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Rich Leighton
13,189 followers -
photographer. writer. master naturalist. husband. dad. traveller. peripheral visionary.
photographer. writer. master naturalist. husband. dad. traveller. peripheral visionary.

13,189 followers
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It was an absolutely perfect day kayaking out on Lake Washington today! At one point I was just drifting along, fishing pole in hand, and realized my eyes were closed. Those gentle swells were lulling me to sleep :-) #lakewashington #Seattle #kayaking #summertime #lifeisgood #paddling 
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The candystick is a truly bizarre-looking plant that grows and feeds upon the roots of coniferous trees. It gets its name from the red and white stripes, making it look somewhat like a candycane. http://ow.ly/N0XJ30cDG03

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The brown anole is a member of the spiny lizard family and native to Cuba and the Bahamas. Common, and invasive to the United States, it is spreading north from the Florida Keys, and in a little more more than a century it has established itself as far north as Georgia and as far west as Texas in recent years. The problem with this particular species is that it is outcompeting with the native and less aggressive green anole, with the additional pressure of adult male brown anoles having been known to prey on young green anoles. This particular individual resting on a banana tree in Fort Myers, Florida is a female. Males tend to be larger and more boldly patterned. http://ow.ly/C5LP30cDG0o

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One of the more common lizards of the West Coast of North America, this one was found in its northernmost part of its range in Central Washington, by the bank of the Tieton River on a chilly late spring morning. http://ow.ly/bQQu30cDG0g

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One of the most striking lizards of my youth, the southeastern five-lined skink is also one of the fastest. This large adult female - chased down and photographed in Thomasville, Georgia - shows the beautiful stripes common to this species, as well as the brilliant blue tail. This skink looks like it had lost and regrown its tail at some point. Sometimes they will have a bright red nose, and males when in breeding season will lose the blue coloration and much of the stripes, while turning a more brownish color with a broad bright red head! http://ow.ly/vW4U30cDG0e

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The cane cholla is a very common native cactus species found across much of Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. It prefers sandy to loamy soils at lower elevations, and has a lot of variety when it comes to flower color, and they are almost always very bright in color: yellow, pink, red, orange, etc. These were found just north of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Ajo, Arizona growing naturally in the Sonoran Desert on a bright, sunny spring morning near the Mexican border. http://ow.ly/pFO330cDG0x

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Native to South America, the windowbox sorrel was brought to North America as an attractive garden ornamental, and has since escaped and spread across most of the Southeast and has recently been showing up in California. These were photographed in South Carolina near the Saluda River. http://ow.ly/85st30cDG0i

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Slightly smaller than other raven species found around the world and about the size of the American crow, this Mexican raven may look like any other raven, but the differences stop there. Most notably, the under-feathers on its neck are pure white. In the dry grasslands of the American Southwest it replaces the common raven (Corvus corax) of the north and breeds in the Southwestern United States, but it is far more common to the south in Mexico where it is found year-round. At northern end of range (eastern Colorado, western Kansas), the Chihuahuan raven is far less common today than in 1800s. I saw this one quite by accident as I was setting up my tent and cooking some dinner on my travels on a small ground fire on top of a hill overlooking Sonoyta, Mexico in Southern Arizona on the US-Mexico border. It got my attention by crowing on top of an almost-flowering saguaro cactus while I was waiting for the water to boil on my camp stove. http://ow.ly/QyIG30cDG0s

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Sometimes the King of the Everglades is on the menu. This black vulture in Florida's Fakahatchee Strand perches on the floating corpse of an alligator that has been dead for several days. http://ow.ly/l2Ln30cDG0A

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Also known as the edible thistle, his Pacific Northwest member of the aster family is found in alpine and subalpine forested mountains. The peeled stems can be eaten, and the flowers and seeds are a common food source for butterflies, bees, and birds. This one was found just below the top of Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains of Washington. http://ow.ly/djC430cDG0B
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