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A surprise visitor

I glanced out the window and was surprised to see this northern flicker sitting on the grass by my patio. He seemed to be picking up insects, and he kept it up for at least five minutes. This is the first time I can recall a flicker visiting our backyard bird buffet, so I was delighted to catch him with my camera. I have seen them on the trees in the park, but never in my backyard. It was a rainy day, one that was going to keep me indoors, so what a gift to be able to capture his picture, just by opening the window and leaning out a little. These are the best of the 10 or 11 shots I took before he flew away (The red in the lower right corner is the leg of the patio chair). (Click on a picture to enlarge the gallery.)

That’s it for today’s post, which involved a glance out the window rather than a walk “along the trail.”

Thanks for stopping by.
Carolyn aka Skip

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Too much to do!

Too much to do and only a little time to do it! Haven’t we all said that at one time or another? Today was a case in point. I’m way behind on just about anything you can name: computer files to organize; letters to write; housekeeping chores to attend to; loads of photos to process and post; laundry to catch up on; closets to organize; and packing to do for our weekend at Chautauqua. You get the picture! I didn’t know which task to tackle first, so I took the line of least resistance, sat down at my desk, and worked on the computer files…until about 4 pm. At that point, I picked up my camera and headed out to the Arboretum, and I’m glad I did. Come along on my August afternoon photowalk and you’ll see why. Just click on the first photo and scroll though the gallery. I hope you enjoy the beauty of this almost-autumn-afternoon.

That’s it for today’s photowalk. I hope you enjoyed the scenery along the trail, but now it’s way past my bedtime. Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late for a very important date”…with my pillow!

Goodnight all!
Carolyn aka Skip

An unplanned walk

A walk in the Holden Arboretum wasn’t part of my plan this morning, but when Lisa and I finished our meeting, she suggested a walk in the Arboretum before we went to lunch, and I definitely wasn’t going to say no. We both love the Arboretum, and who could resist an opportunity like that on a beautiful day like this?

Today will probably go down as the first time I’ve gone photowalking without my camera! Nevertheless, I did get a few shots with my phone, and I’m posting them here as a reminder of a good meeting, a great lunch, and a wonderful walk in the butterfly garden. My phone doesn’t take good pictures, but the memories are great, even if the pictures aren’t (Click on a picture if you want to scroll through the gallery).

That’s it for today’s unplanned blog post!
I hope you enjoyed the short walk as much as I did.

Carolyn aka Skip

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Cleveland, Ohio: A trail walk at the zoo

Do you enjoy zoos? If so, Cleveland has an excellent zoo for you to visit. Donna and Jack, our friends from Virginia professed to enjoy zoos, so that’s where we headed for this short tour. If you love animals, come along as we take a trail walk through the zoo. For some reason, the weather always seems to turn very hot when we schedule a zoo visit, and this day was no exception. The morning was cool, but by mid-afternoon, the temperature was approaching 90 degrees. Hot? Yes, so I hope you packed your water bottle along with your camera because the zoo is hilly, and we’re in for a bit of a hike!

NOTE: Because we saw so many interesting animals, I am going to divide them into three galleries: the outside critters, those that live in the Rainforest, and a surprise at the end (Be sure to click on a picture in each gallery to scroll through the larger versions).

The outside animals

There are many thoughtfully designed outside habitats at the zoo, where you can see lions and tigers and bears, but today the lions were sleeping, and there were no giraffes (oh my)! Donna and I felt bad about that!

Now off to the RAINFOREST!

This special section of the zoo can be found right outside the main entrance. You will recognize it by the big dome that covers the entire area and helps to control the habitat. Purchase your ticket at the zoo gate, and then just show it to the attendant when you enter the rainforest.

And finally, the surprise.

Before we leave the zoo, let’s take a few minutes to say hello to the orangutan family. We always make a point of spending some time with them while we visit the zoo, and this time they had a surprise for us: a baby! Take a look at this little family. Do they remind you of anyone you know?

Well, friends, that’s it for this visit to the zoo. In retrospect, it wasn’t really short, and I can think of many more pictures I should have included. I guess we will have to make a return visit. The next time, we will wait until fall when the temperature is cooler, and maybe the giraffes will come out to say hello.

Thanks for walking the zoo trail with me today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Lily Pond

If you took a photowalk with me today…

…you could have given me a break by carrying my monopod part of the time. Just kidding really, but I wouldn’t have turned you down if you had offered because carrying it is a new discipline for me…  and discipline is possibly the best way to describe it because I’m not yet accustomed to carrying (or using) this new piece of equipment. Put simply, it doesn’t feel natural yet. I will have to discipline myself to use it regularly.

