LAPC: The Lazy Days of Summer

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is about summer. Ah, summer! My favorite season of the year! Even with the distancing measures of Covid-19, I can enjoy the summer. (Imagine if the shelter-in-place had been in the winter – we’d REALLY get cabin fever!)

Two recent photos of our senior community that represent summer:

Daisies wet from the automatic sprinklers
A vigilant mama duck keeps watch over her young offspring.

Memories of summers gone by: on this day in …

Tourism in Europe: a group of tourists in Budapest (July 8, 2019)
A summer birthday party on a friend’s patio (July 8, 2018)
A week with family in northern Wisconsin – we rented two cabins on Lower Kaubashine Lake (July 8, 2017)

Flowers in bloom everywhere:

Gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
Schoenbrunn Palace gardens, Vienna

In summer, people like to be in and around water.

A pool party at dusk on a hot day in August (Des Plaines, Illinois)
Drinks on a boat with friends during a late June heat wave (Amsterdam)
Traffic jam on an Amsterdam canal

WWE: Birds on the Lake

I am forever trying to get good shots of our water bird population. Lately, I’ve gotten several good photos on “West Lake” here at our senior community, so I’m showing them off here on Jez’s Water Water Everywhere #35 challenge.

I unfortunately had only my cellphone camera to use for this shot – the heron has never let me get this close, and his silhouette against the reflected glow of the setting sun on the lake was a perfect setting.
Ducks in a circle
Sidney, West Lake’s male swan
One of our two duck families
Goslings & parents keeping cool on the wet pavement
“Our” heron (same one as in the first photo – he/she comes here every day) – fortunately, this time I had my regular camera and zoom lens!

July Square Perspective: A Swan Story

Becky is back with her July photo challenge! This month the theme is perspective. Becky reviews the definitions of perspective to help get started:

  • Art – the method by which solid objects drawn or painted on a flat surface are given the appearance of depth and distance.
  • Geometry – the way that objects appear smaller when they are further away and the way parallel lines appear to meet each other at a point in the distance.
  • Point of View – a particular way of considering (looking at) something or the capacity to view things in their relative importance
  • Vista – seeing something over distance or time

Here’s my entry for Day 1:

From the gazebo, we watched as Sidney (male swan) from West Lake decided to take a walk we knew not where. Within a short time, his mate (Celina) decided she should join him and walked as fast as she could to catch up with him. They had lost their eggs on the week they were due to hatch in a big storm, so now they are just a couple with time on their hands (or should I say their wings?).

We expected them to come back, but they didn’t. On their walk they discovered East Lake, occupied by another cygnet-less pair of swans, and liked it. So, being a little older and a little bigger – and definitely more aggressive! – they chased the East Lake swans out and took over! For two or three days, the East Lake swans sat on the bank (I guess they don’t know there is another lake), because if they went back into the water, Sidney would attack them!

East Lake swans, Hope and Faith, sit on the bank next to their lake.
Sure enough, Sidney and Celina took up residence on East Lake.

The situation was not resolved until a few days later. Hope and Faith, still unable to go back into their own lake, were gaining the pity of many residents. Someone complained to the grounds crew that it wasn’t fair for the West Lake swans to take up residence in East Lake and chase the other swans away, and with human intervention, Sidney and Celina were coaxed back to West Lake, where they belong!

Sidney & Celina feed and preen on the shore of West Lake, ignoring the ducks, who go wherever they want to.

WWE #27: West Lake Tales

A lot of my photos lately (only with my cell phone, unfortunately – I don’t generally take my big camera on walks with me) have been taken at “West Lake” – which is more of a pond, but here at our senior community it is called a lake. In these pandemic times, the most active scene around here is at West Lake (and sometimes East Lake, which is even smaller), with a variety of water birds engaged in their daily activities, oblivious to pandemics, lockdowns, and social distancing.

If you watch long enough, or happen to be there at the right time, life dramas may unfold in front of your eyes.

About 10 days ago, staff members from our community “escorted” a duck family from a nearby school (where apparently the duck goes to nest every year, only this year, no one is there to provide food and water for her & her chicks) to our campus.  I wasn’t there to witness this, so I don’t know how many ducklings there were at the time, but by the time I saw them, there were merely two wee ducklings – and they were REALLY small! I took this photo of the little family and was surprised to see daddy duck still hanging around, which isn’t common for ducks. The tragedy is that, while I haven’t seen them lately, I’ve been told there is only ONE duckling now!
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There is actually what I call a “bachelor club” of drake mallards, about 7 or 8 of them, since the females are off nesting somewhere.  So perhaps we can look forward to seeing more duck families soon.

We also had two families of Canada geese – here is one of them. Note Sidney (“Duke” as he’s officially named), West Lake’s male swan, lurking nearby looking threatening.
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And here comes the drama – Sidney’s mate, Celina (“Duchess”) is currently sitting on her five eggs, which should hatch within a week from now, and Sidney is determined to claim the entire lake as their own.  Here he is chasing one of the geese out of the pond.
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Unfortunately, the above family met a tragic end – Sidney killed every one of their goslings! Another walker from our community told us she had seen him kill one of the babies. And we saw one of the bodies floating in the water…

Although Canada geese are a nuisance, I was glad to see that there is another family on campus, which wisely hangs around East Lake, where the swans (who are not nesting parents-to-be) leave them alone.

We often see one or another of two visitors to the lake – a heron and an egret.
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Dale and I had a discussion about whether the above was an egret or a heron. I thought it was too large to be an egret, but Dale said its color and black legs indicate it is an egret. It turns out we were both right – egrets are a type of heron, and this is evidently a member of the “Great White Egret” species.
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This is unmistakably a great blue heron, and it often visits our lakeshore.  We try to be very quiet to get close, but both the heron and the egret always fly away to the other side of the lake before we get very near.
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I suppose I will have to tough it out and lug my camera around with me, since the cygnets should be arriving very soon!

Photos by Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere challenge