Posts Tagged ‘snakes’

October 21st, 2017 was Reptile Awareness Day.
I didn’t celebrate it in any special way this year,
but I did attend Repticon a couple of years ago.
As you can see from these photos,
I was very aware of the reptiles.
~Jen M.

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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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If you’ve explored every inch of the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the grounds of the Hermitage Museum, you may be ready for a new oasis in the city — the Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary.

Tucked behind grand old houses in Ghent and lovingly tended by the Cape Henry Audubon Society, Weyanoke is already blooming — and surprisingly green for so early in the year.

My sister and I strolled through the grounds this past weekend and went a little camera-crazy in the process. To my dismay, a large number of photos disappeared off my camera’s memory card – including pictures illustrating the lush green growth hidden in the center of the park.

Nevertheless, I did take home a few gems, like these:






And let’s not forget the animal inhabitants of the sanctuary, such as…

a sweet brown garter snake, enjoying the afternoon sun
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a puffed-up robin, staking out its territory

and another bird, doing its best to blend in with the branches.

Also worth seeing:
Tangled vines are Nature’s jungle gym.


Leave it to Mother Nature to invite some fungi to the party.



Some might say I’m a tree-hugger, but I think this guy has me beat.

And lest you forget you’re in the city, a Norfolk-Southern train rumbles by occasionally, to remind you.
All photos by Jennifer Miele, at Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary.

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Today I’m taking a break from posting articles laced with medical jargon, in favor of sharing a few photos from my latest efforts at geocaching.

My sister (Alexandra) and I (Jennifer) hunted for caches in Windsor Castle Park, in Smithfield, a couple of weekends ago. Though we found only 2 out of the 5 caches we were hunting, we lucked onto some forest-dwellers by happy accident.

First, Alex nearly got a face full of this corn spider‘s web:

Writing spider at Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield, VA. Photo by Jennifer Miele

The corn spider is also known as a black and yellow garden spider, writing spider, sewing machine spider and argiope. It has many aliases.

Later, this black snake darted across the path in front of us and posed for a photo (a little fuzzy due to the zoom feature.) He was a beauty.

Black snake in Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield. Photo by Jennifer Miele

This past weekend, we hunted geocaches in Newport News, starting at Lee Hall, moving on to Endview Plantation, and finally, a utility easement next to Newport News City Park

Lee Hall did not offer up its animalian inhabitants, but we did find a spooky old train depot.

Lee Hall Train Depot. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Window detail. Lee Hall Train Depot. Photo by Jennifer Miele

At Endview, I found another corn spider blowing in the breeze. Actually, it was raining, and we both got soaked.

Corn spider at Endview Plantation. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Near the city park, Alex and I spent over an hour thrashing through the woods, tearing ourselves up on pricker vines and giving piggyback rides to hitchhiking Lone Star ticks.

At one point, I spied a blaze orange object in the distance. Assuming it had to be the cache, buried deep in the woods where only the most intrepid seekers would dare venture, I made a beeline for the mystery object. This is what I found:

Bright orange fungus amongus, near Newport News City Park. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Let’s get a little closer. Photo by Jennifer Miele

Detail of orange fungus. Photo by Jennifer Miele

That is my absolute favorite fungus of all time, and I didn’t even know I possessed such a list. But, really, it starts here. Another of my fave fungi:

I call it the “classic” mushroom. Near Newport News City Park. Photo by Jennifer Miele

This also looks like a fun guy:

Photo of Jeremy Renner by Sgt. Michael Connors.

Finally, we realized that the cache was not where we were searching, and no amount of praying would magically transport it to our location. So we switched to the forest on the opposite side of the path. And Alex found it:

Success! Photo by Jennifer Miele

She also found this heart-shaped mushroom on the way in:

A Valentine for wood nymphs? Photo by Jennifer Miele

If you’re wondering what the “average” geocache looks like, there is no average. The can be small (aka “micro”) like this guy:

Micro cache. Photo by Jennifer Miele

 …or larger, like the ammo can shown in the “Success!” photo above, and any size in-between.

Curious? Grab a GPS device and and a smartphone, and beef up your next hike. Register for free at

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     For our Hill’s Prescription Diet customers: we have a new supply of free measuring cups (for dry food) and can caps. Ask for either one on your next visit to pick up your pet’s food.


     Mr. Christopher Page stopped by the clinic today to introduce himself and his business, Fibrenew. Fibrenew experts repair and restore leather, plastic and vinyl. If your pet has torn holes in your favorite leather sofa, call 757-905-0873 and ask Chris what he can do for you.


     I had the pleasure of spending Easter Sunday afternoon strolling through First Landing State Park, on what I call an “animal scavenger hunt.” There are certain animals I always expect to see when I go there, and my efforts were rewarded with the sight of skinks, woodpeckers, snails, butterflies, dragonflies, a myriad of nature-loving dogs, and one sneaky snake.

     Exiting the park (which is sporting a new trail center and bathrooms that are mercifully bug-free), I noticed this sign indicating how to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous snakes.

     Here’s my favorite part of the sign – and evidence that proofreading is a lost art form:

     That’s right, folks:  Keep Clam and Carry On. Enjoy your week!  ~~  Jen


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