Would I fall in love with this new addition to my photography kit?I bought this latest addition to my camera kit a couple of months (or so) ago, but then had to order a special plate to screw into the base of the camera to mount (wrong word maybe) both my camera strap and my monopod at the same time. It took 6-8 weeks, but the plate ($21 from Dodd Camera store) finally arrived. So off I went, out the door of Dodd Camera and directly to Holden Arboretum to give it a tryout. Was I going to fall in love with it? Umm, I had my doubts because it is a bit awkward to handle. However, after walking through the butterfly garden, down the trail to Blueberry Pond and returning by way of Lotus Pond, I could see at least three advantages:

  1. It steadied my camera (and me too, and that was a primary reason for investing in it.
  2. It helped me frame my pictures. I don’t know how, but it just felt better.
  3. It made me feel like a “real” photographer, not professional of course, but it made me consider each picture more seriously, if you know what I mean.

Conclusion: For the first time out, the “stick” and I were on pretty good terms. Although I’m not feeling the love yet, I’m planning to keep it! Now take a look at some of the sights you would have seen in the Arboretum today. What do you think…did the monopod do a good job?

Thanks for walking the trail with me today (even if you didn’t carry the monopod).

Carolyn aka Skip

My photo of the week

Purple flower and a weathered bench

Purple flower and a weathered bench

Walking along the trail in the arboretum for the first time in months, I came upon this weathered bench. I thought about sitting down to enjoy the view, but when I noticed the pretty purple flower, growing up from behind the bench, I decided instead to take a picture. I have no idea what the flower is, but I loved the color, its delicate lace-like effect, and the contrast with the lichens on the weathered bench.

If anyone can identify the flower, please let me know in the comments. This is my first post on Clare and Dean’s Photo of the Week weekly feature. Click here to see what they posted from New South Wales this week.

Thanks for checking out my photo of the week.
Carolyn aka Skip

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Bobolinks, Savannah sparrows, Friday Faces, and more!

Last week, two friends, one a bird watcher and the other a photographer, suggested that I should visit a park in a neighboring county where there is an over-abundance of bobolinks (if such a thing is possible). Because bobolinks are scarce non-existent in my local park, and I trust both of these women to give good advice, I took off yesterday in search of the bobolinks. I found them without any trouble. All I did was park the car, climb out,  head up the grassy hillside pictured above, and there they were. My faith in the advice of my friends had not been misplaced. Take a look at the gallery:


The grass at the bottom of the hill has been mowed, but farther up the hillside, the grass on both sides of the path I was following was knee high and taller. And that’s where the birds were. Some were nesting down in the grass and flew out as I passed by. Others circled and swooped overhead, landing on the tall stalks of grass. I mentally coaxed the bobolinks to land on the stalks of grass that were right in front of me, closer to the trail. Unfortunately, the stalks they chose were usually beyond the reach of my lens, so I found myself mentally coaxing them to land on stalks a bit closer to the path. “How about that stalk there, the one right in front of me?” Hoping they would “hear” me and heed my request, I stood still and silently stared at the stalk of grass. Of course they never heard and certainly didn’t heed, so most of my pictures are heavily cropped. Although I came home with pictures that I deem “good enough,” I also came home with a few additions to my camera kit “wish list,” most notably a longer, faster, sharper lens!

Nevertheless, it was a great experience. Maybe I’ll rent a bigger lens and return someday. That might be a lot of fun. As I followed a winding path downhill to my car, I was thankful for friends who are willing to share information about the best places for birding. In case you’re wondering why I mentioned Friday Faces in the title of this post, it’s because I wasn’t the only photographer on the hillside yesterday. Craig was there also with his camera (that incidentally had a longer lens than mine). Because it was Friday, and I always try to add a photo of a stranger to my Friday Faces gallery, I asked if he would mind posing for a photo opp. However I’ve been a little wordy tonight, and this post is already long enough. I’m going to stop now and make a separate post for Friday Faces here where you can see Craig and read about his photo opp.

Thanks for joining me on this new trail today. It’s good to share my discovery with you.

Purple flower and a weathered bench

On a sunny Thursday morning…

…I went for a photowalk in the Holden Arboretum, one of my favorite places to spend time with (or without) my camera. My chosen destination was the butterfly garden, but once there, I saw very few  butterflies. There was a hummingbird flitting around in the colorful flowers, but he wouldn’t sit for a photo opp, if you can imagine that! However, there were plenty of wonderful things to see and photograph, so despite the scarcity of butterflies, I still came home with some special images to present the beauty of the Arboretum (Remember to click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).

I’m glad you joined me for my sunny walk in the Arboretum today. It makes me feel good to be able to share the beauty with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

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.

UPDATE ON THE VIREO

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

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