Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘nature’ category

Not the usual!

My walk in the park today was definitely not the usual…in more ways than one. When I drove into the parking lot, I spotted my best photo op of the day. I didn’t even have to get out of my car to see it, but of course I did because I knew the best photos would be up close and personal. According to the young man who owns this handsome critter and brings him for outings in the park, he is a seven year old African spurred tortoise. Originally he was named Turtle Man, but as he is actually not a turtle, he has been renamed Gordon because it is more accurate and more dignified. Gordon loves grass and clover, so for him a visit to the park is like dinner at a five-star restaurant!

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Gordon’s owner explained that his pet was only the size of a silver dollar when when they bought him at a pet store seven years ago. Obviously he has grown…a lot! He is not aggressive, as I was able to observe when a curious dog came over to investigate. The dog barked and barked, as dogs will do when confronted with a tortoise, but Gordon just continued to munch and meander across the grass. I asked if meandering was his top pace and was told that he can easily pick up the pace and his species has been clocked as fast as 5 mph.

It was an interesting but unusually short photowalk that ended when the skies opened, rain bucketed down, and I dashed for my car that thankfully wasn’t far away. Gordon’s owner picked him up, placed him in a large plastic container, and they headed for home. As you would expect, I took at lot of pictures of Gordon. Here are a few that show him doing what he obviously does best. (Click on a picture if you want to scroll through the gallery.)

Gordon is definitely not your typical cuddly pet, but watching him was fascinating, and I was impressed by the owner, a young man who is very knowledgeable about Gordon and making plans to protect and help not just Gordon, but his species. I really never know what I will encounter when I visit the park.

I would love to hear your reaction to Gordon. Are you familiar with his kind? Would you like to have a pet like Gordon? You could take him for a walk in the park, but you wouldn’t be putting many miles on your pedometer.

Thanks for visiting today.

Skip aka Carolyn

Another day and a few more warblers

Although I didn’t encounter as many warblers as yesterday, nor anything that made me as excited as the indigo bunting, this was still a delightful day in the park with Gulliver as my photo assistant. Being a “senior dog,” he isn’t impatient and will wait for me when I spot something I want to “shoot.” I just drop his leash on the ground, step on it, and shoot away. Here are six photos (but only two different species) from today:

That’s it for this post. Gulliver and I hope you enjoyed our birds.

Skip aka Carolyn

My new photo walking assistant

When I set out on my photowalk this morning, my dog Gulliver was with me. Gulliver is almost 13 years old, and, as happens with age, he is slowing down, but he still enjoys his daily walk in the park. Usually my husband is in charge of dog walking, but today, I hooked the leash on Gulliver, and off we went. Although I was doubtful about taking pictures while holding the leash, expecting to capture a lot of out-of-focus birds, I carried my camera over my shoulder, determined to do my best. I was amazed at the outcome, and that is what I want to share with you today. (Click a picture to scroll through the gallery.)

That’s the lot for today, and I am more than happy with my new photo walking assistant. I was especially delighted to capture the grosbeak, yellow warbler, and indigo bunting. Maybe Gulliver was my lucky charm today. What do you think?

Thanks for visiting.
I hope you like the pictures.
Carolyn aka Skip

Long day and a productive photowalk

Note: If you want to scroll through a gallery or see the large version of a photo, just click the pic.

It has been one of those days that started early and just kept on going. By the time I got out for a photowalk, the afternoon light was waning, but the birds were still active. I headed for the bluebird nesting boxes first; both mom and pop bluebirds were there, and perched nearby was a tree swallow, so I added his picture to my collection for the day.

Walking on, I headed past the bog, where I spotted flashes of bright yellow. Click, click, click! I captured several colorful birds, but at first I wasn’t quite sure what they were.

…until this handsome dude showed up on the scene…

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…and I exclaimed, “Oh! Orioles! Both the male and female.”

Then they discovered each other, and I quickly captured the surprising interaction with my camera!

