We have just about seen the last of the snow, although there was still some lingering in patches at Spring Valley Nature Center when I made my first visit there this year, earlier this week.
The usual access to the nature center was closed as they are making some alterations and improvements to the Visitors Center area so I had to take an alternate route and with many of the paths that were in the shade still covered in ice, my walking was somewhat limited. Still, it was so nice to get out in the fresh air and see something other than our own garden. I was glad that I decided to wear my wellies, however.
There were a few people about but for the most part it was very quiet, which is why I probably came upon these two deer.
I almost didn’t need to use the zoom lens, they were so close and they didn’t seem at all bothered about my being there. They eventually ambled across the path and disappeared into the undergrowth. I stayed for a while, hoping that they’d come out again but no such luck, so I continued on my way.
I can’t wait to see see what the improvements look like at the Visitors Center. It’s supposed to be finished by late Spring which means I will probably have to use this alternate route for a couple more months at least.
This week, Cee has chosen Vanishing Point as the theme for her Black & White Photo Challenge. There are several sections of the walk around Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg that provide a ‘vanishing’ perspective. I always wonder what I’ll see when I get to the other end or around the next corner.
The images were captured last year. We are expecting a blizzard this evening and these paths will probably be under several inches of snow by tomorrow so it will be a while before I walk them again.
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.
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.
This week, Tina is celebrating Spring for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One of my favorite local places to visit is the Spring Valley Nature Center and Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg. Sadly it wasn’t open this Spring for obvious reasons and and will remain closed at least through August. That being the case, here is a nostalgic look back at Spring in Spring Valley.
This week, Tina is taking us down the Long and Winding Road for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. We’ve traveled down quite a few of those, over the years. The first shot was taken in Wyoming when we stopped at a rest area on our way to Utah.
Once we got to Utah, there were plenty of winding roads that were so dwarfed by the surrounding landscape that sometimes it wasn’t even possible to tell that it was a road until a tiny dot that may have been a truck or a car came into view.
Of course, distance is relative. After a day of walking around with the camera, looking for things to photograph, especially in hot weather, even a trail at the local nature center can seem like the long and winding road. Now I can’t get that song by the Beatles out of my head! Thanks, Tina!!
This week, Cee is looking for fences and gates for her Black & White Photo Challenge. I captured these images at the Volkening Heritage Farm, Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg last year. I haven’t had an opportunity to visit so far in 2020 and for now the facility is closed because of the virus. I will be sorry to miss seeing all the wonderful sights that nature has to offer there this spring but hope to return in the summer.
Another entry for Becky’s Square Light Photo Challenge. This time it’s featherlight. Images captured at River Trails Nature Center, The Morton Arboretum, Spring Valley Nature Center and The Chicago Botanic Garden.
This week, Tina has chosen Cold as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. There was a time, not so long ago, when I would have thought nothing of standing around in the cold capturing images at the nature center. These days it’s almost impossible to convince myself that it’s worth the effort to put on fifty layers of clothing and risk slipping on the ice just for a few pictures, which is why I had to go some way back in the photo files to find these, taken at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.
Last week I decided to take advantage of some slightly cooler weather to take a summer walk at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. Ever since they built the beautiful new children’s play area here the place is always busy and it’s good to see that parents are also walking further afield in order to introduce their families to the fascinating world of nature. And Spring Valley is just the place to do it.
As well as seeing all the flowers that are still blooming among the grasses on the prairie, I was interested to see this growth spiraling around the stems of some of the larger plants. I have no idea what it is even though I tried Googling it later with no success. If anyone has any suggestions I’d be glad to hear from you. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.
Meanwhile, over at the pond, waterlily pads cover the surface of the water and the frogs take advantage of these comfy seats while a family of ducks look on from a slightly less comfy place on the shore.
Also at the water’s edge are signs that a beaver has been at work, and when I say signs I mean literally as there is a notice nearby pointing out that beaver have been spotted at the lake.
I sit for a while along the woodland trail and watch chipmunks scurrying about finding food, and then, walking back down the path towards the parking lot, I see reminders that it won’t be too long before autumn is upon us once more.