LAPC: Keep Walking

Lens-Artists’ Photo Challenge #163 invites us to share photos of our walking trails and discoveries!

We used to hike much more than we do now. Even so, when we are traveling and there is an opportunity to take a walking tour, we take advantage of it! Also, we go on day trips in the Chicago area, to a variety of places to find something artistic or unusual.

On our first day in Tanzania, we spent the morning on a genuine hike! This ficus tree captured my interest.

On that same hike, our guide stopped to pick up something off the ground – a giraffe turd! Holding it in his open palm, he told us it was the turd of a male giraffe, because of its somewhat football shape. Female giraffe turds are flat on each end! Several of our group of hikers crowded around to get a close-up of this unusual find! The guide patiently waited, while with his other hand he looked at something on his cellphone!

Where there is giraffe poop, you can be sure there are giraffes nearby! This one walked nonchalantly away from us – since it was also a male giraffe, I wonder if his was the deposit we had been examining!

Later during that trip, on the day we arrived at Serengeti National Park, another hike had been arranged! I love to walk because that is when I see the small things that would be missed on a bike or traveling in a vehicle! I took photos of these three small things on that hike.

giraffe footprint
Scorpion flower
Dung beetles roll dung into balls, then dig a depression in the earth and push the dung ball into it. The dung beetles lay their eggs in it.

Most of my walks are short treks either around campus or somewhere else in town. On campus one day, which happened to be my birthday, Dale and I were taking our usual walk around campus, when we came upon two other residents who were walking their dogs and had stopped to chat (while social distancing!). It’s common for residents to greet each other or chat on these walks, but before long, someone says, “Well, I need to keep walking” and they go their separate ways.

During the pandemic, we’ve taken day trips to far-flung suburbs and nature reserves.

Dale stops on a wooden bridge over a marsh at Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve.
Reflections in a lagoon – Cuba Marsh

Some of my favorite walks are in sculpture parks! Our walk at Morton Arboretum, which happened to be on my birthday this year, was in search of a new installation of sculptures by a South African artist.

Dale approaches the first sculpture, called “Hallow,” at Morton Arboretum
We did not stop to rest on this bench, although the scene was inviting.
The last sculpture, “Basilica,” of the installation that we visited. The artist of these beautiful sculptures is behind the left hand. It was cool to be able to meet and chat with him a little! I don’t know who the little girl was – she just happened to get in my picture!

Last Photos in August

A new month has arrived, so it’s time for Bushboy’s Last Photo on the Card challenge.

On my Galaxy A51 cellphone camera

Façade at Little Goat Restaurant in Chicago

We went to Little Goat Restaurant with our niece, daughter & son-in-law, picked by daughter & husband who are “Foodies.” The chef at this restaurant is well-known among foodies for combining different combinations of ingredients or adding a twist or two. There is also a bakery.

On a16G memory card in my Sony alpha 68 with 75-300 mm zoom lens:

Kangaroo at Brookfield Zoo

Our photography club took a field trip a week or so ago to Brookfield Zoo, where we tried out our photography skills on animals. After downloading, reviewing and tweaking them, we choose a few of our best (this is not one of them) to our member leader, who compiles a slide show for our next meeting.

TreeSquared: Cat Up a Tree

I have been AWOL the last few days, but I am back with another kind of “tree” for Becky’s July Square Trees. Cats love to climb on things, and are attracted to furniture with different levels, enclosures or holes to explore. Or to sleep on. Cat trees are typically made of a carpet material which felines use as a scratching post as well. The structures cat owners buy for their pets come in different sizes and shapes. This is one of my grandcats, lying on her humans’ “cat tree.”

