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Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Jumping Spider & Moth Buddy

July 14th, 2022 Comments off

One thing I’ve been seeing on Tiktok lately is people keeping jumping spiders. They are super cute! We get the really tiny ones in the house frequently, which we’d get in my childhood home too. I nicknamed them zebra spiders growing up, although based on some research they might have actually been called that. Anyway… I’ve never actually seen the larger jumping spiders before. That is, until recently.

Back on June 4th Joe spotted one on his car in the garage. He was shy, so I couldn’t get a photo of him, but he basically looked like this:

How cute is that?!? I wish we’d see them more often!

On July 5th I was out on the patio watering flowers and a moth decided to land on me and hang out. I brushed it off before going inside, or so I thought. I was at the kitchen sink when I felt an itch on my head, and when I brushed at it, I saw the moth fly away. It disappeared so quickly, I had no idea where it went and quickly forgot about it.

The following morning I was grabbing towels from the guest bathroom and the moth was there. I was able to capture it in my hand and let it loose outside.

On the 9th an identical looking moth decided to hang out on the patio door screen for half the day.

Could it be the same one, and if so, why was it so obsessed with me? I love nature.

Categories: Amusing, Animals Tags:

Spring Nature Fun

June 14th, 2022 Comments off

We’ve been trying to maximize our free time the past month by getting out and doing as much in nature as possible before the extreme heat hits (which it did yesterday).

Sunday 05/22 we hit up Armstrong Park & Fountain View Park because it was such a beautiful day out. I neglected to bring my camera to the first park, so I didn’t make the same mistake when we went out later that afternoon.

We went back to Armstrong Park the following Sunday (05/29) with my camera and spotted some cute baby ducks.

Saturday 06/04 we ventured a little further from home to check out a new to us nature center in St. Charles called Hickory Knolls. It was pretty crowded between the native plant sale and all the kid soccer games nearby. We’d love to go back at a quieter time to explore more.

Instead we headed over to Peck Farm Park to walk around and bird watch.

I got a photo of a common yellowthroat, which was exciting since I never knew this bird even existed!

We decided against checking out the butterfly tent this visit since it was overcast and they weren’t terribly active.

After snapping plenty of photos, we drove over to Fabyan Forest Preserve since it had been years since our last visit. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t get any photos of the barn swallows that call this preserve home. They move too much and are too far away for even my longest telephoto lens to capture.

By this point it was threatening to rain, so we decided to get over the Windy Acres Farm to check out the strawberry festival I heard about. The place was a madhouse and there was a huge line to get into the festival grounds so we noped right out of there. I’m glad we did because I later emailed them to ask if you had to pay the $12 fee just to get access to the festival food and was told yes. WTF?!? I understand having to pay to go on rides, but not just to get to the food booths. Sorry, but no. It’s too bad as I wanted to try the strawberry donuts.

Sunday (06/05) we visited Northside Park in Wheaton.

We visit this park often because it has so much wildlife to watch. I was able to get a close-up picture of a killdeer on this particular visit!

They are more prevalent in the area than I originally thought. They are just very good at going about their business undetected because they blend in with the landscape. If you do spot one, they usually run off if you get too close. This one was standing its ground, so I suspect it was a female protecting her camouflaged eggs.

On our way back to the car I captured a few shots of this cute fox squirrel.

This past Saturday (06/11) we took a picnic lunch over to Ray Franzen Bird Sanctuary in Itasca.

We didn’t see any good birds (mostly just red-winged blackbirds which are a dime a dozen), but we did spot this cute baby bunny hiding along the trail.

We also saw a dead squirrel. He looked like he had climbed on a tree branch, laid down, and passed. Poor little thing. I want to go back either early morning or closer to dusk when birds tend to be more active.

