Tag Archive | Travel Theme

Travel Theme – Eyes

It’s been a while since I participated in Ailsa’s Travel Theme photo challenge but this week’s subject really caught my eye.  For more on Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack go to https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/02/12/travel-theme-eyes/


I’ve got my eye on you; a frog sunning himself on a rock at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Iowa.


Soft kitty; our daughter’s cat Sugar with her odd-colored eyes is enjoying her new surroundings in Utah. She was always used to apartment living in Chicago and has now become accustomed to the joys of roaming about in the garden.


A bald eagle giving us the eye at Brookfield Zoo.


Just for fun; a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I gave him the eye!

Travel Theme: One Color

Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge this week is ‘One Color’ so once again I’ve dipped into the photo files to see if I could find something that would be appropriate.

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A lucky opportunity to photo the lions at Brookfield Zoo, Illinois

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A chilly September day, looking out from George K Pinney County Park Harbor of Refuge and Boat Launch at the steely blue waters of Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin.

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Lush green grass at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

For more on Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge on Where’s My Backpack? go to http://wheresmybackpack.com/2015/04/10/travel-theme-one-colour/

Travel Theme: Autumn

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One of my favorite places to visit in the autumn is the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, so for Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge, which this week is Autumn, I thought I’d post a few images that I’ve taken there over the years.  For more on Ailsa’s weekly challenge go to http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/10/31/travel-theme-autumn/

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Travel Theme: Birds


A mourning dove outside our kitchen window

First a quick note about the new format here on The Nature of Things.  In response to a couple of comments about the indistinct text on the previous format, I’ve changed to this new one which I hope is a little clearer.


A goldfinch at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge this week on Where’s My Backpack? at http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/12/27/travel-theme-birds/ is Birds.

Perching Bird

A lucky capture in Florida.

Despite suffering from ornithophobia almost my entire life, I have a considerable interest in birds and love to take pictures of them whenever I can. This usually involves using long lenses, very often behind the safety of a window, and sometimes, if I’m outside, having someone with me to frighten them off if they get too close.


In our garden

One year I planted a particular type of Brazilian Sage in our garden in order to attract hummingbirds and had so many of them arrive that summer that I was almost a prisoner in my own home because I was too afraid to have them buzzing around my head while I was outside.


A purple finch in our garden

The other day I went to the local hardware store to purchase bird seed for the feeders and couldn’t get anywhere near the bags because some sparrows had found their way into the shop and were all over it! How bad is that!


A cedar waxwing in Florida

I think it’s the fluttering that scares me.  I’m not so bad with larger birds such as swans or ducks or even crows which I find very interesting to watch, but smaller varieties in close proximity usually have me screaming and running for shelter.  One of the biggest drawbacks to going downtown, for me, is having to run the blockade of pigeons that habitually march up and down the sidewalks.  They have no fear and I’m not the only pedestrian to be seen ducking and dodging these feathered pests.


A heron in the pool at River Trails Nature Center

I’m quite proud of myself if I manage to take a reasonably clear picture of a bird outside in the open. It means that I’ve been able to hold the camera without shaking too much and have been able to stay close enough to the subject without shrieking and running away.


 A rooster sees me off the premises in Wisconsin

I tried to conquer this fear when I was growing up, braving the terrors of a holiday farm hen-house, only to have a chicken rise up squawking into my face as I reached for some brown, speckled eggs and setting my rehabilitation back to exactly where it was some 10 years previously. I doubt I will ever lose this fear now; it seems to get worse as I get older and is very inconvenient but so long as I have a camera with a long lens and a window to hide behind, I’ll keep taking pictures.


Travel Theme: Hidden

Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge this week on Where’s My Backpack at http://wheresmybackpack.com/2013/09/06/travel-theme-hidden/ is Hidden.


Whenever I go in search of wildlife at nature centers or forest preserves I find that most things usually manage to stay hidden. Many creatures in nature are masters of disguise, it’s a necessity if they want to stay alive, and it sometimes takes a keen eye and a considerable amount of patience to spot them in their native habitat.


It was quite a while before I found this toad sitting on the dry bed of the Wabash River in Lafayette Indiana, last summer. We had been told there were hundreds of them, by a family returning from a walk along by the river, but this was the only one that I managed to discover hiding in plain sight.

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These garter snakes were well hidden among the autumn leaves at Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington, Illinois, until I almost stepped on them and they naturally became somewhat agitated.


The praying mantis always presents a challenge when I’m looking for him in the garden. He blends in so well with the surrounding foliage. This is what makes him such a formidable predator and butterflies or, in this case, bees had better beware.

Mantis egg case

Their egg cases are equally well-camouflaged as they wait through the autumn and winter months to release their precious contents in the spring.


Frogs usually keep fairly well hidden as I approach the water’s edge at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg and it’s not until I hear a startled “peep” or the more full-throated “burp” of a bullfrog as they leap back into the pond, that I realize they’re there.

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This elk seems to blend in well with it’s woody background. Here in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, the elk prefer to remain hidden among the trees during the hot summer weather. I can’t say I blame them.

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Another place that can get extremely hot during the summer months is The Badlands in South Dakota, where thousands of these prairie dogs scurry about, doing whatever prairie dogs do, until a warning call sends them running for the nearest burrow where they stay hidden until it’s safe to return to the surface.

Woodchuck 3b

The art of staying hidden is an essential part of life for most creatures in the wild but every once in a while we are lucky enough to discover their hiding places, however, we should always respect their privacy and hopefully leave them as we found them.