Life in Colour: Blues

Jude’s Travel Words blog’s topic for Life in Colour this month is the color blue. Jude challenges us to find “unusual” blues! OK, I’ll do my best…

Sky reflected in a car’s headlights
Glass art decoration at The Moorings
Selfie after modification by SnapSeed
Steps up to an Immersive Van Gogh presentation
Viola
Siberian bugloss
Dandelion after modification with SnapSeed
Aquarium at Brookfield Zoo
Chagall Windows at Chicago Art Institute

Several shades of blue in this shot of a church in Budapest
Blue door, blue bag in Budapest
Graffiti in Germany
Modern building in the outskirts of Amsterdam
Eiffel Tower at dusk

Tree Squares: More Trees in Tanzania

For Becky’s July #TreeSquares challenge, I continue featuring trees in Tanzania, with things hanging from their branches.

I don’t know, or don’t remember (if I was told at the time) the name of this tree, but was fascinated by the strange pods or fruits hanging from it.

On the other hand, we saw many acacia trees with these tightly woven birds’ nests hanging from them.

These nests are made by the male weaver. He attracts a mate by having woven the best nest in the neighborhood!

When the weavers’ nests are abandoned, they hang bedraggled from the tree.

Bird Weekly: Moorings Birds

Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly challenge this week is common birds in your area at this time of year.

We have both “residents” and “visitors” at the Moorings. The herons drop by on an almost daily basis – one never knows when or if they will be visiting while walking around the grounds. The other day, we saw this white heron wading in East Pond.

Today on our walk, we saw this gray heron in almost the same spot. The gray heron we have seen before is bigger than this one, so I think it must be younger and perhaps new in town!

Ducks and swans are permanent residents (the swans leave in the winter and are brought back in early spring). Alas, no cygnets this year – second year in a row! But there are lots of duck families and recently a large group of Canada geese with their half-grown broods came for a swim on East Pond.

This is our biggest duck family – mom and 8 ducklings! This was how they looked in mid-June.
A smaller duck family, with half-grown ducklings.
A flock of Canada geese with adolescent offspring
On June 1. our female swan on West Pond was still incubating her 8 eggs – here she is looking rather frustrated; this was her eighth week on the nest! She had been pecking at them, as if to get them started hatching. Unfortunately, her eggs had not been fertilized – she had never mated with the new male the swan farm brought for her after her mate died in late March.

There is a red-wing blackbird always scolding us with his tsks and sharp calls. He flies from tree to tree, following us as we circle the pond.

There is always th

There is always the ubiquitous robin!

CMMC: Up Close and Personal

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge this week has the topic close-up or macro.

Hazel doesn’t really like me getting this close for a photo. She seems to be sleeping, but one eye is slightly open!

Center of Queen Anne’s lace

Taken from our balcony on our river boat cruise on the Rhine: apparently this swan is used to getting up close to humans (probably wants an edible tidbit!)

At a Buddhist temple in Des Plaines, IL

Our niece got into the shot I was aiming for.

Sometimes you run into (almost literally!) an unexpected subject. This caterpillar was hanging from a single thread – probably weaving its cocoon.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what I’m taking a picture of! Take a guess!

I took this selfie when I was about to go outside for a prolonged period in February – rather frightening! With my glasses on, wearing a mask caused my glasses to fog up and I could barely see!

A piece of a multitude of faces, taken at Morton Arboretum’s display of sculpture by Daniel Popper. (See my blog post in PPAC #4 for more!)

CFFC: The Ground We Travel

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge this week is: Ground: sand, dirt, paths, walks, trails, roads, etc.

Bridges, paths & walkways, desert and mountain terrains, and national parks – these are some of the places to find interesting “ground.” Sometimes there is an added bonus: a lizard, a flower, or a butterfly, or something ugly, like trash. This challenge is a way to showcase the photos I don’t usually publish in other posts!

Chicago Botanic Gardens: bridges, paths, and walkways

Cuba Marsh Wildlife Preserve (Illinois): walkways and grassland

The Middle East (Egypt and Israel): Desert landscapes, markets and farms

Mountain and Southwest (USA) terrain: ground above & below the tree line and rocks at Rocky Mountain National Park; trails and paths at Bryce Canyon National Park