Pictures from Park & Street

I have a random collection of pictures for today. Some are from a trip to Eagle Creek Park from the end of April, and I’ll start with those.

My wife and I were joined for an afternoon of walking the park trails by a couple of friends, one of whom I would describe as a formerly avid birder. This birder friend really improved the experience, calling out birds I definitely would have otherwise missed and identifying many birds I didn’t recognize (and even helping to confirm a few that I did recognize). Unfortunately, while we could see far through the forest with mostly barren tree limbs, the tangle of limbs also meant that I took far fewer bird pictures than I would have liked (without even attempting to capture the tiny gnatcatchers and titmice and the like that we saw), and most of the photographs I took were really bad bird pictures (as usual, I guess).

Here’s a silhouette of a brown-headed cowbird (it was a lot more obvious in person, especially with its plop-plip call):

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And here’s a blurry pileated woodpecker against a tree:

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Here are some cute coots:

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And worst of all, here’s a bunch of trees (we saw a beautiful bald eagle fly so close overhead–it was amazing, and I was in awe, and by the time I thought to take a picture, he was swooping out of sight; if he’s in the shot at all, it’s behind the many tree branches):

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It’s not a bird, but I would also like to call special attention to this half-sunken treasure chest, lodged against a raft of driftwood, that obviously has some sweet loot:

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Outside of the park trip, there’s not really a consistent theme to everything. I have just one other bird picture–if I recall, it was a red-winged blackbird, but the photo’s just another bird silhouette (it’s at least an intriguing silhouette, I think).

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There are, of course, the usual combination of trees and water features that I like:

Finally, some animal friends near my work:

I know it’s pretty self-indulgent to share these pictures, and I recognize that I don’t have any talent, but it’s still fun to share some of the things I see! If you looked through the photos, I hope you saw something that you liked.

Spring Pictures

This is one of my picture posts, so if you’re into that, great, and if not, then I guess I’ll see you later.

I’ll start with a usual theme: birds. I’ve seen a lot of robins, of course, as well as red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, European starlings and grackles, sparrows, mourning doves, at least one swallow, and the ever-present Mallard ducks and Canadian geese. I’ve even seen a red-tailed hawk! As usual, most of my pictures suck. Worse than usual, even the decent ones are only decent when grading on a curve. But still, here are a few:

I also have a couple landscape shots that I thought were pretty enough:

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Lastly, I’ve got some zoo pictures to share:

I love the second orangutan shot not because of the quality of the picture (it’s dreadful, I know!) but because of the dude’s incredibly contented face.

That’s it! I hope more pictures will be coming soon as I get out walking more–it looks like it might finally start feeling like spring!

Zoo Pics

Before we get to the actual trip to the zoo, I want to talk about woodchucks. There’s a sort of zoo annex across the road from the borders of the zoo itself, and at this annex they keep a lot of odds and odds, seemingly abandoned pallets and out-of-use-equipment and maintenance supplies. This would be unremarkable, but it’s near to our neighborhood, so we see it often enough in some form. And while this was initially unrelated, a big woodchuck had taken up residence on the fringes of our neighborhood, and this was also the sort of thing that would be unremarkable except for proximity to us. These two items became related when the woodchuck set up regular rounds at the annex. And the woodchuck eventually invited a friend. I have never snapped a good picture of this woodchuck, though I have taken many as we have driven by. Google Photos helpfully suggested this animation:

20170929_174957-ANIMATION.gif It is a bad animation. Choppy, abrupt, obsessively fixated on a blurry object in the middle distance…it is therefore perfect, encapsulating my amateurish efforts to get a proper glimpse of this fellow. We would surely be great buddies if the woodchuck would just give me a chance.

Here is the woodchuck and the woodchuck’s pal, who is also a woodchuck, glancing back coquettishly at me after they passed through a chain-link fence and therefore eliminated the possibility of a good picture:

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Well, that’s enough of that woodchuck. Onto the good stuff. (Woodchuck, if you are reading this, first off, congratulations on your literacy; I assume that’s rare among your species! But also, if I’m being honest, you are the good stuff and I am just envious. Stop by or give me a call. Would love to be friends.)

The rest of the pictures don’t have a story–they’re just what I liked best of the pictures I collected from today. I present to you: zoo pics.

So many pictures!

Oh boy, I have a lot of pictures I want to share. I have to restrain myself a little bit. I’ll begin with just a handful of the many, many pictures from a day trip with my wife last week to Turkey Run State Park:

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I have a lot. Way too many. That’s just a sample. So much beauty out there. And separately, still from Turkey Run, here’s another collection of shots of/around the covered bridge there:

Lastly from Turkey Run, here’s this guy:

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I was walking less the past few weeks because my wife very sweetly kept offering rides while on break from teaching, and it’s hard to say no to being dropped off right outside the door and spending a little extra time with my favorite person every day. But I still have some pictures that I think are at least interesting. Like so:

I also saw a beautiful double rainbow in Fountain Square after heavy rains, when going to a metal/punk show with my wife. You can sort of see both in this photo:

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And it wouldn’t be a photo collection here without some animal, and especially bird, pictures:

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Rusty blackbird? Brown-headed cowbird? Something else?

