Tag Archive | weather

Hard To Believe

In view of all the dreary, grey days that we’ve experienced recently, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the sun has actually put in an appearance from time to time.  One such occurrence presented itself last week and I took advantage of the opportunity to go for a walk around Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.

The one slippery spot that I came across during this trek was the observation deck that overlooks the pond, but luckily I had hold of the railings otherwise I might have had difficulty obeying the sign.

The Volkening Heritage Farm area is closed until March1st (unless you call ahead to gain admittance) but, leaning over the gate that blocks off the path, I got a good view of the horses enjoying some welcome sunshine outside the barn.


There were quite a few people at the Center, parents with their children, photographers, nature lovers and walkers, all making the most of the relatively fine weather, as the footprints on the paths and trails attested. We were all smiling, clearly pleased with the way the day was going and obviously hoping that the sun would continue to shine down on us, at least for another hour or two.

The sun stayed out at least long enough for us to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  Now we are back to cloudy skies and the threat of snow later on today, but looking on the bright side, this may present us with more photo opportunities.

Is It Spring Yet?

I thought it was, a couple of weeks ago, when I was walking through Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg. The snowdrops were in bloom, birds were singing and everything looked poised, ready to leap into action but apparently Mother Nature had other ideas as evidenced by a thin film of ice on the outer edges of the lake when I visited there yesterday.

I thought the patterns in the ice would make an interesting picture so I balanced precariously on the edge of the observation deck in a chilly wind to capture these images.

There were several school groups visiting the Center while I was there and while I’m absolutely delighted to see the younger generation getting healthy exercise in the fresh air and looking at something other than their tablets and smartphones, it doesn’t bode well for spotting any kind of wildlife that’s easily scared off by the sound of about 50 screaming kids.  However, it didn’t deter a flock of chickadees that were flitting back and forth among the trees down by the creek.

As many of you are aware, I have a  life-long fear of birds which is a bit of a handicap when I’m out on these nature rambles, but a long lens is an extremely useful tool which makes such pictures possible. It certainly came in handy when I got to the tall trees by the farm where a woodpecker was bashing away at the bark at the very top, next to what appeared to be its nest. This supposition was confirmed when a second bird arrived.

Moving on to the farm, there didn’t seem to be much activity. Even the horse had decided it was too cold to venture outside and gazed morosely back at me from the barn door, as though it was somehow my fault that the weather had taken a downturn.

I was so busy looking at the horse that I was almost taken by surprise by a ruthless gang of chickens. They are my worst nightmare! When I was much younger, I tried to conquer my fear of birds by going into a hen house to collect some eggs.  The results were disastrous, for me and the eggs as I ran screaming back to the farmhouse.

I backed away as the last, a beady-eyed thug, made straight towards me and, with a final click of the camera, I beat a hasty retreat down the path, passing a robin busy looking for its next meal.

The weather forecast doesn’t offer much improvement for the coming week, with rain and chilly temperatures being the recurring theme for our area so it may be a while before I venture into the Valley again.

Time To Reflect – Antelope Island

There were never enough hours in the day to see and do all the things that we had planned during our trip to Utah.  We had already spent several hours at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, the rain having chased us inside, but by the time we were finished in there things had cleared up somewhat and it was suggested that we head over to Great Salt Lake.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect. Various people had mentioned that the place had rather a distinctive odor to it, but we were curious to find out for ourselves just what Antelope Island was all about and so we took the road along the causeway that leads to the largest of the ten islands in the lake.

Antelope Island 18

Our first impression when we stopped along the causeway and opened the car windows was not encouraging. Apart from the smell, which was pretty awful, we were inundated by flies and we quickly closed them again. Thankfully it didn’t deter us because once we got onto the island everything was fine.

Antelope Island 23


Antelope Island 14

Antelope Island 9

Antelope Island covers about 42 square miles, most of it native grassland. The size of the lake fluctuates during the course of the year but has lost quite a lot of its water due to evaporation. It is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere but because of its extremely high salt content it cannot support fish although large amounts of brine shrimp attract many waterfowl which were very much in evidence as we drove along the shoreline.

Antelope Island 2

It didn’t take long for us to spot some of the many species of wildlife that roam about Antelope Island State Park including pronghorn antelope, for which the island is named, and bison. The bison herd may include anything up to 700 animals and there is a yearly round-up to take count and make sure they are all healthy.

Antelope Island 24

Antelope Island 16

The sun had put in an appearance by this time and we decided to take a short hike along Lady Finger Point Trail. The scenery was awesome and we could see the bison grazing in the distance while at our feet some kind of lizard scurried away as we approached. Magpies are a common sight in Utah and we were closely watched as we made our way along the trail.

Antelope Island 17

Antelope Island 13


Antelope Island 5


Antelope Island 10


Antelope Island 11


Antelope Island 12

But time was growing short. The rest of our days in Salt Lake City were already spoken for so we knew this was our only opportunity to see the island and now the light was fading fast.

Antelope Island 4


Antelope Island 3

And once again the storm clouds rolled in. I was sorry to leave with so many wonderful things yet to see and photograph but it was as though the island was closing ranks on us. It seemed to be saying, “That’s all you’re getting. Come back another time. Goodbye.”

Antelope Island 19


Antelope Island 20


Antelope Island 22