Here she is: The red-eyed vireo

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In yesterday’s blog post about Friday Faces I mentioned that I saw my very first red-eyed vireo while walking on the trail through the bog. Another blogger commented that s/he had never seen a vireo, so, at that blogger’s request, here it is: momma vireo sitting on her nest. It’s not a great picture (not even a very good one), because she was hidden away among lots of leafy green branches. Sunlight filtering through the leaves gave it a green cast, but given the difficulties, I am happy to have a picture of this pretty little bird.

For the past four weeks I have been busy with Blogging 101, an online course for bloggers who want to improve their blog. With a new blogging assignment every day, there hasn’t been much time to go on my usual photowalks, so I have actually taken only a few pictures during these weeks. Hopefully normal photowalking will resume next week…if it stops raining and we aren’t flooded out.


Before the rain finally stopped yesterday (Sunday), I went back to the vireo’s nest to see if I could capture a few more/better pictures. I’m going to include them in my weekly photo update (my new blog feature starting today), but I thought this sweet little bird deserved a spotlight all her own. Here are a few new pictures of her at the nest: (Click on the first picture to scroll through the gallery).

I was excited to get a second chance to show you her red eye.
Pretty neat, isn’t it?

See you soon if the rain stays away!

Carolyn aka Skip

Morning in the park

Meadow and power towers

Meadow and power towers

I took a break from working on my Blogging 101 assignments and headed for the park to give my camera a workout. Recently I’ve been spending way more time on the computer than I would like. Along the trail I walked this morning, I passed by this meadow where there are bluebird boxes. I actually got a picture of one, but it didn’t turn out very well. :( . The towers and smokestacks in the distance are part of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating plant, a coal powered plant that was recently decommissioned (if that’s the right word). Not sure what they are going to do with it, but the falcons that nest at the top of the tower may be out of a home if they tear it down. I hope that doesn’t happen.

If you had come along on this morning’s walk, you probably would have wanted to keep going for a while longer, but I had to cut it short and get back to my Blogging 101 assignments. I’m a little behind. But here are a few more pictures I captured on my memory card. Click on one and you can scroll through the gallery.

I’m glad you joined me on the trail today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Welcome to my blog!

The name, “Seen Along the Trail,” should be a big clue that there has been some serious walking, as well as plenty of photography, involved in its creation. Years ago, when I bought my first digital camera, a wonderful new world opened up for me. Because of my love for nature, I was instantaneously motivated to take daily photowalks. As my collection of images grew and grew and grew, I needed a way to share these pictures with my family and friends…and anyone else who came by for a look. That’s why I started this photoblog. Scroll through the sliding pictures above to view a small selection of my recent pictures.  if you like what you see, click on the three horizontal lines in the top right corner to open  the menu bar. That’s a good place to find out more about me and my blog. If you would like to join me for more trips down the trail, click the FOLLOW button so you can come back again and again because there will always be something new to see.

Thank you for stopping by today.
I hope you will stick around for many more trail walks.

Carolyn aka Skip

Comic relief!

2013_08_01_field trip_074Caption anyone?I’ve heard that llamas like to spit and may even spit at you if you get in their space. I’m not sure if that’s true because I’ve never seen it happen. But this did happen in front of me when I was visiting the animals in the FarmPark. Apparently llamas like to roll in the dirt, and I have the picture to prove it. I hope it adds a little humor to your day. If you have a caption to contribute, please add it in the comments.

Thanks for visiting today.
Carolyn aka Skip

The GIFT of being “present”

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(This post was written in response to the Blogging 101 assignment to write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!)

Some random, rambling thoughts came to my mind when I read a blog post yesterday titled “Shut Up and Listen” on the blog named Away from the Noise. It was the title that caught my attention and stopped me in my tracks so I could read the entire post.

The writer’s first sentence says, “Have you noticed in conversations sometimes that some people are not really there? They are physically of course, but not emotionally.”  Well, yes, actually I have noticed that, and I think it is a very rude and thoughtless way to treat someone who is trying to connect with you. Think about it. Have you ever been sitting or standing next to someone who is there, right in front of you physically, but so far away mentally and emotionally that they might as well be in Outer Mongolia, even though you are both standing on a street corner in Cleveland, Ohio or sitting on the patio in your neighbor’s back yard? Sound familiar? How does it make you feel to be treated that way? Like you don’t matter to the other person? Like they really aren’t hearing a word you are saying? Like you aren’t important?

