Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘birds’ category

Red-bellied surprise!

two red-bellied woodpeckers

Red-bellied woodpecker times two!

The red-bellied woodpecker is one of my favorite birds, which makes this photo doubly pleasing to me. Seeing a RBW is not uncommon in our neighborhood park where there are lots of old trees and a bog nearby; however, until today I had never seen two of them sitting on the same tree stump. I am guessing that the one in the foreground is a female because it has a grey cap, but I am not certain. At any rate, this was a red-bellied day! Here are a few other birds from today’s walk. Click on any picture to see it in large.

No doubt about it…

Spring has arrived! I wouldn’t be silly enough to believe we won’t have any more cold, wet weather, but I’ve seen the signs, and I am announcing the arrival of spring! Today, on my walk in the park, I spotted a golden-crowned kinglet and a yellow-bellied sapsucker for the first time, and there were lots of people enjoying some sunshine and warmer temperatures. Yay for spring! We’ve waited a long time for it to arrive. Here are my favorite pictures from today:

Hope you enjoyed them!
Carolyn aka Skip

An uninvited dinner guest

I have been playing around with creating diptychs and other collages, so today, after I “developed” my pictures in Lightroom, I chose three related images that I think tell a story. Can you follow the storyline? Hint: Start in the upper left corner.

Here’s the sequence:

    Sparrow was ready to tuck into his favorite meal: black oil sunflower seeds.
    The uninvited guest, a tufted titmouse, flew in, thinking the sparrow should share, but the sparrow told him to clear out pronto!
    The titmouse knew when he wasn’t welcome, so he flew away.

I just came across this app for creating collages recently, and it has been a lot of fun. Hope you enjoyed “reading” the story as much as I enjoyed “creating” it.

That’s it for today!
Carolyn aka Skip

Sparrows can be SO confusing!

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

I knew it was a sparrow, but I couldn’t find it in my bird app on my iPad. Then I had a brainstorm (Don’t know what took so long) and posted it to my Facebook page, asking for help with the ID. Within minutes, a friend I didn’t realize was an expert on birds chimed in with an answer. So lesson learned! If you don’t know, ask on Facebook! I am not much of a Facebooker. I only visit it rarely because I am too busy taking photowalks and then organizing and processing my pictures, but I’ve just discovered how useful Facebook can be as a birding resource. In my opinion, that’s a great discovery. Here are a couple more pictures of this pretty little bird:

Immature white-crowned sparrow

Immature white-crowned sparrow

His colors are more subdued than the adult.

His colors are more subdued than the adult.

Hope you like the little brown job that I now know is an immature white-crowned sparrow. Live and learn!

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

I found “big bird!”!

Look at those holes he has dug in the tree.Look at those holes the pileated woodpecker has dug in the tree.

I have been tracking this big bird for weeks, actually for the entire winter, ever since I realized that there was one living in our neighborhood park. Now I know that there isn’t just one, but a pair, a male and a female. This is the female. The red streak along the jaw is what tells us the gender of the bird. One of the walkers I see in the park told me he had seen both of them together. Now that would REALLY be beyond exciting. Cross your finger and watch this space. I’ll keep looking!

Carolyn aka Skip

P.S. I posted a few more pileated pictures in my photo portfolio at SmugMug. Take a look if you are interested.

Birding with a camera

Most birdwatchers, or twitchers, as they are called in Britain, carry binoculars. I carry my camera. You can probably guess that I am not a serious birder with a long life-list and a longer list of exotic locations I’ve visited in the pursuit of elusive species. I have high regard (envy?) for the experts who can identify a bird by all its varied calls and songs or a glimpse of it on the wing. I appreciate the helpful ones who will say to me, “There’s a ______, in that tree, the one at two-o’clock in the direction you are facing.” I am not that kind of birder. I don’t have the eye or the knowledge, but I admire people who do. What a wonderful hobby it is! Solitary and, at the same time, social, because the birders I’ve met are always willing to share their discoveries with the rest of us.

I do my birding with a camera. I love to capture pictures of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, or whatever else presents itself, and I am rewarded by observing their behaviors, both social and antisocial. An hour or two with my camera in the park, wandering along the trails, usually alone, but sometimes in the company of others, feeds my soul. It is time that restores and energizes me. I believe that the Creator intends for us to get out and enjoy His (Her) creation, and for that I am ever thankful. Here are a few of my recent “captures.” I hope you enjoy them.

