Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #225 – Wildlife Close to Home

Common Garden Spider.

This week, Anne of Slow Shutter Speed suggests we look around our neighborhoods to find the wildlife that coexists in our local environment. She writes, “From squirrels to birds, wildlife is around us. What non-domestic animals live in your neighborhood or nearby? Do you have feeders to attract wild birds? Look through your archives or take a nature walk with your camera. Maybe some of those flowers have bees looking for nectar with which to make honey? Lizards, praying mantis or spiders may be lurking around the rocks. Oh, how about butterflies? Let us see your wildlife.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

Stepping out of our condo in Fargo one day, I noticed the interesting spider in my opening photo. This is a common garden spider, a colorful species and harmless to humans. The web under construction was attached to the steel siding on our condo exterior wall. Anne can’t accuse me of not being close to home with this image. >grin<

Between Geese-1
A family of geese.

Just across the river from Fargo, the community of Moorhead Minnesota is within minutes of our condo. While we do see geese in our neighborhood occasionally, on the other side of the river is a small pond. Across the street from the pond is a field that provides plenty of food. It’s not uncommon to see families of geese crossing the street to feed or to go back to the pond.

Chipmonk in the garden.

On my daily drive to the gym, I pass the campus of North Dakota State University. Right off my route on 12th Avenue North, a demonstration garden beckons. One Autumn day on my stop there, I found a chipmunk enjoying a snack.

Fledgling robins.

On a spring day, I noticed a robin building her nest in the curve of a downspout by the main entrance to our condo. Over the next few weeks, I watched as the mother sat on the nest, and the father spent time on the ground not far from the nest. Soon, tiny open beaks would peek out, awaiting their mother’s nourishing meals. By June 6, the offspring were learning to fly and the two of them pretty much filled the nest. Not long after this image was taken, they would be gone off to raise their own families.

The Glen-10
Yes, the Red River has fish worthy of catch-and-release.

One day, while walking the trail through Orchard Glen Park in south Fargo, I saw a man and his young son sitting along the bank, each with their own fishing poles. As we walked by, the son looked in our direction and I gave him a North Dakota “Hi, how’s the fishing?” The kid jumped up and came over to tell me about the big fish they’d caught and released. Proud dad showed me the photo of his capture. He gave me permission to share the cellphone image here on my blog. You can view these images in 2K HD on my Flickr site here.

Thanks to Anne for this challenge. I had to think a bit and search through my images to pick only photos captured within a few miles of our home. We have a zillion rabbits around here, so many that I don’t bother to photograph them. We have a few wild turkeys and occasionally deer come into town, but I’m usually not around when I hear of a sighting. On a rare occasion, a moose might be seen, but they are quite rare in the city.

Next week, guest host Jude of Cornwall in Colors will be challenging us. If you’re new to these Lens-Artists challenges and would like to participate, here’s a link describing how you can join us.

John Steiner


  1. Oh the geese are so adorable John!!! And the fish is a monster! No wonder the little boy was excited. I love the thought of the dad sharing his passion for fishing with his son. My brothers all love fishing. Must admit it seems a bit cruel to me but who am I to judge. I eat fish all the time!!!

  2. Great photos for this challenge John! I need to get a small camera so I can take pictures when I walk my dog. Like you, I see many animals, but don’t take pictures. Best would be a coyote looking right at me when I tell it to get away from my dog!

  3. I love your colorful (spidery) greeter. looks like you have settled into a nice routine at Fargo. I always loved living near Universities. There is always something going on. The chipmunk has a nice life too settled into the garden. And that was quite a fish. A story the little boy will tell forever. Nice wildlife walk through your neck of the woods. Have nice weekend.

  4. I liked your picture of the rodent enjoying a snack, John. I think it’s a thirteen-lined ground squirrel, but I didn’t count how many lines it had. 😉

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