One of the greatest gifts you can give to another person is to be fully present when you are physically in their presence. Fully present means you can’t just be physically present. After all, how much effort does it take to be physically present?” If you are standing next to someone who is talking to you, then you are already physically present, but the really important thing is to be fully present. Just being physically present simply doesn’t cut it. If you are standing next to someone who is talking to you, then you are already physically present, but the really important thing is to be fully present. Just being physically present simply doesn’t cut it. It just isn’t enough. Look at the person standing in front of you; listen carefully to what they have to say, and then respond thoughtfully. Actually engage them in conversation and let them know that they matter to you. That’s a gift, and it’s the best gift you can give to another person. If you can’t give them that, you’re not really connecting with them, and you truly might as well be in Outer Mongolia. That’s what I think about those kind of conversations.

How about you? What do you think? If this topic strikes a chord with you, check out Away from the Noise and join the conversation.

Thanks for listening.
Skip aka Carolyn

Recycling a robin

This morning the big blue recycling truck lumbered down our street, stopping at each house to collect the items placed at the curb for recycling. As a result, my post today involves recycling, but not that kind of recycling. Recently I read a suggestion that struck my fancy. The writer was encouraging photographers to search out and recycle old photos, just to see how creative they could be with some of the old stuff we all have accumulated, but maybe never used…sort of like digging through that junk drawer in your kitchen and discovering treasures you had forgotten.  “Good idea,” I thought.

“With 51,000 photos sitting on my hard drive, that should be easy …and fun.”

So this evening I searched through the backlog of photos on my hard drive, looking specifically for pictures of animals that put a smile on my face. And here you have the first one, a chubby, self-satisfied American robin enjoying her day at the spa. And here is a song you may remember, although probably not, unless you are old enough to remember when Harry Truman was president of the United States (and yes, I am that old).

I hope you like the song because if you are anything like me, it could be rolling around in your head for hours. Did it bring a few good memories to mind? Or maybe it will send you searching through your photographic junk drawer to see what you can come up with. If my “poor little robin, walking to Missouri” sends you searching, I hope you have fun. I did, and I’m planning to recycle another “funny animal”…maybe tomorrow.

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

If you had joined me for my walk in the park today…

Jessie and Joe

Jessie and Joe

… You would have met Jessie and Joe. Even though their health, especially Jessie’s, has declined since I first met them two years ago, they still take regular walks in the park. When I asked them for this photo opp,  Jessie stepped away from the walker she now uses and they moved closer together. One of my joys in photographing people is to engage them in conversation, so I asked, “How are you doing today?”  Jessie’s reply was, “Still kicking,” which she demonstrated by kicking out at her walker. Then she added, “But not too high!” She may be declining in health and less able to get around, but she definitely hasn’t lost her spunkiness, and neither has Joe. They are a delightful couple. As I said in yesterday’s blog post, one of the blessings I see in blogging is the connections that occur when I meet people and ask to take their picture. One of the blessings in blogging is the connections that occur when I meet people and ask to take their picture. Getting to know Jessie and Joe is one of those connections, and it definitely adds joy to my life. I hope it is a bright spot in their day too.

Here are a few other pictures from my walk, just to give you a sense of Chagrin River Park and what a great place it is. Small, yes, but truly lovely and filled with friendly people having fun (Click on any picture to scroll through the gallery).

That’s it for this time. Thanks for joining me on my photo walk.

Carolyn aka Skip

Hello Bloggers!

2014_07_20_July day trip 2014_254Hello Bloggers. My name is Carolyn aka Skip; I live in northeast Ohio about a mile south of Lake Erie and 20 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio, and I will begin this introduction with a confession. I am both a Blipper and a Blogger, and Seen along the trail is NOT a new blog. I created it several years ago when I began to accumulate a large collection of photos from my daily photowalks. For those not familiar with the term Blipper, I will explain. A blipper is a person who takes pictures and maintains a photo journal on where s/he posts a picture-a-day…Not every day in my case, just most days. I have been blipping for seven years, and I just posted my 2500th Blip. My blog hasn’t been around that long. It includes entries going back to October 2011.

