Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Every once in a while, I step outside the world of cats and dogs at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, to find other creatures worthy of admiration.


Dragonfly photo by Jen Miele

This week, I visited the garden of a local hospital, and this dragonfly came by to keep me company. He sat patiently for an extended photo shoot, including this close-up. I suspect he enjoyed the attention!

What will you see, on closer inspection of your surroundings?

-Jen M.

Previous Picture Day posts:


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We’ve been blessed with gorgeous weather lately, in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Chesapeake area, so I’ve taken to strolling around local parks and gardens with my camera, hoping to catch some wildlife enjoying the sun-soaked days, too. (Want a closer look? Click any photo below to enlarge it!)

At the Norfolk Botanical Garden, I found

this bunny resting along the berm that separates the Garden from the airport,

this raccoon racing through a sunny spot in the grass,

this green heron resting in a tree,
its plumage smoothed back into a sleek coiffure.

At the Chesapeake Arboretum, I spied

this iridescent teal damselfly, posing for its close-up,

this snake enjoying a soggy mudbath before heading for higher ground.

What will you find on your next outdoor adventure?

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One of the benefits of my annual membership to Norfolk Botanical Garden is the opportunity to experience the colors of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in this lush, urban oasis less than two miles from our clinic.

I strolled through the woods last Sunday to observe the colors of the season. Though skies were hazy, I found some bright spots amid the grey.

Bee Me

Petal Power

Berry Nice to Meet You

Azaleas Abloom

Holly Days Are On The Way

A Forest Ablaze

Inspired? Go see for yourself the colors of Autumn,
blazing in the Garden. But hurry! Winter’s on the way!

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This gloomy rainy evening has got me thinking that we need to add a little color to liven things up. I offer to you these bright, joyful flowers and berries growing in Norfolk’s own Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary.



All photos by Jennifer Miele


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Since our clinic is happily located only minutes away from Norfolk Botanical Garden, I decided to make use of my membership card and take a stroll after work. Join me on this walk through the woods and then make time to see it for yourself.



The gardens were peaceful, except for the stirrings of little forest creatures like this guy:


The raccoon posed for a photo as he crossed the lane, but I took so long getting the camera ready that he tired of waiting and moved on.
I had no chance to snap his little friend who came crashing through the shrubs a moment later.

Lush banks of azaleas urged me onward.


The azaleas seemed to glow with color even as sunlight began to fade.




I stopped to gaze at the lake where fish caught their dinner and lazy turtles napped in the waning light.



This has always been my favorite reading spot in the garden.
Without a book in hand, I snapped a photo and continued on.



The white azaleas beckoned me forward. How could I resist?


At nearly 7 o’clock, I headed back to the parking lot.
But first, a quick stop at the fountain…


…and the Japanese Garden.


My visit is complete.
What will you see when you visit the Garden?

All photos by Jennifer Miele.

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One of my favorite parts of blogging is playing movie reviewer. Today is no exception!

It’s not always easy to find wholesome, family-friendly movies at the theaters, but I’ve got two for you:

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, showing in IMAX 3D at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton (well worth driving through the tunnel.) Visit Madagascar without leaving your seat. You’ll learn the most common threat to the lemurs’ habitat and see what people are doing to save them. Prepare to fall in love with Nature’s clowns. After the movie, head to the beach to run and dance like a lemur — you’ll learn how when you see this film!Lemurs


Disneynature’s Bears, showing at local theaters. [Find them on Fandango.] Follow the incredible journey of a mother bear and her two cubs across the Alaskan wilds, fending off dangerous predators and searching for a secluded feeding ground that will guarantee the family’s survival through the approaching winter.

The cubs (Scout and Amber) have their own little “personalities”: whereas Scout prefers to run off and explore (which gets him into some real trouble), Amber sticks close to mama — especially when she discovers that a “bearback” ride is so much easier than walking! The cubs run, play, and cuddle. You’ll want to bring one home after the movie – but DON’T! Bears cost a lot to feed and, I am told, they are difficult to housebreak.



On the horizon: Dolphin Tale 2.

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Spider Season


Sewing machine spider. Check out her awesome zigzag stitch!

Same spider as above; this is her other side.

