Striped Sentries

On Watch Zebras have keen eyesight. You often see them in pairs looking in opposite directions on the "Endless Plain" of the Serengeti, keeping an eye out for predators as the rest of the herd grazes. By comparison, wildebeest have poor eyesight so they travel along with the zebra for protection. Wildebeest have a knack … Continue reading Striped Sentries

Feeding Time

Three Hungry Chicks Robins are either very trusting birds or stupid. They build nests in obvious places, not very well hidden and easily accessible to predators. This one built a nest on the cross beam above our deck, allowing us to sit in our easy chairs and watch it all day long. Mama Robin worked … Continue reading Feeding Time

Circle of Life

Vulture on Zebra Carcass While on safari in Tanzania, the scenes and songs from the movie, "Lion King" often popped into my head. But none more than the lyrics of "The Circle of Life". Some say eat or be eaten Some say live and let live But all are agreed as they join the stampede … Continue reading Circle of Life

Marabou Stork

Marabou Stork Storks enjoyed a favorable connotation when I was a kid. The myth about the stork delivering babies was known world wide, and illustrations always presented them pleasantly; i.e. happy, friendly, trustworthy, reliable, etc. That reputation was shattered when I met the Marabou Stork in its natural habitat -- the local garbage dump in … Continue reading Marabou Stork

Wildebeest Feast

Cheetah and Cubs A four-month old cub stands watch as Mom and sibling enjoy the rump of a freshly killed wildebeest. This was observed by over a dozen safari trucks parked in a semi-circle about 30 yards away. Safari drivers share information about major animal sightings, and cooperate in "circling the wagons" to provide good … Continue reading Wildebeest Feast

White Water

Roaring Forks Falls The Smoky Mountains NP has over 2,900 miles of clear mountain streams, which are fed from over 85" of annual rainfall in the higher elevations. The steep mountain sides create roaring streams with hundreds of water falls. Books are written about the top 50 falls, most scenic, tallest, etc. Roaring Forks Falls … Continue reading White Water

Pretty Bird

Lied Jungle - Henry Doorly Zoo I have no idea what kind of bird this is. The local zoo, world famous Henry Doorly, needs to improve their signage in the Lied Jungle. Why? The animals, especially birds, are never seen close to the informational sign attached to the visitor's boardwalk. Monkeys and land animals are … Continue reading Pretty Bird

Howlers

Howler Monkey There are always new "finds" at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. No matter how often you go, there is always a new adventure. I've been in the Lied Jungle several times, one of the world's largest indoor rain forests, and have seen every species of monkey. But, this time a Howler … Continue reading Howlers

Butterfly Convention

Butterfly Convention On a sunny spring day, I noticed a swarm of butterflies in Cades Cove, a beautiful section of Smoky Mountains NP. Several different types of butterflies were all in the same small area. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that all of them were concentrating on one particular spot in the grass. It looked … Continue reading Butterfly Convention

Sunflower

Giant Sunflower Sunflowers are in full bloom, peak time for butterflies and Nature's warning that the lazy hazy days of summer are numbered. The first plant to show up in my new "prairie" this year was a volunteer sunflower -- center stage, like it was the star of the show. Not knowing if anything else … Continue reading Sunflower

Tough Turkey

Wild Turkey Along a trail in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains NP, I caught up to a group of 10-12 people moving off the trail in both directions to make room for this wild turkey rooster. He was all fanned out, strutting with purpose, looking for a fight. No one was approaching it, let alone … Continue reading Tough Turkey

Crater

Ngorongoro Crater A few gazillion years ago a volcano blew its top off. Given the size of the crater today, 11 miles across and 2,000' deep, the mountain was taller than Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest free standing mountain and just a few miles away in Northern Tanzania. It is the most intact caldera in … Continue reading Crater

Mystery Plant

The blue and reds are so vibrant on this plant, it caught my eye from across the conservatory.  The plant was screaming, "Come take my picture!"  (I never know if the closed quotation mark comes before or after the punctuation ending a sentence.) I found this in the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.  The spiked "branches" … Continue reading Mystery Plant