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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Delicious!

This week, Patti has chosen Delicious as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and the same could probably be said of animals and birds too. Some creatures are quite content to nibble on a blade or two of grass…..

while others might prefer to slurp on the sap from a tree (at least I think that was what this giraffe was enjoying.)

It isn’t only the birds that benefit from the seeds that we put out in the garden. The chipmunks will also help themselves especially if there are peanuts in the mix.

The rabbit’s not proud. He’ll eat anything including the bird’s bread or my carefully tended lilies and other prized plants.

One time, when I looked out of our back door, I was surprised to see two young raccoons sitting on the door step.  I was so excited, I totally lost my head and grabbed the first things that came to hand to entice them to stay long enough for me to take pictures, which included a loaf of bread and an opened tin of peaches. I rushed out of the front door, first picking up the camera, and ran round to the back garden.  They turned up their noses at the bread but evidently thought the peaches were delicious.

The squirrels always enjoy the Halloween leftovers. It’s very entertaining to watch them diving into the pumpkins to retrieve the seeds.

Apart from filling the birdfeeders, I usually grow a few sunflowers and love to watch the goldfinches doing all kinds of contortions to reach the choicest morsels.

And while some birds are tucking into these provisions, others are making a meal out of other birds.  Mmmm! Delicious!  Well, to each his own.

 

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Something Somber

I guess by now it has become pretty evident that I like to try and keep upbeat with the pictures that I post; sunshine and flowers and all that kind of thing. But today while I was walking along the path at Spring Valley I heard the church bell, not chiming the hour as I first thought, but keeping up a somber toll as if for a death and that gave me the idea for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge. Thanks to Tina at ‘Travels and Trifles’ I’m looking for Something Different  A somber view of nature (with the help of a little photo manipulation.)

A view of our local park after a heavy rainfall taken with my phone camera. The day was sunny but with a little assistance from Snapseed the results looked quite different from the original.

The remains of an old tree at Spring Valley looked quite cheerful in the original picture but after I superimposed a shot of the smoke and flames taken at last week’s burn, it took on a whole different look.

From fire to ice.  With a bit more photo manipulation, a koi fish trapped in a frozen pond.

And autumn leaves on a rotting log seem a little more forbidding with the color drained from them with a bit of photo processsing.

The frog is, as it was…..dead.  Just below the surface of a watery grave. Perhaps the victim of a cruel winter, pollution or maybe just old age.  The more somber side of nature and just a little different from the images I usually like to capture.

 

 

Goodbye March – Hello April

One of the last things I did in March was to visit Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.  I stopped on the way to visit the elk in Elk Grove Village and while I was there, almost stumbled over a nest of garter snakes.

When I arrived at Spring Valley the sun was shining although it was rather chilly, and one of the first things I noticed was that it looked as though they had been burning off some of the old growth in the field.

The smell of burning was quite strong so I figured it must have happened recently and I wondered what the chances of spotting any wildlife in the area would be.  No worries! I got a nice close-up view of a water rat over by the pond.

And a little bit further along the bank I spotted this creature (not sure exactly what it was, and would welcome any suggestions.) It was very skittish and didn’t keep still for long so I was only able to get a quick shot.

Meanwhile, over at the farm, the horses and cows were enjoying the sunshine.

I was right about the controlled burning. As I was returning to the parking lot I spotted smoke rising from the far side of the trail and, hurrying in that direction, I managed to capture the last of the day’s work.

It’s rather scary to see how rapidly the fire spreads but with the experts on hand to keep things under control I felt quite safe and the fire quickly went from a raging inferno to a few wisps of smoke and some dying flames.

So with that, I said goodbye to March and today it’s Hello April. With not much sun and chilly temperatures in the forecast for the coming week I don’t anticipate doing much in the way of photography for the next few days.  But there are signs of hope in the garden.  Just a few colorful crocus shivering in a cold wind.  Come on April! Let’s see what you can do!

Thanks for choosing this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy!

Spiky Squares – At Spring Valley

This will probably be my last hurrah for the Spiky Squares Photo Challenge unless something unexpected presents itself before the end of the month. This has been a fun challenge and has certainly prompted me to look at things from a whole different perspective.  Thanks Becky!

Some spikey squares from Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of the outdoors in the weeks to come, now that Spring is finally here.