Tag Archive | nature

Flurries

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!

Autumn At The Garden

Another opportunity to hideaway behind the camera presented itself recently on a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden. This is my favorite time of year at the Garden, the colors are so spectacular.

Speaking of hiding away, I wonder if you can spot the chipmunk in this picture, helping himself to a tasty snack. I had a hard time pinning him down, he moved around so quickly, but he stopped just long enough for me to snap this one.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Hideaway

This week, Ann-Christine has chosen Hideaway as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. My hideaway may seem strange to many but this is my take on it. Being rather an introvert by nature, I feel more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it and photography seemed like an ideal hobby for me to pursue. I like the feeling of invisibility that it gives me while looking through the viewfinder, as though I’m the only person in the place. So that’s my hideaway, wherever I happen to be, behind the camera, which in this instance was Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Photo Walk

My walking activities have been somewhat limited over the past couple of weeks owing to recurring foot pain and I’ve been trying to rest it as much as possible, but when I saw that Amy had chosen A Photo Walk as the topic for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, I decided to put my tortured tootsie to the test with a walk around Spring Valley Nature Center. It may have been a mistake to undertake this walk without the benefit of pain-killers but then it wouldn’t have been much of a test, and apart from one or two brief moments when I felt like curling up on the path and crying, things didn’t go too badly.

This was my first visit to the Valley since August of last year – it has been closed for much of this year – so I was curious to see if there had been any changes made to the landscape. The Bison Bluff play area was open for business but not too many takers.

The rest of the nature center was busy, however, with couples and families strolling about, making the most of the lovely autumn weather. Many were wearing masks but many weren’t, (tsk, tsk.) I’ve become so used to wearing mine that it doesn’t seem to bother me now.

The water in the pond was quite low as we haven’t had too much rain lately, but there were plenty of frogs even if they were cunningly camouflaged by the mud. I also saw a couple of turtles doing leg-stretching exercises and some scruffy-looking mallards up-ending in the deeper waters.

It seemed strange to see the farm buildings so deserted. Because the fallout from Covid meant cancelling all the programs at the Center, all the livestock has been shipped off to outside farms until next year. But at least I didn’t have to worry about being scared to death by the chickens that usually run around the farmyard.

As I started back on the path to the car park, I noticed several grasshoppers at my feet, while overhead a noisier winged item went flying by. Thanks for the encouragement to get out and walk, Amy. I may give this another go next week if the weather is favorable.

Sunflower Memories

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.)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Negative Space

This week, Amy has chosen Negative Space as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. At first I thought this might be a bit tricky. As some of you have already pointed out, when we take pictures, we are usually focusing on the subject rather than the surrounding space, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized that many of the images in the photo files might fit the bill and in the end I had to stop myself from adding to the list.

 

A Final Bough

I’d never actually taken a picture of it, although it appeared briefly in some of my images, and I may have complained about it’s late-falling leaves that cluttered up the garden long after our village leaf collection was done for the year, but I do miss the tree that was on the parkway across the street. Things seem very bare without it. Unfortunately it sustained considerable damage during one of our storms a few months ago and they decided that it probably ought to go, so I went outside to capture its last moments as the tree removal company did a very safe, swift and efficient job of cutting it down.

While I was standing there, something on the ground caught my eye; a faded and tattered swallowtail butterfly that could no longer fly had sought refuge among the plants.  Two of nature’s beauties taking a final bow.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick A Word

This week, Ann-Christine has given us a list of words from which to pick a subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Among them, Growing, Tangled and Exuberant seemed to describe the Chicago Botanic Garden very nicely. This was how it looked on my visit there yesterday.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Creativity in the Time of Covid

This week, Tina is looking at Creativity in the Time of Covid as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. An amazing piece of timing from my perspective as you will see.

While capturing images in the garden, I’ve very often focused my attention on bees, partly because they make interesting if not always cooperative subjects to photograph, but also because my grandson broadcasts a regular podcast called The God Of Honeybees. Yesterday he became a published author for the first time with a book of the same title. I am so proud of him and his achievements as you will have no doubt already surmised if you have read any of my posts in which he has featured including Happy 21st Birthday Grandson and  Collage – A Celebration.

Note; The cover image is by David Provolo and the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I don’t know if I will ever be able to match Justin’s creative writing abilities although I hope eventually to get my stories published (something else I can work on while I’m stuck at home thanks to COVID.) Meanwhile I will continue to look for bees in the garden.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Winter

This week, Ann-Christine invites us to share some Winter images for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have to admit that I am a creature of comfort and rarely stray too far from home during the winter months. The older I get, the less appealing the idea of getting togged up in boots, scarf, mittens and heavy winter coat becomes.  These shots, three at the Chicago Botanic Garden and one at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg are a few in my very sparse collection of typical winter photos.