Those animal pictures include some truly atrocious bird pictures. Good luck identifying whatever these guys are:

Finally, just for fun, look how my little far-shore spot from my “adventure” was completely flooded by the heavy rains:

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That’s all for now, folks!

Under the Bridge

The Indianapolis Zoo’s Zoobilation fundraiser was last Friday, June 9. They shut down the pedestrian bridge and the common pathways in front of the zoo for the day of the event and the day prior. This was a little inconvenient for me because my path home normally goes over the bridge and through the promenade that I’ve mentioned so many times before.

Walking home Thursday evening, I came to the closed-off pedestrian bridge, zagged out of the park and to Washington Street, headed west, and then bent back into the park area on the walking path that runs along the west side of the river. Confronted with the closed-off area in front of the zoo, clearly indicating that there was no obvious way for me to take my promenade shortcut, and not quite willing to turn back and take the long way, I decided to experiment a little bit.

The area around the walking paths is open, with somewhat terraced sidewalks and stone that give way to rolling green slopes down to the water’s edge, which is studded with trees. The rolling grassy slopes arc away underneath the pedestrian bridge. But I had never thought to go under. There was no pedestrian path. What little insight I had into what lay underneath suggested that it eventually gave way to water pressed against the stone wall that formed one side of the promenade pathway.

Thursday I was stubborn, though. I had free time in the evening–really, for the first time all week–and I figured I might as well find out what it was like under the bridge and beyond.

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Once I crossed through, it was quick enough to confirm that there was no way that there were any steps or ladders leading up along the stone wall back to the promenade. But I wondered how far this strip of lightly wooded land went on. Could I actually walk all the way along the promenade, emerging back on grassy slopes once the wall receded?

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I pushed on.

20170608_174939.jpgIt was truly a fairly short distance, but winding between trees and carefully hopping on and over washed-up detritus and stacks of fallen branches while stopping frequently for pictures (many, many, many pictures) added considerably to the time. I felt unobserved and alone (but not lonely) down there; I had fun. “Frolicking” would probably be an apt word to describe me at the time. I felt twenty years younger, playing adventure in this little strip of riverside trees, somewhat hidden, but never really separated, from the city.

At last, I came to the end of the world.

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Well, it was the end of this strip of land, anyway. Beyond was only the White River. Nonetheless, I could see a big tree reaching out into the water just slightly down the curve of wall and water before me.

Normally, I would have just given up then. But normally I wouldn’t have gone under the bridge at all; normally I wouldn’t have walked this strip of land to reach this spot. I knew the river’s bad reputation with pollution, but I figured I’d be okay to walk out a little bit and wash off later. Frankly, I was just willing to accept the risk. I stripped off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants legs, and put my phone into my breast pocket to keep the electronic device a little higher up.

Then I stepped out into the murk, first nervously, then with some excitement. I enjoyed the squishing ooze of the mud beneath my feet, the quickly radiating earthen cloud that obscured the waters even further with every step. I crept past leafy shoots and a submerged tire, and I stumblingly lurched over fallen stone and cement blocks. The water rose higher and higher, above my shins, over my knees, up my thighs. I realized it would reach my groin, my waist, higher still if I kept going, even half-clinging to the wall at my side. It had been a fun adventure, but I was simply ill-prepared to go onward, especially with keys and wallet and phone loose in my pockets and with my sock-stuffed shoes dangling from one hand.

I turned about, and very carefully fished my phone out to snap a picture marking my distance from the shore.

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Then I scuttered back to dry land. My feet were washed clean as I reached the shoreline and then muddied even worse as I stomped through the soggy beach back up the rise.

My jeans, I realized, were soaked, having drooped back down over the course of my water-walking. I wouldn’t risk walking barefoot over the trash and dried wood and through the thick grasses, and I didn’t want to jam my mud-caked feet back into my socks. My jeans already thoroughly in need of a wash, I simply scraped my feet across the pant legs as I sat upon a tree root, then reapplied my footwear and headed back, quicker than I had set out.

The rest of my “adventure” is not quite as interesting, even to me; however, I did seem to get a sort of reward for my troubles (if the experience alone wasn’t enough). On the way home, I found beautiful yellow birds fluttering about some trees–American goldfinches, I believe, and certainly something new to add to my collection of bird photos.

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I had my adventure and received my gold at the end.