Archive for the ‘Wisconsin’ Category

I live in the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. The capitol building of the state, in Madison,Wisconsin, is one of the most beautiful in the country. It features the only granite dome in the U.S. – a dome that soars to a height of over 200 feet (just slight lower than the dome of the U.S. Capitol). At the top of the dome is the mural “Resources of Wisconsin” a work by Edwin Blashfield that spans over 27 feet. He completed the work in 1917 and the work is the splash of color in the Monochrome Madness photo of the dome interior shown below.

Monochrome Madness - Spalsh of Color (Blashfield Mural)

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As the cold weather began to settle into the Madison area, the temperature of Lake Mendota, the largest of the Chain of Lakes in Madison, was significantly warmer than the surrounding air resulting in some foggy mornings. Here are some photos from those foggy mornings.

Here is a photo of Maple Bluff (about 3/4 mile [1.2 km] across the lake from where I took this photo and about 120 feet [36.5 meters] above the lake at this point) shrouded in the fog.

Foggy Morning - 0109

Here is a photo of part of the City of Madison shore (foreground) with fog on the lake.

Foggy Morning1

Here are two views of the Tenney Park breakwater in the early morning with the fog in the background.

Foggy Morning3  Foggy Morning4

 

 

 

Madison’s Warner Park is less than 2 miles (3 km) from my home. It is a multi-use urban park that features a small baseball stadium, soccer fields, picnic areas, large parking lots, as well as a pond, semi-natural fields and wooded areas.

The pond attracts quite a bit of wildlife. While I typically have photographed birds in and around the pond, I recently decided to spend some time watching the turtles that live in the pond. All of the turtles that I saw were painted turtles. Painted turtles are the most widespread species of turtle in North American For good or ill because the pond at Warner Park is an urban multi-use park, it is subject to an oversupply of nutrients resulting in substantial algae blooms. The pictures that follow show the turtles in the pond. Since I am not a wildlife biologist, While the pond looked pretty bad, the turtles seemed to be in pretty good shape. I imagine they were trying to peacefully sun themselves, but they spent a fair amount of their time jockeying for position on the two major logs in the area of the pond I was watching.

Three Turtles

 

Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 136_7_8pmatrix-Edit-Edit

Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 709 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 680 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 670 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 637 Turtles - September 26, 2014 - 604

 

I recently visited the Cave of the Mounds, which is a limestone cave located near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin.  The cave is a designated as a National Natural Landmark, which is a program that recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features of the country in both public and private ownership. As with most caves, stalactites and stalagmites are common but the cave has a number of other  formations many of which are quite colorful and are the reason why the cave has long been promoted as the “jewel box” of major American caves.

The first photo shows a detail of a large flowstone formation: a small pool of water resting on the unusually colorful flowstone surface just after a water drop has hit the surface of the pool.

Cave of the Mounds - September 28, 2014 - 78

In the following photo stalactites hang above a flow stone formation.

Cave of th Mounds - September 28, 2014 - 0082

Here a large stalactite reaches down towards a stalagmite.

Cave of th Mounds - September 28, 2014 - 0147

This photo shows the joining of a stalactite and a stalagmite.

Cave of the Mounds - September 28, 2014 - 142_3_4

Finally, here is a “lily pad” formation. Lily pads are created when water droplets fall into a puddle and create a formation that appears to float on top of the water in the puddle.

Cave of the Mounds - September 28, 2014 - 150

Although we normally have large numbers of monarch butterflies coming through our area starting in mid- to late-August last year we had very few. I was concerned that we might have even fewer given the loud noise and clouds of dust that have been one of the primary features of Maple Bluff during all of the ongoing construction. Wrongo (no need to check your dictionary, it is a made up word meaning I was totally wrong). There are many more monarchs than there were last year  and while I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of them during the heaviest phases of construction, it may well be that they were there while I was paying attention to the construction activities.  Here are a few shots of recent monarch activity.

This monarch butterfly is flying right next to our ongoing street  s

This monarch is flying right next to our ongoing construction

 

As I was writing this it dawned on me that the flowers had not been quite so bright this year and perhaps a coating of dust had something to do with that (at least between rains).

The dust may have helped to make more muted  pastels.

Dust or not, the monarchs’ appetites remain good.

Monarch in front garden - August 25, 2014 - 0014-2

 

 

 

The infrastructure of our street in Maple Bluff has been undergoing construction for months now. The work has proceeded in fits and starts and all in all much more slowly than anticipated. It has made life rather inconvenient from time to time.  Still, I find the whole process fascinating. Part of it is probably due to the lure of the construction equipment — the big dump trucks, the excavators, the bulldozers — and the work they do. In the following photos I have tried to capture some of what has been happening during the work that has been going on here as well as some of my interest in the equipment itself. I will be posting a few construction photo galleries

 

Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 137

I was out with my camera recently having no intention of photographing ducks when I ran into a duck and her ducklings. It was a beautiful day. I had a fully charged battery in my camera as well as a large memory card and, most important, a willingness to wait and watch for several hours to see what might be seen. In summary, I saw both more and less than I expected and hope for.  There was no troop of duckling waddling down to the water and launching themselves off from shore as a small flotilla, which would have been fun but is also visible enough so that it has been photographed a lot. What I captured instead were images like this one – a duckling exercising its wings. I’m sure this is a common enough event in the life of a duckling but it isn’t so in your face cool (like a duckling flotilla) that it gets a great deal of photographic attention. I don’t recall having seen a photo of this necessary little piece of a duckling’s life before, so in that sense I captured more than I expected. I hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I did.