Gotta love witnessing that interaction, but the walk wasn’t over yet. On the way back to my car, I saw a downy woodpecker…

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…a singing cardinal,2015_05_07_Chagrin River Park_183
…and a very shy mystery warbler who was hiding in the underbrush.
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And that was the end of the evening and the very productive walk in the park. If you liked it as much as I did, feel free to comment. I would love to know if you had a favorite picture.

Thanks for stopping by today!
Skip aka Carolyn

Amorous tree swallows

Bluebirds can be very tender with their mates, as we saw in my blog post from two days ago, but the love life of tree swallows gives a very different impression…to the camera-toting bystander at least. Tender, sweet, and even dutiful are words I would use to describe the bluebirds…wonderful little birds that they are. If I were to attempt to describe the mating behavior of the tree swallows, I would use very different words. To see what I mean, take a look at this series of pictures I captured today: (Just click the top left picture and scroll through the gallery). I’ll let you use your imagination to “write” the story.

Now that you’ve seen the swallows in action, what do you think? Comments are welcome, but don’t expect me to communicate them to the swallows. I’m just a little afraid of them. I’ve seen them in action, battling the other birds…But that’s a story for a future post.

Thanks for stopping by today.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to the park.

Skip aka Carolyn

There’s never enough time!

It’s already well past my bedtime, and here I sit, trying to get caught up with processing, selecting, and posting my pictures. there’s just never enough time to do all the things I like and/or need to do in a day. I don’t suppose I am alone in facing this conundrum, so I am open to hearing your solutions if you have figured it out. Just don’t tell me I’ll have more time after I retire. I already retired (after 33 years of teaching middle school), and I still don’t have enough time. Solutions anyone?

Meanwhile, here are the birds that posed during my photowalk today (Click a pic to enlarge them):

That’s the crop for today.Thanks for taking a look.
If you have a solution for my conundrum, please weigh in.
All suggestions gratefully considered!
Carolyn aka Skip

Cloudy, cool, and delightful!

It’s been a great day for birding, considering the weather and the fact that I didn’t take my camera out of the house. Ten different species of birds visited my bird buffet today, and I got reasonably good pictures of eight of them…standing inside my kitchen window and aiming my lens at the birds as they flitted from feeder to feeder. That many different species would have been enough, but what made me happiest was glancing out the window and seeing the first hummingbird of the season, sipping sugar water from the feeder I had just filled. (Click a bird to scroll through the larger pictures).

That’s the lot for today. Unfortunately, the downy woodpecker and Baltimore oriole got away without waiting for a photo opp. Maybe they will visit another day, but I’m not complaining. It was a successful day of birding, and I did it all from inside my kitchen window!

Thanks for stopping by. If you have time, leave a comment so we can have a conversation, or stop by my other blog and leave a comment there.

Cheers!
Carolyn aka Skip

Birds in the bog

A Banner Day for Birds

Sometimes…

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Sometimes, when I pause to take a picture, I’m lucky enough to catch a potential confrontation. These two nuthatches arrived at the tree stump almost at the same time. It doesn’t look like either one had sharing on his mind. The one on the right seemed to have the advantage this time. The best pictures, those I like to take home, are the ones that show some interaction…animal to animal, animal to person…any kind of interaction is interesting. Below is a perfect example:

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I was standing beside the trail when several deer walked out of the woods. They must have been hungry because they walked toward me and one came so close that I could have reached out and touched her. I waved her away, kindly explaining that I didn’t have any food to give her. Then I turned my back and walked a little distance down the trail. When I sensed something behind me, I looked back and there she was right behind me. I’m pretty certain she must have known there was some bird seed in my pocket, but I didn’t plan to give it to her and get into trouble with the park rangers. So I waved her away again. Just then a couple, carrying a plastic bag of cut up apples, appeared from down the trail, so she was happy, and I was off the hook!

Thanks for stopping by.

See you down the trail another day.

Skip aka Carolyn