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7 Oct

My downfall in fall – the light nip in the fall air always sets me to fearfully fixating on the impending winter freeze.  The most dastardly doing of the Midwestern winter isn’t the dumping of snow on my driveway or the frosting of my eyelashes while waiting for the bus.  No,winter’s worst wrongdoing is the creeping into my psyche and diminishing my appreciation of the truly gorgeous fall season rolling over the farm hills of Wisconsin.

Layers of color from the fiery sumacs to golden oaks.

So this fall I’m making a new-season resolution to live in the moment, or at least the season, and take in all the brightly colored of fall.  I’ve been making a point to careen my bike through every crunchy leaf pile on my way to school, and get out the forest while their trees are most colorful.  Here’s my bit of a postcard from fall…



What a great day for a stroll

Every now and then I turn a corner on a country road and almost slam on the breaks in awe as I curve down a corridor of color!


Let’s not forget that Wisconsin is a bit of a prairie place.  One of the things I’ve learned here – the prairie changes color for fall just as well as the forest!

Shades of grass


Fall on the prairie


Milkweed – seeds all dispersed

I’m not the only creature out and about, soaking up the last warmish days of the season.  It seems that turkeys spend the entire fall (hunting season) pacing around in private fields of corn stubble just evading public hunting areas.

Gobble Gobble

This threatened ornate box turtle was a highlight of a recent field trip for my zoology class.

How could any species this cute be threatened?!

As the sun sets flocks of blackbirds flutter to and fro across a wetland deciding which side has the sweetest cattails.

Last flight of the night





Pachyderm-perched perspective

27 Jun

The elephants lumber down the main drag of Sauraha.  On their way to work – on their way home from work – on their way to a refreshing river bath.  Their job?  Schlepping tourists around the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal’s Terai Arc region.

“Traffic” in Sauraha

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El Yunque Rain Forest

25 May

The sky drips with water and the forest drips with green.  The coqui frog dominates the forest conversation and tiny colorful birds flutter by.

Bird watching in El Yunque

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Road closed due to lava flow

16 Nov


I think they mean it!

I tend toward the preconception that any warning from a government agency is so layered with ass-covering over-caution that it can be taken quite lightly.  But at Volcanoes National Park – where their idea of a good time is hiking across a volcanic crater to warm your face in front of a steam vent, where their idea of an accessible campground is four miles down a one lane road with a suggestion to share the road with oncoming cars – when they close a road they don’t mean ‘there could be an off chance of mild driving disruption due to volcanic activity nearby’ – they mean the road is closed.

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Place of refuge – for villagers and dolphins

13 Nov

First I hear the squeaking.  Surely my ears are playing tricks on me.  Maybe its my teeth rubbing the plastic of my snorkel.  But then I see a shadow move across the glints of sunlight filtering through the deep blue.  The shadows move closer.  The dolphins are surfacing.  Surfacing, playing, almost dancing, sometimes pooping – and all right around me.

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What the tide rolled in…

5 Aug

After a beautiful day of camping and cherry-picking on the scenic Door County peninsula, we strolled down to the Nicolet Bay beach to bask in a colorful sunset – and got a big, slimy surprise.   As little Lake Michigan waves lapped at the shore they littered the sand with tiny shiny bodies.  More silvery slivers bobbed in the water.  The afternoon’s sandcastle moats filled with the bodies of stinky, fishy intruders.  There was a fish kill of alewives (members of the herring family), and thousands of them were washing up on the beach.  Not just our beach!  We found out later, from a walk around and news report, that large parts of Lake Michigan was being coated in a crusty ring-around-the-shoreline of decaying minnows.

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The St. Croix Cougar reaches the end of its journey

29 Jul

It’s not common to find a cougar in Wisconsin.  It’s almost unimaginable to track one through Wisconsin on his way across the continent.  This week the journey of the “Saint Croix Cougar” came to a sad end.  The cougar was found hit by a car on a highway near Milford, Connecticut.

A cougar caught on a night camera. Photo credit - Not Me! From WDNR.

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