Same spider as above; this is her other side.

This one I named "Wolfie." My sister made a special trip to save me from this spider and remove it to the outdoors - where it belongs!

This one I named “Wolfie.” My sister made a special trip to save me from this spider and remove it to the outdoors – where it belongs!

The sudden proliferation of spiders tells me we’re drawing ever closer to Halloween. Some nights, webs are strung across the driveway, from tree to tree. Other webs are appearing at windows and across porch railings. Provided the long-leggedy beasties keep the bug population down and I manage to avoid getting wrapped up in their webs, I’ll let them stay.
More spider pictures here.

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82° F today?  Summer weather is here, folks – so it’s time to get outdoors and get moving.

With the warm-up upon us, pet owners will be taking advantage of the season to go camping, hiking, swimming, and playing in the backyard with their dogs.  But they’re not the only ones out in force — wild animals will be enjoying the weather, too.  The problem is, wildlife can leave behind a bacterium called Leptospirosis, which infects both people and their pets.

This raccoon may be carrying Leptospirosis - a bacteria dangerous to people and pets.

This raccoon may be carrying Leptospirosis – a bacteria dangerous to people and pets.


Found in:  Water, soil, mud, and food contaminated with animal urine.  Flood water is especially hazardous.  Also found in an infected animal’s tissues and bodily fluids such as blood and urine.

Host animals:  Raccoons, squirrels, opossums, deer, skunks, rodents, livestock, dogs, and rarely in cats.

Points of entry:  Cut or scratch on the skin; mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth; inhaling aerosolized fluids.  Drinking contaminated water; exposure to flood water.

Symptoms in people:  Fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, jaundice, vomiting, rash, anemia, meningitis.  Some people show no symptoms.

Symptoms in pets:  Fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weakness, depression, stiffness, muscle pain.  Some pets show no symptoms.  The disease can be fatal in pets.

When will it show up in my pet:  Between 5-14 days post-exposure, although in some cases it may take up to 30 days.

Gravity:  In people, Lepto infection can lead to kidney and liver failure, and death if left untreated.

Who is at risk:  Campers, water sportsmen, farmers, military, to name a few.


  • Vaccinate dogs annually for Leptospirosis
  • Don’t allow dogs to drink from puddles, streams, lakes, or other water that may be contaminated by animal urine
  • Don’t swim in water that may be contaminated by animal urine
  • Wear shoes when outdoors
  • Keep dogs out of children’s play areas
  • Control rodents around your home and yard

Resources:  Visit the CDC website for comprehensive information on Leptospirosis in people and pets.  Print your own Lepto fact sheet, or send us a message using the contact form, and we’ll print one for you.

This article originally posted on July 8, 2011.

Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson, via Wikimedia Commons.

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I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
















All photos by Jennifer Miele, at Lone Star Lakes Park in Suffolk.

P.S. I see a swan in the clouds in the first picture. Do you?

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News from the Virginia Zoo:


Endangered Species Day at the Zoo is tomorrow!
Friday, May 17, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Your actions make a difference for endangered species, and this event will highlight ways to help animals locally and around the world. You’ll also find out how the Zoo helps endangered birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.  Activity stations will feature hands-on activities and lots of easy ideas for how you can help!

ROARchestra: The Virginia Zoo presents the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Friday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. (gates open at 6:00 p.m.)
The Virginia Zoo presents the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in an outdoor concert 7 p.m. Friday, June 7, 2013.
Conductor Benjamin Rous will lead the Virginia Symphony Orchestra in playing family favorites ranging from the Pink Panther to the Lion King.
“Concerts at the Zoo are a perfect evening activity for families,” said Greg Bockheim, the Virginia Zoo’s executive director. “It’s a safe environment for enjoying classical music together, while indulging in some of your favorite summer foods and beverages – and it’s a fantastic value!”
Special admission prices for the event are: General admission – $10; Zoo members and Symphony subscribers – $5; and Children 5 and under are FREE!
Visitors should pack their own blankets and lawn chairs. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the performance begins at 7 p.m.
Note that no outside food or beverages are permitted inside the Zoo. This concert will take place as scheduled, rain or shine. No coupons, discounts or passes will be accepted for this event.

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