This week, Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge is strictly for the Birds in the nicest possible sense.
This week, Cee is looking for Circles and Curves for her Black/White Photo Challenge and nature provides plenty of both.
This week, Amy is taking a view of Now and Then for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. These pictures are not that great but they help to illustrate my take on the theme. I have to confess, I was feeling rather blue yesterday at the thought of spending Thanksgiving Day on our own. Despite a Zoom meeting with the family in the morning, which just isn’t the same as actually being with them all, I was positively down in the dumps and, just about when we would normally be sitting down to dinner, I had a bit of a cry.
Then I looked out of the window. There, in the garden, were no less than fourteen mourning doves, all sitting comfortably outside the kitchen, waiting to be fed. It was just the number that would have been gathered around our table. What are the odds!! I’ve never seen that many doves at one time before and it lifted my spirits more than I can say.
This week, Cee is looking for White or Cream for her Fun Foto Challenge.
This week, Cee is looking for Anything that Flies for her Black & White Photo Challenge. Charlie and Zeus are two American Bald Eagles that were discovered injured in the wild and brought to Brookfield Zoo in 2010 and 2011 respectively. They can fly but only just, which is why they are being cared for at the zoo.
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.
We have seen quite a flurry of activity in our garden recently; birds flying south, and who can blame them, while critters get ready to hunker down for the winter along with the rest of us. Robins have flocked here by the dozens, attracted by the red berries in the shrubbery, that also appealed to some passing starlings.
My arch-nemesis, the rabbit, and his pals have been frequent visitors, as have the squirrels. The rabbits just get on with the job of eating whatever’s there, while the squirrels rush about like mad things, nibbling at tasty morsels and burying the rest, then looking around in puzzlement, scratching their heads and wondering where they left it. No wonder random plants keep popping up all over the garden! Squirrels are the first ones up to the buffet in the morning and the last to leave at night. They believe in getting their money’s worth.
Although I’ve often heard and glimpsed the flicker flying around the neighborhood, going from tree to tree, I’ve rarely seen it on the ground so I was quite happy to get this shot, even though he stubbornly refused to turn around so I could capture the black medallion on his chest.
Another fairly rare sighting in the garden was this woodpecker. We usually see the smaller downy woodpecker that shows up when I hang the suet basket out.
The blue jay caused a flurry as it usually does, squawking and making a fuss, so unlike the placid mourning doves that go about their business with just the occasional mild “Coo.”
Mr. & Mrs. cardinal arrived one afternoon, watched closely by a line of sparrows. Later, what appeared to be a dialog between the male cardinal and a male sparrow ensued. Perhaps they were sharing a joke.
Sparrow-: “Have you heard the one about the bishop and the actress?” Cardinal-: “Haha! Nice one!”
Sparrow-: “I figured being a cardinal, you’d appreciate that one. Know what I mean? Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.”
The juncos, goldfinches and purple finches snuck in when the sparrows were not hogging all the food. I think I identified them correctly but welcome any input if I didn’t.
Normally, at this time of year, if I saw these swallowtail caterpillars, I would bring them inside to await the emergence of some beautiful butterflies in the spring, but since the last batch produced almost nothing but parasitic wasps I decided to let this lot fend for themselves. Sorry!
Just prior to us cutting down the last of the sunflowers in the garden, the goldfinches went on a feeding frenzy. It was as if they knew that they’d better make the most of what was left. (Just as an aside, I dislike this new block editing thing intensely, but, like everything else, I expect I’ll get used to it.)
This week, Tina has chosen Inspiration as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. With so many places closed down, travel restrictions in place and family gatherings limited because of Covid, and trips to the city put on indefinite hold because of increasing violence, I’ve been finding it hard lately to get motivated enough to get out and take pictures. I decided to look to the younger generation for some inspiration. Youngest granddaughter loves going to the zoo and great-grandson adores dinosaurs so yesterday I took my cue from them and headed over to Brookfield Zoo where by happy coincidence they are featuring a dinosaur exhibit. I think the kids would have approved.
Although the place was quite busy, most people wore masks and practiced social distancing and it was good to see families out there enjoying themselves, taking a break from all the turmoil that health, politics, social injustice and natural disasters has thrown at us this year.
Although the zoo itself is open, not surprisingly, all the indoor exhibits are closed which meant no pictures of gorillas in Tropic World and only a limited view of the bears. Add to this the fact that most of the animals were sleeping (when aren’t they?) and with the usual challenge of trying to get a decent shot through the intervening fences and wires, it proved to be an interesting exercise in zoo photography.
Despite so many of the attractions and services being unavailable, the zoo more than made up for it with the addition of the Dinosaur Exhibition. These prehistoric giants looked quite at home in their various settings and the animatronics and sound effects had all the kids (and some of the adults) squealing with excitement.
This week, Amy is asking us to share some moments Under The Sun for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. If you do any kind of gardening, you know that there are no such things as lazy days. I have an old tee-shirt that I use for working in that says, “I garden, therefore I weed.” Isn’t that the truth! It’s never ending and, at this time of year, done mostly under the sun! But fortunately, with all the spring rain that we had, the plants have grown sufficiently to cover the weeds until I can get to them. And I will…. eventually. Along with the weeds, perennials continue to flourish beside annuals and biennials that reseed and pop up randomly around the garden. Cultivating, deadheading, trimming and re-planting are just a few of the jobs that keep me busy out in the garden.
And I am not the only one who has been active out there in the garden in the summer sunshine. The rabbit explosion has produced several litters of plant-munching bunnies. Luckily there has been enough foliage to go around so I don’t feel too bad when I see them eyeing the flower beds. The coneflowers have been attracting both bees and butterflies and recently there have been hundreds of little skippers too. The sunflowers have had their fair share of interest and it’s amusing to watch the squirrels trying to get at the seeds. They are very resourceful and use the garden furniture to their best advantage.
Just as the sun is starting to go down, I catch a glimpse of a mouse peeping out from under the leaves, and a wren making short work of some hapless insect that is almost as large as the little bird itself.
And when the sun has disappeared below the horizon, there is still plenty of activity in the garden. There’s often a distinct whiff of fox outside, first thing in the morning, and a neighbor has reported seeing a coyote surveying the property with an eye to finding a late night snack. Skunks and possums are also frequent visitors and can be heard scratching about on the stones beneath our bedroom windows at night.
There’s never a dull moment and whether I’m running about wielding a trowel or a camera, there’s little time to sit back and enjoy those lazy days of summer under the sun.