April 22, 2021

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! A collection of nature and wildlife photography celebrating the biodiversity of God's creation. Photographed in 2020 by William Wise Photography. Most locations in Georgia, USA.

Posted on April 22, 2021 16:40 by williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 5 comments | Leave a comment

September 19, 2020

Foreign Joro Invasion

Although it didn’t cause national hysteria like the beetle invasion of 1964 (or was it Beatles in the British Invasion???), I did happen to hear about the Jorō Spider invasion of 2014. There were a few articles and blogs as this East Asian species was first found in Madison County, Georgia, not far from my home town of Athens.

Female Joro Spider in a web ventral view
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 59267584

A University of Georgia article wrote, "The Jorō spider, native Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, belongs to a group of large spiders known as golden orb-web weavers that make enormous, multi-layered webs of gold-colored silk. [Researchers] suspect the Jorō spider arrived accidentally as a hitchhiker either in shipping containers or among shipped packing materials such as pallets and crates or even on live plant material."

Large Female Joro Spider dorsal view in a web
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 59267584

Introduced and invasive species often impact the native species and can even upset the balance of an entire ecosystem, such as the pythons in the Everglades. While Jorō Spider pose no threat to humans, it is unknown if they will adversely affect the native Yellow Garden Spider by competing in the same niche.

Yellow Garden Spider spinning prey in a web
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observation: 59353542

In 2018 I began to see them pop up regularly in iNaturalist observations in Georgia. But it wasn’t until today that I found one in my own backyard. It was nearly impossible to miss. A strand of the thick web extended from the top of my backyard cypress, and about 15 to 20 feet at a downward angle and anchored to another lower bush. In the middle, suspended in a tangled web just above a Yucca, hung the ornately patterned female. A few days later I noticed a smaller spider “hanging out” with her. It was identified by other iNat users as the male of the species.

Large Female Joro Spider and small male in a web
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat Observaton: 59357361

There are now over 300 sightings of the Jorō Spider posted on iNaturalist in Georgia, and two in South Carolina. Who knows how far and wide this invasion will sweep, or if it will have as long lasting an impact as the British Invasion that forever changed the music landscape of the world! ​​

Posted on September 19, 2020 12:38 by williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 23, 2020

Six Foot Ratsnake

Eastern Ratsnake, Oglethorpe County, Georgia
Large six foot Eastern Black Rat Snake forked tongue, Georgia
© Photographer: William Wise | iNat observation: 53845509
A frantic friend called me with a “giant rattlesnake” in his yard. Knowing it probably wasn’t a rattlesnake, I kept making excuses to not drive out to his Oglethorpe County home. But he kept insisting, “it will be worth your while.”

On arrival it was, of course, gone from the spot where he first spotted it. After about 5 minutes of flipping logs, my friend saw it over in a nearby brush pile. I love the yells of excitement and fear heard on the video as I pulled this big Eastern Ratsnake out from the debris and onto the open ground!

I measured it right at six-feet; probably one of the biggest I’ve caught. It had a squirrel-sized lump in its belly. My friend counted all his chickens and none were missing.

Posted on July 23, 2020 13:17 by williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 2 comments | Leave a comment

June 28, 2020

Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Arizona

Saguaro Cactus desert mountains, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Arizona
© Photographer: William Wise | Agency: Dreamstime.com
At 11:00 AM, we arrived at Colossal Cave Mountain park about an hour-and-a-half ahead of the rest of our friends from church. So we took a short mountain desert hike up the Arizona Trail. It was such a stereotypical southwestern desert scene! A hot, bright high noon sun overhead; burning sand and rocks underneath our feet; parched lips and not a spot of shade to be found. The desert mountains stretched off into the distance and a Turkey Vulture soared overhead.
White Winged Dove, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Arizona
© Photographer: William Wise | Agency: Dreamstime.com
In this high heat, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse! We hiked about a mile and turned back to meet our group. In a dry creek bed near the trail-head, I spotted a Blue Grosbeak singing in the scrub. I was sort of taken aback, for it was odd to see a regular visitor in my green Georgia backyard out in this dry, brown desert.

Up at Colossal Cave entrance we met up with our friends. Our group being so large, my wife and I stayed back from touring the cave (which we had both been into before). More time for photography on the short nature trail!
Black Throated Sparrow bird, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Arizona
© Photographer: William Wise | Agency: Dreamstime.com
On all my last visits to the Tucson International Bible Conference over the last 25 years of my salvation, reptiles were the focus of my desert treks, if time allowed for any treks at all. But with birding being my “new thing”, the afternoon was filled with excitement. So many Life Birds! One special shot in particular was of a Zone-tailed Hawk soaring overhead. A zoomed in display on the Nikon view screen showed a small lizard in the grip of his talons.
Saguaro Cactus desert mountains, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Arizona
© Photographer: William Wise | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Posted on June 28, 2020 10:38 by williamwisephoto williamwisephoto | 0 comments | Leave a comment