Life Captured: Animal Support

Basil Rene has introduced a new photo challenge called Life Captured Photo Prompt, which debuted last Saturday. Each week there will be a new prompt and the challenge runs from Saturday to Friday of the next week.  This week’s challenge is Giving Support.

Like humans, many animals are social animals. The first one that comes to mind is the elephant. Elephants are highly intelligent and live in extended family groups consisting of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and their offspring. Male elephants stay with the group until old enough to find a mate.

There are many ways elephants give support to each other. Living in groups is one way – they care for one another and mourn when one of their members dies.

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Living in family groups gives elephants the security of supporting each other.

Often there are several generations living together.
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A mother or aunt helps a calf trying to get up as it lies on the bank of a river.
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Other animals stay in groups of siblings until they establish a family unit. This is particularly true with big cats.

A cheetah cub feels secure with its mother. He imitates his mother’s hunting techniques and they engage in play.
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Lions hang out with their same sex siblings until they go off to mate. Meanwhile, brothers or sisters help each other hunt and defend their territory, and often show affection to each other.

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Two young males, probably brothers, hang out together.
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Sisters nuzzle and groom each other.

A female baboon carries her baby on her back.
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Zebras accompany wildebeests on their annual great migration, because the zebras know the way and the wildebeests can smell water. They mutually support each other.
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All photos taken in Tanzania in February 2018.

October Squares: Animals of Tanzania

For,  Becky’s October Squares challenge: Squares & Lines, here is a rear view of a zebra in Tanzania…DSC03835 (2).JPG
the lines that ring a genet’s tail,
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lines on a lizard,
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lines that encircle an owl’s face,
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wrinkled lines on elephant trunks and bodies,
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ridge lines on impala horns and black markings on their rears and tails,
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markings and horns of a male gazelle,
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and stripes and fringe on the necks of wildebeest.
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And all these photos are square!

All photos taken in Tanzania in February 2018. Check my archives for more photos and stories of these and other marvelous animals!

 

BOTD: Swan Family Out for a Stroll

My husband and I have just recently moved to a senior living community, and I have been enjoying taking walks around the campus in the evenings. A few days ago I saw the resident swan family out for a stroll. Swans mate for life and raise their cygnets together. This year all of the cygnets survived and now are nearly full grown. They still have a few of their brown downy feathers to shed and their beaks are still gray.
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I see the swan family nearly every day, sometimes in the pond, but often on the grassy bank. This was the first time I saw them walking down the road!

The same swan couple is brought here every spring and they stay until fall – originally to keep away the Canada geese (at which they do a great job!) but also to provide residents with some enjoyable sights of these lovely birds and their growing offspring. (I am planning to join the Camera Club here and look forward to taking many photos of our resident swans!)

Join in the fun: Granny Shot It’s Bird of the Day challenge!

Lens-Artists: My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things is the subject of Lens-Artists’ photo challenge this week.

I love cats, especially my sweet tortie Hazel.
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I love flowers and enjoy taking good photos of them.  There is plenty of this subject matter at Chicago Botanic Gardens! This is their May foxglove display.
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My favorite thing in the world is traveling, and I always take my camera along! I like to take photos of buildings, especially doors and windows,

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Old Jerusalem church door
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Door at Peter of Gallicantu Church in Jerusalem
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Arched entrance, Eskaleh Ecolodge, Abu Simbel, Egypt
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Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
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Stained glass window, Jerusalem

ruins,

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Archaeological site in the heart of Old Jerusalem
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Jewish graveyard, Jerusalem

everyday objects,
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Tanzanians waiting for a bus in Arusha

landscapes, sunsets,

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Sunset along the Nile, Egypt
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Arches National Park, Utah, USA

wildlife…whatever there is to see!

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Hyena, Tanzania

I also love art, especially folk art. (Below, Nubian folk art objects, Abu Simbel, Egypt)
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Painting by Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral, Art Institute of Chicago

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #36: Around the Neighborhood in Des Plaines, Illinois

Lens-Artists’ weekly photo challenge this week is Around the Neighborhood. I selected some photos from my photo archive of the last few years that are “typical” of Des Plaines, Illinois, the Chicago suburb where I live.

More and more of these signs have popped up in people’s yards since the beginning of the Trump administration. This is becoming an increasingly diverse and open-minded city.  Des Plaines had been a predominantly Republican town, but as younger and more diverse people have moved in, this is changing. Republican or not, people want to show that we are welcoming.
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Des Plaines is known for traffic delays due to trains passing through. We have 37 street-level railroad crossings within the city limits! Both freight and commuter trains rumble through several times a day. This railroad track is a block from our house. Nearby, it meets up with two other sets of railroad tracks. It must be a nightmare to coordinate all this train traffic!
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Our neighborhood has a variety of wildlife, mostly birds, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, insects and an occasional deer. A fox has been spotted in the neighborhood from time to time. Lately, people have become aware of the decline in the monarch butterfly population due to urban development which has drastically reduced the plants they feed on. Now we are seeing a return of the monarchs as people make their gardens monarch-friendly!
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My husband and I often take walks around our neighborhood at any time of year when the weather cooperates. There are many forest preserves and walking/biking trails in our area. Here I am on the Des Plaines River Walk. The Des Plaines River gave the name to the city and we have historically had annual flooding problems. Heavy rains and snow melt cause the river to rise enough to overflow its banks in low lying areas.
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Besides wildlife, we have many pet lovers and usually we see people walking their dogs when we are out. There are also many outdoor cats. This one belongs to a friend and his name is Pal.
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People around here take great pride in their gardens and decorating their lawns. Some have kitschy lawn statues. This is a tasteful and pretty fall display.
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Autumn is the most beautiful season here. A few years ago, we had the most glorious fall colors. This is a typical neighborhood fall scene.20151021_151033.jpg
Because there is a Metra station in downtown Des Plaines, many people have moved in and rented or bought condos in the downtown area. But now there are condos going up everywhere – soon Des Plaines will be known more for its plethora of condo complexes  than its trains! (Planes, Trains and Automobiles really applies here – we are also near O’Hare airport.) Here is a typical condo/townhouse complex. And they keep building and building on whatever land is available. In downtown Des Plaines they are demolishing a whole block of stores and restaurants (including our local camera store) in order to put up a big apartment building!
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One more fall scene in the ‘hood!
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I forgot to list above one of our most often forgotten wildlife species – snakes! We don’t see them often and they are harmless. Three years ago, it was warm enough in February for a pair of garden snakes to make their appearance and lie sunning on a rock next to our house.
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It’s not common to see deer right in our neighborhood, but in nearby forest preserves it’s normal to see a buck, or a doe or two. I took this photo while on a walk in the Des Plaines River Forest Preserve (part of the complex of trails that includes the River Walk).
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Canada geese migrate and make their home here during the warmer months. It’s only March and we are already seeing signs of them. Hearing their honking as they fly above in V formation is a sure sign of spring! They come in flocks of vast numbers and occupy our lakes, ponds and fields.  At Prairie Lakes Park, they share space on the ponds with ducks.
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One of the best things about Des Plaines is our public library. It offers many services and programs, including concerts, solo performers, lectures, book groups, computer and photography classes, activities for kids of all ages and more.

This is a mural that was recently painted in a hallway.
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On the first floor, you check out books by scanning your library card and the bar code on the book or DVD.
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There are flyers of the current activities that you can help yourself to.
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When you can’t get to the library, or when you are out with your kids, you can borrow a book and leave a book in these “little libraries” that are scattered around town.
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I hope you enjoyed this tour of my neighborhood!