Tag Archive | animals

The Ecstasy and the Agony

It’s all been happening out in the garden this summer, with or without my help.  The good thing about having mostly perennials and flowers that self-seed is that they more or less take care of themselves.  They don’t need a lot of watering, although goodness knows we’ve had plenty of rain to keep them happy, and, if carefully chosen, don’t require much in the way of fertilizer. It’s sheer ecstasy to walk out in the garden first thing in the morning and see all those beautiful flowers.

The sunflowers, cosmos and cleome came up in such profusion in the back garden this year that I was in danger of losing our smallest grandchildren out there when they came to visit. And not to worry if I didn’t have time to plant a fresh batch of snapdragons.  They came up all on their own.

Even the wildlife is plentiful this summer.  I spotted a possum creeping about among the bushes and the rabbit population is growing in leaps and bounds (not sure if I’m too happy about that.)

Just outside my window, as I’ve been sitting working on the computer, the birds have been showing off and all I have to do is whip the camera out and capture a few shots of the humming bird hovering in the breeze and a goldfinch getting to the bottom of things.

Unfortunately, all this ecstasy doesn’t come without a little bit of agony.  A few weeks ago I was outside working on a project when I was chased around the garden by an angry hornet and stung, quite painfully on the top of my head.  At first I thought it was just a lone troublemaker but last week I discovered a nest in one of the shrubs right down by the sidewalk.  It won’t be long before the neighborhood kids are walking past on their way to school and I certainly wasn’t about to anger the hornets any further by working in the adjacent flower beds so I had no option but to call in the experts.

Enter Mike from ABC Wildlife Control who assured me that he would take care of the situation.  I asked him what the procedure was and he said, “I spray the nest and then run.”  Apparently they had determined that these particular hornets were the extremely aggressive variety, so I could sympathize with him.  “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din,” was my view. I stood at a safe distance and watched as he did his stuff.  Afterwards, he warned us to stay out of the garden for the rest of the day as the hornets were likely to be really !*!*!* off.  He didn’t have to tell me twice! I was lucky that I’d only been stung once.  That was agony enough!  I wasn’t about to risk any more.

Things seem to have calmed down out there now, so hopefully I can get back to work, pulling weeds and dead-heading the flowers without fear of hornet reprisals.  Good work, ABC Wildlife!

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Tongues

When I posted a few giraffe pictures recently for Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge, fellow blogger, Scillagrace, pointed out that I had omitted to include any which show the giraffe’s prodigious tongue.  Going back to the photo files I managed to find a few that give only an idea of just how long it really is.  A giraffe’s prehensile tongue can measure anything up to 18 to 20 inches in length. Very useful for reaching those tasty leaves on the topmost branches of a tree in the wild but at the zoo the food is put within easy reach so there’s not much call for any kind of strenuous tongue activity.

 

 

OWPC – Giraffe

The One Word Photo Challenge from Jennifer Nichole Wells this week is Giraffe.  These are such graceful creatures and Brookfield Zoo offers an excellent opportunity for capturing some nice shots.

Measuring up.

I love you, Mommy!

 

Tree smooching.

For more on Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge go to This Week’s Challenges: June 11 – 17 (OWPC & WW)

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters K or L

Back to the alphabet for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge which this week features the letters K and L.  Many of the images that I’ve used for this challenge were taken some years ago and it’s been interesting for me to wander through the old photo files to see just what kind of things caught my eye back in the day.

A Komodo Dragon named Faust, on display at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago in 2006.

This picture of a kangaroo was taken so long ago I can’t remember where I saw it.  Possibly Brookfield Zoo.

A more recent picture, of a koi fish, was taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.

The king of the jungle, a lion at Brookfield Zoo gazes out at an admiring crowd, sizing us up perhaps as a possible source of lunch.  He looks very lazy but I’m sure he was ready to leap into action if the need arose.

A lamb at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

A rather alarming llama appearing to get somewhat confrontational at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/04/06/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-k-or-l/

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters I or J

I really had to go out on a limb for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week.  Keeping to my chosen theme, animals, bugs and birds, I struggled to find anything in the photo files that started with the letters I or J especially the letter I, so I hope you will pardon me if I have jumped to any conclusions in identifying the following. Hopefully, anyone more knowledgeable about bird and animal species can correct me.

Could this be a glossy ibis?  I captured the image many years ago in an avian sanctuary at Cypress Gardens in Florida.  Unfortunately the b/w treatment has taken away all distinguishing colors but the original picture shows that the bird was grey with an iridescent sheen to the feathers.  There was also a red strip on the upper part of the bill.   If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you will be wondering why I was in a cage full of birds.  Despite my life-long fear of our feathered friends, the opportunity to get some close-up shots of so many beautiful creatures prompted me, in a moment of insanity, to plunge in, so to speak.  My husband accompanied me (someone had to be there to carry me out if I fainted!) and we crept around trying not to disturb the inhabitants.  I was terrified!!!  I only managed to take a few shots before my courage completely deserted me and had to be led out with my eyes shut.

The animals pictured above are, I’m fairly sure, Siberian ibex.  This was a shot that I took on slide film many, many years ago at Brookfield Zoo when they had a high, rocky enclosure know as Ibex Island. It was demolished in 2008 to make room for the new bear exhibit. I don’t know what happened to the ibex.

Jellyfish, pictured at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

junco and blue jay in our garden. These shots were taken with a long lens from the safety of our living-room window.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/30/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-i-or-j/

 

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letters C or D

Continuing the alphabet theme for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, this week’s letters, C & D provided several images from the nature photo files.

The king of the cats; a lion catching a few rays at Brookfield Zoo.

cautious chipmunk, ready to run at the first sign of danger.

We always stop off to visit the contented cows in Volkening Heritage Farm when we go walking at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.

A darting dragonfly taking a break at Springbrook Nature Center in Itasca.

A rescue dog visiting the old Randhurst Shopping Mall in Mount Prospect; part of a winter festival that also featured snow sculptures.

A daring duck paddling in the fast-flowing waters of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/09/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letters-c-or-d/

 

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Letter A or B

The subject for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge gives us plenty of scope this week, so for this one I thought I’d try to find my A’s & B’s in nature and more specifically among animals, bugs and birds.

cbwpc-a-b-1

I believe this animal, found at Brookfield Zoo, is what’s known as an Addax.

cbwpc-a-b-4

 

I’m not a huge fan of spiders but this one, found at Crabtree Nature Center, was a beauty; Argiope Aurantia.

cbwpc-a-b-2

Bears (the football variety)are commonly associated with Chicago but I found this one hanging out at Brookfield Zoo, as was this Bison.

cbwpc-a-b-3

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to https://ceenphotography.com/2017/03/02/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-letter-a-or-b/