PS I wrote a “story” about my (failed) attempt to photograph an elusive pileated woodpecker today. You can read about it in my Blipfoto journal.

Carolyn aka Skip

Winter Wonderland

Consecutive days of snowfall have turned our park into a winter wonderland, making for some wonderful photo opportunities. The tree branches and fence rails are heavily laden with snow, and the wildlife have gone into “mooching mode.” With a deep blanket of snow covering their source of food, the animals have become conditioned to turn to humans for help. I posted more about this phenomenon here in my Blipfoto journal. Last winter we had very little snow. It was an easy winter for drivers and for the wildlife, but this week, just the second week of this winter, has been very different. Since Wednesday (four days ago), we have been blessed (depending on your point of view) by something like 15 inches of snow. It’s beautiful and makes for pretty pictures. It really is a winter wonderland. I hope you enjoy the pictures (Click on the first picture to open up the gallery).

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed the snowy walk.
Carolyn aka Skip

Misty Morning

12__2012_CRP_0098Rain fell during the night, but the temperature this morning was a bit warmer and the air was very misty. Despite the less than favorable weather, I headed to the park, leaving my usual lens, the 70-300mm telephoto, at home, and was delighted to discover that my little 50mm lens (nifty-fifty) was more than equal to the dull light. For the past week I have been experimenting with this lens to see what effect it would have on my nature photography. I’ve been in a bit of a rut, photographically speaking, and had come to the conclusion that, after four years of daily blipping, I was losing my photo mojo. My pictures were beginning to all look pretty much the same, and I was dreading the transition from October with its rich and varied landscapes to the dreary, gloomy, grey days of November.

Recently someone on Blipfoto, my photo-a-day website, challenged other photographers, i.e.”blippers”, to create a series of pictures taken on the same street. That wouldn’t work for me because my daily photowalks take me to the park, not down a city street, but (Iwondered) why not take a series of photos on the park trails and post those in my Blipfoto journal? So that is what I have been doing, and I have chosen to use only my nifty-fifty lens for this challenge. At this point, one week into my double-headed challenge, I have a confession to make. The telephoto lens is no longer my favorite lens for my daily photo walks. Not only have I fallen in love with the versatility and sharpness of the nifty-fifty, I am asking Santa for a new lens for Christmas, a 35mm prime lens. And nobody is more surprised by this turn of events than I am!

Below are a few keepers I captured on my misty morning walk in the park, but first, a word about the turkeys. The flock of turkeys that make their home in our neighborhood park (and beyond) has grown quite large over the years. I have no idea how many there are, but today I saw at least 21 of them roaming along the trails. The second time I encountered them they were on the sledding hill, and that’s where I captured the two pictures I included in my collection of keepers for today. They simply reminded me of little kids racing to see which one would be first to reach the bottom of the hill.

Deer playing follow the leader.

Deer playing follow the leader.

Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!

Her mother told her to look both ways before crossing!

Very young deer

This is a very young deer.

Food fight at the bird buffet

Food fight at the bird buffet

Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a .....TURKEY!

Race you to the bottom of the hill! Last one down is a …..TURKEY!

This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.

This turkey was too dignified to enter the race.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me on the photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Skip aka Carolyn

Working and playing in the park

I walk in this park almost every day of the week. It conveniently borders our neighborhood, and is wonderfully maintained. It is also designated as an Important Birding Area by Audubon, and park naturalists lead frequent nature walks along the trails. I created this photoblog and titled it “Seen Along the Trail” because I felt the need to do something creative with the (literally) thousands of photos I have taken along these trails over the years. Today’s photowalk focuses (Poor pun, but “What the hey?”) on people who work and play in the park, with a few birds thrown in, because what’s a park without birds? Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery, and enjoy the photowalk.

That’s it for today. See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

Come along…

… with me for a short walk in the woods. Click on the first picture to bring up the gallery and enjoy an autumn morning.

My walk in the park not far from our home is a special hour in my day. Setting out with my camera, hoping to capture a few good pictures, fills me with anticipation. Some days are lean ones, photographically speaking, and some yield a rich return, but when I reach the end of the trail, I always head home refreshed and thankful for this daily gift from God.