This morning I was coming in my front door and happened to notice some movement to the left out of the corner of my eye. It was a 2-foot-long black snake! Rather than scurry away, this particular snake took up residence behind one of my planter boxes very close to the door. He or she and I proceeded to have a stare down. The snake didn’t seem to want to move so I eventually gave in and walked around to the back door. Human zero, snake one.

But this incident got me to thinking about how many creatures I come across in my own yard. I live in Orange County, in a wooded neighborhood surrounded by large farms. So, I have dedicated this blog post to the creatures I have seen in the past year or so in my yard. And, I am offering a challenge!

I challenge you, dear reader, to be able to name each creature correctly. I will choose a winner among those contestants with the correct answers. The winner will get one hour of photography in my studio. I don’t care if I photograph your children, a professional headshot or your favorite creature. You just never know what I will find when I look out the window!

Try your luck by sending your guesses to me at Please list them in order from one to ten. Enjoy!

PHOTO GEEK FOOTNOTE: When photographing wildlife, it is always best to use a long lens, a tripod and a fast exposure combined with a large aperture for shallow depth of field. My favorite nature photography lens, which was used in most of the shots below, is a 200mm/ F2.8.