Recently I signed up for Blogging 101, a WordPress course that helps bloggers improve their blogs. You might wonder why I signed up for Blogging 101 at this late date. The answer is really simple: I just discovered it, and it looked like something I really need to do. When I first began blogging and blipping, I had three pretty straightforward goals: to improve my photography skills; to improve my writing; and to find a way to share some of the huge backlog of images on my hard drive (Currently there are 51,000 of them sitting there. I take lots of photo walks). I have learned a lot about blogging and blipping over the years, but there is still much to learn. Although up to now, I haven’t been a very good blogger, I am persistent…most of the time. However, several years after starting this blog, it began to feel stale to me, so over the next six months, I want to learn how to liven it up a little lot and make it a blog where people will be able to connect…through images, comments, and  even by posting blogs of their own that relate to something I’ve blogged about.

I believe that connecting with people and being present for them (even virtually) is a gift, and for me blogging and blipping are all about connecting. Nature, especially the birds, critters, and people I encounter in my regular photo walks will continue to be an important focus of Seen Along the Trail. I am also looking for ways to be more invitational, to make people feel more welcome so they will hopefully want to join me on my daily photowalks. Although I am not exactly sure yet how to do that, I’m looking forward to learning and improving my blog in the process.

Carolyn aka Skip

P S: If you want to know more about why I blog and how I got started, check out my “About Skip page.”

Sense of place???

Are you wondering what I mean by “sense of place?” Here’s the scoop. If you follow my blog, you know that I post a (huge) number of birds. I love photographing birds and catching them in action. Sometimes they have the most comical expressions, and honestly, their behavior can be outrageous and sometimes downright risque. However, after posting hundreds (thousands?) of birds just sitting around looking birdlike, I have decided it is time to provide my blog friends with a sense of the place where I take all these photos. I actually have 50,000 images on my hard drive, a huge preponderance of them are birds (or deer), and very few give you a clear indication of their habitat. So from now on I am going to intentionally include more pictures that will provide that “sense of place.” I hope it is a positive addition to my blog. Please let me know what you think.

This morning I was up and out early again. The morning light was wonderful, the birds were active, and I even caught a deer wandering through the tall grass. Hopefully soon I will encounter some fawns to share with you. It’s about time for them to appear. But for today, no fawns, just lots of beautiful birds and some landscape shots to give you that sense of place. Hope you like them.

That’s it for this beautiful Thursday morning walk through Chagrin River Park. Thanks for coming along. I had fun sharing this time with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

Sun’s up!

I took an early morning walk today. The sun was up but not for long, and I’ve become a convert! Why in the world have I been lazing in bed until 8 am when I could be up and out by 6:30? I don’t have much time for blogging today (I’ve already used up hours photo walking and processing pictures), but here is a potpourri of  bird portraits I captured on this beautiful (almost June) morning. I hope you like them (Remember that you can click on any picture to scroll through the gallery).

And here are a few other images to provide a sense of place and to show that sometimes I photograph things that aren’t birds! (Note: The picture of the river was taken on another day this week, so the light is a little different).

Comments are great!
I would love to hear from you if you have time.

Carolyn aka Skip

A muggy morning walk

Gulliver was my photo assistant again this morning. We didn’t go far, just a little less than a mile, but we did see some birds of interest…to me at least. I don’t think Gulliver was particularly interested in the birds, although he did show a little interest in the water fountain installed just for all the dogs that walk in the park. As long as the dog has a person on the other end of his leash who will turn on the water, a cool drink of water is available. That made Gulliver a happy dog.

Gulliver before our muggy morning walk

Gulliver before our muggy morning walk

Here are a few photos I took along the trail today. The pictures aren’t great, but at least they provide a record of what I saw on this May morning (Click a picture to see the larger version):

That’s it for today. Not many birds, but a good opportunity to practice with my camera, and, once I got back to my computer, more practice on my “digital darkroom” skills. There’s plenty to learn there.

Thanks for visiting.
Comments are always welcome. I love hearing from blog friends.

Skip aka Carolyn

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

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