Tag Archive | snakes

CFFC – Three’s A Crowd

Cee’s topic for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is 3 items or the number three.  I don’t see too many creatures hanging out in threes. I guess two’s company, three’s a crowd.  But here are a few that didn’t seem to mind sharing space.

Pictured above; snakes and elk in Elk Grove Village, African wild dogs at Brookfield Zoo, ducks at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, turtles in Hermann Park in Houston and pelicans on the river in Davenport, Iowa.

 

 

 

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!

Uncovered

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Hooray!   This is what it looks like at Spring Valley now that the snow has almost completely gone.  So much that lay hidden for so many weeks and months has been uncovered and life is getting back to normal.

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I feel like embracing the whole of the great outdoors on a day like today!  It feels so good to get out in the fresh air without being encumbered by heavy coats, scarves and gloves.  After the winter we have just experienced I can fully appreciate every little sign of life that I come across on my way around the nature center even if it’s only a bird’s feather or a patch of lichen on a fallen tree branch.

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Along the way I passed this bonfire, part of a controlled burn that is carried out intermittently at Spring Valley.  Someone was busy clearing fallen branches and twigs, making way for new growth among the trees.

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Now that the snow has melted it has left a lot of soggy areas but even these are a welcome sign that Spring may finally be here.

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Plenty of activity at the farm as workers prepare fields and enclosures, getting them ready to receive visitors for the first of many events held here during the coming months.

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Walking along the path leading away from Volkening Heritage Farm I heard a slithering among the fallen leaves and spotted this garter snake, just one of the many creatures beginning to stir now that the weather has taken a turn for the better.

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Of course, I might have known all this was too good to be true.  Although the temperatures climbed all the way to 68F today, they are due to plummet back down to the 40’s in a day or two. But I enjoyed this welcome respite from the cold and made the most of the opportunity.

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