Ravine Critters

I swear there is a mouse in this photo

I swear there is a mouse in this photo

Sometimes when you go for a walk, even if it’s in a relatively familiar place, you end up seeing something you’ve never seen before.  Gina and I took a short walk to a ravine at the end of her street.  The ravine has a lovely little park in it, complete with an arched bridge over a large creek.  Given that it was one of the first sunny, warm days of the season, the park was fully of people.

A little bit more of our white-footed friend is showing in this one, but not much

A little bit more of our white-footed friend is showing in this one, but not much

We were there to do a little practice portrait shooting.  As we wandered around looking for a good spot, we saw a group of tables set up under an overpass where the creek flows under a major roadway and continues its course downhill towards the nearest river.

Under this overpass, about 5-6 naturalist-looking people wearing naturalist-like attire had a bunch of critters they had collected on display, along with a microscope and some  other types of collections that weren’t moving.  I wasn’t well equipped for shooting these critters, but I did the best I could given they were in glass containers and I was shooting with my 70-200mm lens.

I forget what this was, but I think it's some kind of salamander

I forget what this was, but I think it’s some kind of salamander

Having to stand back when shooting through glass is a major disadvantage.  The smudges and reflections on the glass show up quite a bit more than I would like.  But, to be honest, I didn’t take these images with the expectation that they would win any photography awards.  It’s just pretty darn interesting to learn what critters are crawling all around us that we’re mostly oblivious to.

We were introduced first to a white-footed mouse.  The mouse ran out and posed for us just long enough for me to get my lens cap off and my camera turned on.  Then, he ran back under the leaves in his cage, rolled up in a ball, and promptly fell asleep.  I tried shooting from several angles, but all I could get was a spot of brown fur amongst brown leaves.  Trust me.  He was really cute.

One of the most frightening creatures in the mid-west:  the Wolf Spider

One of the most frightening creatures in the mid-west: the Wolf Spider

The group had also collected a snake and a couple of spiders.  While I am a fan of snakes, I have a bit of a problem with spiders.  I love spiders and their contribution to the balance of the ecosystem.  I particularly love their webs.  However, I love both their webs and them a lot more when they are not on the same side of a window as I am

I appreciated when the ladies holding the spiders for us decided to put them back in their containers–I would never have shot them when they were running around outside the containers, I was too busy jumping.

I was too nervous to remember what kind of spider this was

I was too nervous to remember what kind of spider this was

When we asked the group what they were doing, they told us they were both trying to get people interested in the flora and fauna in the ravine and getting a baseline of what was there so that as they work to restore the native habitat, they can see how many more species start appearing.

My baby boy in a blur--I'm so happy he rejoined me

My baby boy in a blur–I’m so happy he rejoined me

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