Speaking of leeches, one of my summer campers found a rough-skinned newt with multiple leeches attached to it. This newt species is one of the more toxic (to humans, at least) species in North America. Gnarly.
interesting. apparently the newts eat leeches. so maybe another newt could come along and help clean the leeches off of this one?
i often see turtles around here with leeches, and i assume that turtles – unlike, say, snakes – just have limited ability to get rid of the leeches (other than by limited scratching / rubbing and basking to dry the leeches). most people probably would never notice the leeches unless they know to look for them though. here’s a group of 3 turtles, where the one of the left has a leech on its leg, the one in the middle is sneezy, and the one on the right is itchy: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/126143342.
Standing on the Santa Cruz (Ca) Wharf, many years ago, we saw a sea lion attempting to rescue an injured sea lion. The injured one seemed to be unconscious and the rescuer tried to carry it over its head and shoulders, slowly pushing it to the nearby seal colony rock. It was having a lot of difficulty, but stayed with the effort for quite a long time. There were quite a lot of witnesses watching this unusual activity with us. It was still going on when I turned away.
Not particularly rare but extremely interesting was a mass beaching event I was lucky (if you can call it that) to experience recently.
I was there for 4 hours prior, watching and waiting, as the Long-finned pilot whales congregated, jumped into the air and huddled about 50 metres offshore. They got agitated in the late afternoon, and an hour before dusk they rushed the beach. For roughly 2 hours a group of us tried to get them out to sea again, however they continued to beach themselves. The next day more attempts were made to get them out to sea, however they couldn’t be saved and as a result were all euthanized.
I don’t believe the incident was caused by sonar or injuries- it was extremely purposeful and they knew exactly what they were doing. My best guess is it was done out of grief or something similar. I’d be keen to hear from anyone that has any expertise.
All in all, a tragic event but very fascinating and hopefully one we can learn from!
(By the way, the iNat observation is here)
One bright mid-afternnon in April (2023), while birdwatching along a creek in a suburban park, I witnessed an aerial pursuit of a bat by a large grackle. I did manage to snap out of my startlement quick enough to grab a shot and a rather poor quality video which I added as an animated GIF in my observation.
I wonder how the antidepressant dosage would be adjusted for a cetacean…
Well, this isn’t my observation, but I just came across one that i guess we could call…
a hermit crab spider?
An ichneumonid wasp larva (Acrodactyla quadrisculpta) parisitising a spider (Tetragnatha sp). Apparently they hitch a ride with their mouthparts to feed on the spider’s juices and hang on until they are ready to pupate. The spider may or may not survive. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/109410454
This observation of an Uakari Poison-Dart Frog sitting on the snout of a Bushmaster. Between the frog’s poison and snake’s venom, this may have been the deadliest spot on the planet in this instant.
Not sure it is rare but I have been watching Canada Goose behaviour for thirty years and have seen many fights. All of them were loud with lots of chasing and noise. One fight I saw was the opposite. It was deadly quiet and fierce. They both seemed determined to kill the other. No noise or honking and very little splashing. Just silent aggression. I found a dead goose on the bank a few days later. Not sure it was one of them.
watched this mink take down a bullfrog that was almost as big as it
I once found a garter snake thrashing around, and was confused because it looked like there were two?..there were indeed, each was eating the same toad (they each had one hindlimb down their gullet and were meeting in the middle Lady and the Tramp style). It took my brain a long time to figure it out…need to find those pics and make an observation!
I used to work marine mammal strandings as a volunteer and responded to some pilot whales. Many strandings are a result of strong social structure in cetaceans. One or more individuals may be sick or become disoriented, distressed, or trapped, often vocalizing. Other members of the pod will stay in the area in response, and, when the tide drops out, there can be a mass stranding. There are certain areas where this is known to occur somewhat regularly, including shallow beaches or marshy areas where smaller cetaceans may come in to feed during high tide and become trapped at low. Response often involves assessing whether there are any individuals in bad shape and euthanizing them, then trying to refloat or transport survivors in good shape for release. If the compromised individuals are also released, they are likely to restrand and also cause the other, healthy individuals to restrand again as well.
Have posted this recently in best pics (Not for quality, but setting). But it is one I like because it shows something that I had never seen and really surprised me when I came across it. Though it is likely common behaviour, observing it seems to be another thing, for several likely reasons.
Can’t think of any recent ones but when I was a little kid ( around 8 or so) there was a big gang fight between some magpies and carrion crows which resulted in one of the younger magpies being severely injured after falling out of a lime tree. My family kept it in a cat carrier for a less than an hour but it succumbed to its wounds and passed. It got buried in my garden and it’s bones are probably still there to this day. Heard stories of magpies attacking people for years in similar situations after blaming the death of their kin on the human so maybe It could have been worse. Magpies are charming little guys with an attitude, saw a group harassing a cat on the prowl and once spotted an aggregation of about 40-50 of them on one rooftop ( probably discussing ways to commit birdseed tax evasion).
I’ve seen a stray cat and a magpie share a bowl of dry cat food that people left for the stray. I’m grateful the cat wasn’t a tuxedo, otherwise I’d still be cursing myself for not having my camera at the time.
Corvids are such amazing and charismatic animals.
I’m posting this here since I have no idea how rare that is, but I definitely found it interesting: Magpie picking hornets out of their nest. There were three or four each having a go one after the other.
Is that something they’re known for doing? There’s only a generic “Pica pica eats Hymenoptera” interaction on GloBI. I expect now’s the right time of the year for that, with lower temperatures and the nest decaying.
A green tree ant trying to steal a grasshopper many times its size out of a spider’s web. Probably not uncommon, but impressively ambitious. Genus Rectitropis from Tiwi Islands NT 0822, Australia on October 18, 2022 at 04:49 PM by simono. Observation is for the grasshopper. · iNaturalist
The thing about where I live is that really, sometimes I think the top of the ecosystem is the ants.
- I have seen them strip a tree overnight.
- I have seen a bat carcass taken to dry bone in a day.
- I have seen them take a wasp nest.
My mind knows ants can do incredible things, especially when they work together, but even so sometimes I still feel my jaw drop because I witness some new feat.
Just now I witnessed this:
The smaller ants are of a size I would not have spotted them at all had they not been conveying the partial body of that much larger ant up the wall, handily, just the two of them, followed by others, a little parade of victory.
(The other ant being just so much larger, I immediately thought of Gulliver’s Travels.)