Thursday, October 22, 2009


Bald Cypress

The Morton Arboretum located on Route 53 in Lisle Illinois
provides acres and acres of garden, plant and tree collections
that are especially enjoyable to explore during a fall visit. Fellow
tweeter @DianeKMiller from Twitter and I @HooootOwl live relatively close
to each other and decided to get together to share our passion for
nature photography with a fall photo walk. The Arboretum
celebrating their fall color festival was showcasing trees from all
around the world.

The maple family trees provide bursts of red and orange beauty.
They were just the spot to pose for a memorable portrait that is
sure to be cherished for years and years to come from this family.

The Manchurian Stripped Maple caught my eye. I love the bark on this
tree in addition to the leaf. Both color and texture .... you probably can't
see it but a black ant is crawling up the bark. I could have used Diane's
macro lens for that shot. This was my favorite tree today.

I enjoyed capturing the color and texture today. Pine needles,
oak leaves, clematis seed heads, and a growth on the ground, I
think it was a mushroom among the fallen leaves in the soil.

Below a new Nature-ally Beautiful photo note card captures
the texture and delicate remains of a dried up Little-leafed
Clematis. Just a note card #004 for any occasion or reason.
The possibilities are endless...

Diane spied this little wart infested toad under a bush. Ugly and beautiful.
Looks kind of grumpy gorgeous. What a mug shot!

I found a lovely little lady bug on a Hawthorn Raspberry leaf during
our photo walk. Both Diane and I enjoyed photographing it's beauty.

A new nature note card in my collection featuring the lovely ladybug.
Bug Card #063

Beautiful blue skies. So many beautiful trees to photograph.

The White Oak Tree is the Illinois State Tree, named by school
children in 1973.
Oaks have such character. I love to photograph them.
The photo on the bottom right is a close up of some Oak leaves
glistening in the sunlight. While some people see different
things in cloud shapes ... I saw a jack-o-lantern profile when I
took this picture. Do you see it?

More color ... sunlight ... it was such a beautiful day!

A tree bursting with beautiful berries.

Another nature note card addition features my favorite
berry photo from today's photo walk in the Autumn Arboretum.
Just a note card #002

A red-tailed Hawk in flight got our attention. I also captured a nuthatch and
American goldfinch. Other Sightings today were Black-capped Chickadee,
White-throated Sparrow, Downey and Red-bellied Woodpecker. Was hoping
for more migration opportunity. The arboretum was packed today, slimming
our chances.

We walked around Meadow Lake and enjoyed the view.

At the end of the walk we found a woolly caterpillar.
A burnt orange and black beautiful bug.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Autumn Afton Afternoon

Afton Forest Preserves in DeKalb County provides 240 acres of prairie, meadow and wetland beauty all year round. Today the sky was filled with enormous billowy clouds. It was the perfect backdrop for a nice Autumn hike in Afton.

Afton Forest Preserve is on Crego Rd. 1 and ½ miles south of Perry Rd. DeKalb, Illinois.

Today the bountiful Black-eyed Susan are bursting through the tall prairie grass along the path.

When we first arrived I pulled out my new binoculars and saw about five Eastern Meadow Lark flying around. They flew back and forth from the tall prairie grass to bare spots in the field. I was able to get a picture of this one. The rest saw me and my camera coming from a mile away.
There were many beautiful blossoms in the meadow to enjoy.

Now Look closely, some-birdy is hiding in the meadow.

Afton if full of native plants to the area.

Above a flock of Killdeer flea.
Below Mallard ducks.

Along the wetland trails we found Least Sandpipers ... I think. It was hard to see but I am pretty sure they had yellow legs. From what I understand the other 2 small peeps (western & semipalmated) have black legs.

Below I couldn't resit taking a photo of my honey. He was using my new binoculars and wearing my hat and gloves during our walk. It made me smile, I love this shot of him.

Some kind of flycatcher in this dead tree. Hmmm... maybe an Eastern Wood Pewee, Olive-sided flycatcher, Acadian flycatcher, Alder or Least flycatcher. The bill is short, black. Olive colored back, yellow tint on throat and tummy area, wings have white edge, no noticeable eye ring and a medium tail. My guess is an immature Eastern Wood Pewee because of the black bill and area seen.

Blue Heron and Canadian Geese are a given for just about every visit.

We stayed until the sunset and the new October moon made it's appearance. I especially loved the view of it from behind the prairie grass blowing in the crisp Autumn evening breeze.

The Afton Prairie Forest Preserve is on Crego Rd. 1 and ½ miles south of Perry Rd. DeKalb, Illinois. Go there for a hike, enjoy.