Having an affinity for nature photography, Diet Coke, and a bargain, I am a frequent visitor at McDonald’s golden arches.  I can’t help but notice what surrounds most of their restaurants, it’s pretty nice.  So, I make it a habit to bring a camera with me while I wait at the drive-thru for a large Diet Coke/light ice — a real bargain at $1.00 (plus 8 cents for to support whatever programs Governor Cuomo has in mind for downstate).

It’s worth the $1.08, though, because what I find on my McStops are some really beautiful flowers and plants. . .OK, so maybe these particular ones are a bit past their prime, and the photo isn’t very good, either (but the bokeh isn’t so bad for a 4/3 bridge!).


Besides, look what they had to put up with over the past few days!


Bitter weather for spring. . .but this is western New York <sigh>  We don’t always get much of a spring here.  And these were taken in Wolcott, which is always just a bit colder because it is just a bit farther away. . .and lies right along the north side of Route 104.  For those who don’t know it, Route 104 is the line that separates regular snow (on its south side) from the constant white stuff that falls from lake effect (on the north side).

Wolcott is my favorite McDonald’s, because it’s right on the way to the middle of NoWhere, which is where I go on nature hunts.

Anyway, when spring finally arrives, we appreciate it!  I was waiting in line at Waterloo when I saw this. . .they really know how to decorate with plants!


They did this funky thing with grafts, too, so there are white blossoms and pink ones on the same tree.  Not bad, eh?


Of course, it never takes too long for the weeds to pop up, snow be damned!


Waterloo also has McFlowers like these:


and these:


. . .which certainly excuses the occasional dandelion.  Besides, it’s not a weed, it’s a “wildflower,” right?

There must have been a McSale on black-eyed Susans, because I see them at just about every McDonald’s I stop at.


They grow everywhere, just like dandelions, but they are so pretty who cares if they are nothing but a weed — I mean “wildflower”?

I don’t know what these are, but they look sort of like the rose mallow that grows along the sides of the marsh at Montezuma.  But they can’t be rose mallow because they’re blue. . .and besides, somebody paid for this plant, so. . .


What I love most about McDonald’s though, are the McBirds.  All the lovely plantings and bushes that line their drive-thru’s attract any number of flying visitors.

Here are a couple of juvenile robins.  They just stopped in for a visit.


This starling looks cold and hungry; he’s probably hoping someone drops a french fry.


But the robins and starlings and other avian visitors don’t stay very long.  The ones who do are small enough to fit behind the neon signs,where they build a cozy nest.  Mostly these are house sparrows, but who cares?  They sing a nice McSong, and their eyes sparkle if you catch the right light.


And they pose very nicely too 😉



I saw one of these once, but it was at Burger King.  I really don’t know why a killdeer would hang around Burger King, but this one did for as long as it took for me to eat a burger and read a few pages of Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography.


Of course, the birds I see the most are these:  Gulls!  Noisy, pesky gulls always begging for a bite of whatever you have in your hands.

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Whenever one leaves, two take their place.  They are quiet as long as it takes for them to eat a french fry and maybe scratch an itch. . .which isn’t very long.


This one’s my favorite.  He has only one foot, but that didn’t stop him from dancing:


I bought a small bag of fries just for him!

Most of these photos were taken impromptu within the past year, so I used whatever bridge camera that happened to please me at the time.   Sooooo glad I am over that!  The only bridge I now own is a gray-market Lumix FZ80 (FZ82 here in America), which I carry with me “just in case.”  And it’s a good thing I had it with me over the weekend, when I inadvertently hit something that peeled the bumper from my car.  The camera strap was sacrificed, but the camera, car, and me live on for better, brighter days.

Not very happy about the car, but look at the nice star I got from the glinting sun!



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