Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘nature’ category

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

A determined squirrel!

As I watched through the kitchen window on a recent winter morning, this little squirrel appeared on the scene:

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She discovered a big cake of bird seed on the ground, apparently knocked down by one of the deer that make regular overnight visits to our back yard bird buffet. Being a curious little squirrel…

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…and apparently a hungry one, she began to investigate the seed block from all angles to see if there was a way she could get at the goodies inside the wire cage. It was no small challenge for a young squirrel, but she had something going for her: determination.

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Climbing on top of the wire cage to survey the situation, she began her battle with the wire cage by putting her teeth to work. Unfortunately, although she has sharp little teeth, she still couldn’t reach the seed cake and she couldn’t bite through the wire. Hmmmm…what could she do next?

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She took a little break and thought through the situation. Realizing that she couldn’t reach the good stuff inside the cage while sitting on top of it, she jumped to the ground and renewed the attack from a different angle. Working with her teeth and paws together, she discovered that she could actually lift the cage and shove it around. Her spirits lifted, she carried on.  For an hour or more, she persevered, circling the cage, lifting it up, flipping it over, and pushing it around. I was beginning to admire her persistence and even considered going outside to lend a hand, when finally the lid to the cage popped open and she had access! NOW she could nibble on the end of the seed cake, but there wasn’t enough room for her to squeeze into the cage and enjoy a full meal. She knew she had to somehow get the cake out of the cage. So she rejoined the battle! More circling, flipping, and pushing ensued, and now the teeth and paws really got a workout. Here are some closeups of the action:

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Eventually I ran out of time for documenting the action, but I’m here to report that by the end of the afternoon  the seed cake had been devoured. Determination and perseverance had paid off, and a  small squirrel had won the day! This morning the empty cage lay on the ground with a small squirrel standing nearby, probably wondering how long it was going to be before I put a new seed cake in the cage.

The End!

Skip aka  Carolyn

Inside looking out!

I love walking and don’t usually mind cold weather; however, for the past week, I have felt absolutely no inclination to hit the trail. Cold and snow, followed by rain, sleet, and slush, and then  a slippery slide to more low temps and frozen trails have dampened my enthusiasm. Even tottering out to refill the bird feeders has been a major challenge. We saw one sunny day this week, but because of other commitments that day, I didn’t have time for a walk in the park. As a result, most of my pictures have been taken through the kitchen window. Squirrels, birds, and deer have visited the back yard buffet, but not in great numbers. Maybe they have decided to hibernate, and, truthfully, I really think they might have a good idea! However, I still take pictures every day, so just to prove that my camera is still getting a workout even if I’m not, here are a few back yard visitors and one surprise…

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and for a change of pace,

here is a rose, rich in color, and speaking very hopefully of summer.

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Unfortunately, here on the south shore of Lake Erie,

we are still weeks away from even a faint hint of spring.

The rose, an early birthday gift from a friend, was a real spirit-lifter.

Carolyn aka Skip

On the trail today…

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… I enjoyed a snowy (and very cold) walk. We were blessed with 8-10 inches of snow on Sunday and Monday. Although some people probably wouldn’t consider that a blessing, it definitely makes photography more interesting. As challenging as it was to walk the snow-covered trails in the park, I couldn’t resist getting out to take some pictures. I finished my walk with a potpourri of pictures: landscapes, animals (mostly birds), and a few people who just came to the park to have fun in the snow.

Let’s start with the landscapes…

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Fence rail

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And now for a few birds & a dog that always makes me smile…

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Not just one or two, but three pictures of a white-throated sparrow who was willing to pose…and that’s a pretty rare occasion because they usually prefer to hide behind twigs and branches when I point the camera in their direction…2015_02_03_Chagrin River Park_021

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And a couple of titmice that were puzzled by the snow…

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…but still remembered to grab a big seed.

And I mustn’t forget the dog named Gilligan, called Gigs for short, who always makes me smile. Don’t be fooled by his woebegone expression. According to his person, he was looking forward to this walk in the park and wasn’t about to be left at home, even though the snow was almost deeper in places than Gigs was tall. Oh, and in case you are wondering, that scarf (or snood) around his head is to keep his long basset ears from dragging in the snow and getting frostbite.

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And finally, some people!

Although there weren’t many people in the park because the temps were way-below-freezing,

I did spot a few…

All bundled up and heading for the hill

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We’ve made it to the end of the trail.

Time to head home for a warm cup of delicious, rich, choclately cocoa!

Thanks for joining me for my walk in the park today.

See you soon.

Skip aka Carolyn

Not everything was peaceful along the trail today.