I really want to buy a new camera and lens to up my photography game. More on that in my next post…

Categories: Animals, Excursions, Photos Tags: , ,

Robin’s Nest

May 31st, 2022 Comments off

A couple of years ago we had a robin’s nest in the small tree out front, and this year we had another one. It was higher up and the momma bird did not like me trying to get pictures. I had to actually stop because she started attacking me, even if I was just walking past the tree (which I have to do to get in/out of the front door) when taking the dog for a walk. Needless to say, I didn’t get as many photos of the baby birds as I would have liked.

The nest was discovered on May 10th

The hatchlings on May 29th

They left the nest sometime in late May, early June

Categories: Animals, Neighborhood Tags:

Flora & Fauna

May 19th, 2022 Comments off

The weather has been very frustrating so far this spring. It’s either been really cold (like 40s-50s) or super hot (90s). We finally got some more spring like weather recently, so we took full advantage.

Saturday (05/14) we hit up a local place called Murphy’s Farm to buy petunias and a few other flowers for our patio garden.

New Flowers

Their prices were pretty reasonable, so we might go back as we have a few more pots to fill. We also planted zinnias since the butterflies, hummingbirds, and finches love them.

Speaking of hummers, we put out the feeder on May 7th and saw our first hummingbird on the 11th, so that wasn’t a bad wait at all. Unfortunately all the birds visiting this year are very shy so I’ve yet to get a picture of any of them. The second I move, they fly away. I even sat on the patio on the 17th for a half hour completely still with my camera pointed toward the feeder and got absolutely nothing.

Sunday (05/15) we made our semi-annual visit to Lilacia Park to see the lilacs and tulips.

Lilacia Park

Despite the fact that the lilacs were listed as reaching full bloom mere days before our visit, they didn’t look their best and the tulips were on their way out because they only last a few weeks in peak shape. I guess next year we need to get our butts out there twice to see them each on separate days. I am glad we waited until Sunday to visit, however, because the temperature was much cooler than Friday evening which was our original planned date. There were hardly any people in the park at 8 am either, which was nice. We both are crowd adverse, which is why we always try to get to places early.

The highlight of our trip though, was the chipmunk we came across.

Isn’t it adorable??!? I felt so lucky for the opportunity to photograph it because they’re usually quick to run away.

After the park we decided to visit Churchill Woods forest preserve because I heard it’s peak migration season for many birds.

While I wasn’t really able to get any photos, we did hear a huge variety of birds, identified with my Merlin Bird ID app.

Here’s a list of everything we heard (the asterisk means we also saw the bird).

Baltimore Oriole *
Barn Swallow *
Blackpoll Warbler
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue Jay *
Brown-headed Cowbird
Cedar Waxwing
Downy Woodpecker
Gray Catbird
Great Crested Flycatcher
Indigo Bunting
Northern Flicker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-Winged Blackbird
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Warbling Vireo

Categories: Animals, Excursions, House & Home Tags:

Loose Dog

April 21st, 2022 Comments off

On the way home from picking up Taco Bell yesterday we saw a dog running loose in the neighborhood, dragging a leash behind it. Joe got out of the car but the dog wasn’t interested in coming near him, so we drove around the neighborhood to see if anyone was out looking for it.

We didn’t see anyone, and when we returned back to our part of the subdivision, we saw the dog sitting in front of a door to one of the townhomes.

Joe went to see if he could check for a tag, but the dog kept growling at him. We ended up going home and posting the details on Nextdoor and a local Facebook group.

No one commented on my Nextdoor post, but Joe’s Facebook post got some activity. Someone suggested calling the police, which hadn’t occurred to either of us, so I did that. Other people went out to look for it (as it wasn’t where we last saw it once the police arrived). Luckily someone posted that it was eventually captured and returned to its owner. I can only guess it was far from where it was being walked when it got loose which is why we didn’t see anyone looking for it.

Since hindsight is 20/20, I wish we had stayed by the house where it was cornered and called the police so they could have grabbed it sooner, thus reducing the chance it would get hit by a car. I blame my hanger because I was feeling faint and needed to eat and the whole delayed that process. That’s what I get for waiting until I was already starving to go get food!

Categories: Animals, Neighborhood Tags: