Tag Archive | Autumn

There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills!

Autumn gold, that is. And the hills are in Moraine Hills State Park, Illinois. Despite only living about an hour’s drive from here, this was our first trip to the park. As with many of these places, I feel that Autumn is the best time to visit. No aggresive springtime nesting redwings. or pesky summer mosquitoes.

There were plenty of easy walking trails and some beautiful scenery but the best part, for me, was when a flock of cedar waxwings stopped at some nearby trees to snack on the berries.

Around the Scarecrow Trail

Every year at the Morton Arboretum, during the Autumn season, they have a Scarecrow Trail that winds around Meadow Lake. These scarecrows are put together by local scout troops and you have to admire the kids’ creativity. Here are just a few that we saw on a recent visit, along with some views of Meadow Lake.

A Walk In Crabtree Nature Center

I thought this might make a good entry for Jo’s Monday Walk even though it was on Sunday. It’s just as well we went when we did as there was a light flurry of snow this morning. Thankfully it didn’t stick and the weather is supposed to warm up a bit, later on this week.

I haven’t been to Crabtree since last year and it’s surprising how quickly the landscape has changed, with many of the trees and shrubs gone, whether by the hand of man or nature I’m not sure, while things like grasses and other plants are growing like crazy.

Fortunately they do a very good job of keeping the paths clear and there’s plenty of room to walk. We passed several couples on our way around and a few more overtook us as I stopped to take pictures.

Autumn In The Garden

We’ve had some unseasonably warm, dry weather for the past few days so I thought I’d make the most of it and visit the Chicago Botanic Garden.

I’d like to give a nod here to all the people who keep the Garden looking a picture-perfect place all year round. I don’t think I’ve ever been here when it hasn’t looked in tip-top shape.

Autumn In The Valley

It seems like autumn has only just begun but, the way time seems to fly by, I thought I’d better pay a visit to Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg before fall turned to winter.

Water levels were rather low on the pond. Up until this week we hadn’t had much in the way of rain and all the water lilies had died off but there were still lots of frogs to be seen.

I’d noticed a heron standing on the shoreline some distance away and was trying to get him in focus when a disturbance broke out a little nearer to me. A beaver had been swimming between the water’s edge and the lodge in the middle of the pond when all of a sudden a hawk swooped down and attacked it. The resulting pictures are not that clear but I thought I’d include some of them anyway. The hawk made several attempts to get at its prey, returning to nearby branches to regroup and try again, but eventually it gave up and flew off.

I took my cue from the hawk and walked to the other end of the pond where I watched two very small turtles trying to climb up on to a log and then not quite knowing what to do once they got there. They were being watched by a much bigger turtle who sat looking on with a rather superior air.

From there I went on to the farm where all was quiet except for the sound of two cows munching at the grass.

It seemed to me, upon reflection, that most of the action that day was taking place on the pond and, afraid that I might miss something, I headed back there, and had I not been so preoccupied, faffing about taking umpteen pictures of frogs, I might have captured something more than a shot of the beaver’s backside as it swam away from a spot where I usually sit by the water’s edge.

Oh well! You can’t win ’em all, and if I’ve learned anything about wildlife photography it’s that you have to be in the right place at the right time. The church bell was chiming the hour. Time for tea, so like the catterpilar, I hurried home.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

This week, guest host Ana from Anvica’s Gallery, recalls the song ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow‘ as the theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.

Last week we were blessed with some exceptionally fine weather for November and everyone seemed to be enjoying the warmer temperatures. There also appeared to be some leg and wing stretching exercises in progress in preparation for those long winter days ahead. The first two images were captured at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg where there were a few mallard ducks, a couple of frogs that refused to be photographed and a lone turtle doing some calisthenics.

The creatures at Brookfield Zoo were certainly making the most of this late autumn reprieve and were soaking up the rays with evident pleasure.

Meanwhile, at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a tardy heron, who should probably have already been on his way south, stopped for a wash and brush up and gave his wings a bit of a stretch while an armada of geese sailed calmly by.

The sun may come out tomorrow but it probably won’t get much warmer and will definitely get a lot colder than this in the months to come.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Autumn

This week, Patti is looking forward to Autumn for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. For so many reasons, autumn is probably my most favorite time of year. Primarily, I love the colors, and then there’s the cooler weather, not to mention less biting bugs and irate red-wing blackbirds. Of course, any time of year is great at the Chicago Botanic Garden but autumn is a very special season full of bright flowers and glowing foliage.

Autumn is one of the few times in the year that most of our family is able to get together and there is nothing more fun than our Family Fall Festival which is usually held at our daughter’s house in Indiana. She really puts on a terrific show with festive decorations that include Halloween characters, many of which are animated. The kids love it!

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle is the ideal place to visit in autumn when the trees are at their most colorful. A membership to the Chicago Botanic Garden gets you into the Arboretum for free and you can spend the day taking in the sights.

And what would autumn be without a trip to the pumpkin farm. This one is in South Barrington, Illinois, but we also visit a couple in Indiana and Wisconsin. They are a little more low-key but usually just as enjoyable.

And finally, one of my all-time favorite Halloween shots. “Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog,” and a Big Mac to go, please.

Autumn Curtailed

Owing to a painful case of shin splints (or possible stress fracture) which has seriously curtailed my walking activities for the past few weeks, I have not been able to get out and about to enjoy the Autumn season as much as I would have liked. However, the weather in October was really not that great and looking back at the last trip I made to the Chicago Botanic Garden, it was probably one of the few really nice days that we have had recently so I’m glad I was able to at least capture some of the Fall colors before I was reduced to hobbling around on crutches.

I was able to get a good view of what looked like a young heron (his feathers still seem rather downy) from the bridge. I hope he hasn’t left it too late to start heading south for the winter.

This was the scene outside our back door recently so I think we’ve seen the last of the warm, sunny days of autumn in the garden.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Layered

This week, Amy has chosen Layered as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden yesterday where they were preparing for Night of 1,000 Jack-O’-Lanterns.  Peel away the layers of a pumpkin and what do you get? Scroll down to see the result.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Love In A Pumpkin Patch

Once again, an amazingly opportune choice of subject from Ann-Christine for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which this week is Candid. On Saturday we held our 3rd annual Family Fall Festival which always gives me a great chance to take some candid shots but for this challenge I’m focusing on one particular aspect of a wonderful family reunion.  Our grandson got engaged in the pumpkin patch!  I was asked to take pictures but we were instructed not to give the game away too soon, so all 25 of us were ambling around the pumpkin patch trying to appear very nonchalant without missing the big moment. It wasn’t easy!