… he’s hiding.


  1. That bat is cool, did you make it? And all the critters are cute…except the spider.


    Comment by Candace — June 28, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

    • Yes, my son and I found those rocks one day while we were fishing and thought they would make a great bat. The wings are about two feet tall and the whole thing weighs 100 – 150 lbs.

      Those little spiders live on a lot of the flowers here and feed on the insects that the blossoms attract. We had one a couple of years ago stay on some yellow tulips and he made his color match exactly. They are probably quite beneficial and not in the least aggressive.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 2:19 am

  2. those are beautiful photos and i love the year round bat! 🙂


    Comment by Laura — June 29, 2010 @ 6:37 am

  3. Great photos as usual and if it’s any consolation we don’t get yellow headed blackbirds around here so I consider this a first.


    Comment by dave1949 — June 29, 2010 @ 6:53 am

    • Thanks Dave. I can’t believe I missed seeing those birds for so many years.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  4. What an interesting menagerie you have out west, Terry. Amazing how creatures adapt to survive.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — June 29, 2010 @ 10:04 am

    • They each have a strategy that works for them, don’t they!


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  5. I know you won’t believe it, but so far I have not seen a single frog in the 10 months I have lived here in Tn on the lake. I really enjoy reading your blog! Excellent photographs!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 29, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    • Thanks! It seems unusual to not have frogs around a body of water, but perhaps they have a predator there or something. Must be some reason. It would be interesting to know!


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  6. If I have ever seen a pine siskin, I didn’t recognize it. They are here, I know.

    Love the bat, hate the snake, even if it does good.

    I saw a yellow headed blackbird here, for several years. It was with the redwings. It was totally out of range.

    Last summer I watched a crab spider turn yellow on one of my coreopsis blossoms. It did take a couple of days. A long time ago, we had a pink one on steeplebush flowers.

    You didn’t mentioned them, but the lupines are pretty, too.


    Comment by sandy — June 29, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    • I haven’t seen the spider in pink, just yellow and white and light green. The lupines are domestic, although here Nature cares for them mostly: they have had a good year this year. The yellow headed birds that I saw were somewhat curious but very cautious and wouldn’t come close or let me get closer. The bat now: I can get right up close to that one!


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  7. That is a way cool bat! How neat to make out of rocks and looks neat hanging there above the lovely purple flowers. I think the bull snake is beautiful… I’m fascinated by snakes. I haven’t seen a yellow-headed blackbird, and that is a great shot. Enjoyed all the critters!


    Comment by Anna — June 29, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

    • We love having the bat there. Just above it and a bit off to the side is our yard light and at night the bat has a rather ominous look to it. I’ve seen more snakes this year than usual and several very nice bull snakes. One day I saved three (they get out on the roads and I stop and get them off the road and away where they are safe because there are folks who will just run over them).


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

      • I hate it when someone swerves deliberately to run over a snake in the road. That is wonderful you save the snakes off the road. I do the same for turtles.


        Comment by Anna — July 1, 2010 @ 6:18 am

        • I’ve moved turtles too, but we don’t have that many on the roads here. I can’t understand why people will kill things just because they can. Makes no sense.


          Comment by montucky — July 1, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  8. The siskin looks like he’s just about to have a wash and brush up.

    Your photos are always so beautiful.

    We don’t have crab spiders here. I’d like to see one change colour!


    Comment by absurdoldbird — June 29, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    • Siskins all seem to cultivate that rather unkept look, kind of like the present fad with guys keeping a three-day growth of beard (the hobo look), although with the birds it probably won’t eventually go away.

      If I remember correctly, the spider can change from yellow to white fairly quickly (hours) but it takes days to go the other way because they have to produce the yellow pigment. I suppose it’s quite handy for them to be able to do that. We had a yellow one who we named “Tony” who was such a close match to a yellow tulip that we always had a hard time finding him. He also would hide inside the blossom when it closed up for the night.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  9. Love these photos, Dad!! 🙂


    Comment by Juls — June 30, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

    • Thanks! I’ve not done too well with “critter” photos lately. Need to have the long lens on more often.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

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  11. love the picts! except for the bull snake, yes I know he’s helpful but I hate looking at them anyway!


    Comment by silken — July 1, 2010 @ 6:56 am

    • One of our old friends feels the same way about snakes and I’ve never been able to change her mind either.


      Comment by montucky — July 1, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

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  13. Common or not, the yellow headed blackbird is a bird I’ve never seen, and I think it’s quite the bird!


    Comment by Bo Mackison — July 5, 2010 @ 7:24 am

    • Certainly colorful, isn’t it! I can’t believe I hadn’t seen one before this.


      Comment by montucky — July 5, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  14. Thanks for sharing your local companions. I have never even heard of a yellow headed blackbird=he is quite striking. Nice capture of that snake, too. Can’t imagine its easy to get a shot of one of those!


    Comment by victry1 — August 1, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    • I had not heard of the yellow headed blackbird before either. I’ve seen more snakes this summer than usual, but no rattlesnakes, which is strange. They are easy to photograph because you can get them to stop and coil and then you can get quite close.


      Comment by montucky — August 1, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

      • See, I didn’t know that. I think if aI saw a snake coiled, I’d vamoose pretty quick because I wold think they were going to strike. Poisonous or not, I’d like to avoid being bitten. 🙂 So, I think you’re very brave.


        Comment by victry1 — August 1, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

        • Not brave: just been around snakes a lot. They are quite predictable. I think their main problem is that they have always had very bad press agents.


          Comment by montucky — August 1, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

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