This wasn’t a sunny morning, more on the cloudy side, but it wasn’t especially cold either. All-in-all, a good morning for a photo walk! The first bird to pose for my camera was the RBW (red-bellied woodpecker). She had discovered a few seeds on the top of the fence post and was enjoying a peaceful morning snack.

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It didn’t last long, however.

Her peace was soon shattered with the arrival of a northern cardinal…

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and life along the trail suddenly got a little dicey!

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The RBW didn’t want to give up her position on the post, but the situation quickly worsened with the arrival of yet another cardinal… a male, and obviously a more aggressive type. Wings flapping, he landed on the post, right in the face of the RBW and directly on top of the coveted cache of bird seed.

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But then, to the surprise of the combatants,

a little white-throated sparrow landed nearby,

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Without wasting a moment,

the RBW returned to her cache of seeds

as the cardinal temporarily hovered overhead, and finally flew away

(to return at a later time no doubt, because a cardinal will never give up).

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You might think the action settled down at that point, with the little sparrow in possession of the fence rail (although not the top of the post with its cache of seeds)…

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but you would be wrong because suddenly a blue jay,

with his eye on the top of the post and that cache of seeds,

appeared on the scene.

Blue jays don’t miss much!

They always seem to know from moment to moment

exactly what’s going on in their territory, and, when an opportunity knocks…

they’re on it!

So the RBW, despite valiantly defending her post…

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was summarily deposed!

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The cardinal returned briefly to reassess the situation.

(Didn’t I warn you he would),

but as my time in the park was over, I had to head for home

where laundry and other chores were waiting.

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That’s what I saw along the trail today.

I hope you enjoyed your vicarious visit to Chagrin River Park.

See you again soon.

The End of the Trail

Beyond the fence pictured below is a large meadow, a habitat for a variety of fascinating birds; however, walkers are not permitted in that area, so, officially, the fence marks the end of the trail. 

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Overhanging one end of the fence rail is a tree, a gathering place for cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers, and many other birds that fly into the tree and, from the tree, down to the fence post where they compete to see who gets to perch on the post, making this a wonderful spot to observe the antics of the birds and a great place to hang out with my camera, looking for photo ops.

HERE ARE A FEW PHOTOS I CAPTURED TODAY.

A red-bellied woodpecker

flew down from the tree to see if there were any seeds

stuck in the crevices of the fence post.

Sunflower seeds, peanut chips, safflower seeds, she wouldn’t be picky.

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INCOMING!

 It looks like there are no tasty tidbits, but, nevertheless, Mrs. Cardinal decides to challenge the red-bellied woodpecker for the top spot on the fence post. She (the RBW) doesn’t seem to be aware that company is coming.

UH-OH!

Suddenly she realizes she has competition for the top spot,

and, from the look on her face, she isn’t too pleased to have company.

An uninvited intruder

TIME TO VAMOOSE!

The cardinal gets the message and decides

that It’s time to make a quick getaway.

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But before long she returns, this time bringing company.

So now, the woodpecker has two challengers for the top spot:

Mr. and Mrs. Northern Cardinal.

The RBW doesn’t give up easily and neither do the cardinals, but …

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…in short order a new bird,

 the bossy blue jay, enters the picture,

and he means business.

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NOBODY MESSES WITH THE BLUE JAY!

The jay is the undisputed boss of the birds,

 unless, of course, a hawk or some other large bird of prey swoops in

and takes up his post in a tall tree.

If that should happen,

the blue jay will sound a raucous alarm,

and the small birds will go suddenly silent and disappear from sight

(Thankfully that didn’t happen today!)

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So that’s what I saw along the trail in Chagrin River Park today.

Thanks for joining me on my photo walk.

Skip aka Carolyn

Back to my blog

Blue jay on a snowy day

Many months have passed since I posted anything in this blog. I have used the intervening time to upgrade my SmugMug photo galleries, and I have continued to post a photo-a-day at Blipfoto.com. Check out those links if you want to see what I have been up to. You will see that I have been a busy photo walker…and a dedicated one. I simply didn’t have enough time to keep up with everything photographic, but January seems like a good month to revisit old haunts and renew acquaintances, so I decided to put a toe in the (admittedly frozen) water and give it a go. If it goes well, I will commit to being a more faithful blogger. Here are several more pictures from yesterday’s photo walk. If you are here, looking at them, thank you. I’m glad for the company.

Red-bellied woodpecker

Red-bellied woodpecker

Black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Northern cardinal (male)

Northern cardinal (male) and a nuthatch challenger

The RBW proud of her tasty find

The RBW proud of her tasty find

That’s my update for today. I hope you enjoyed this brief

visit to the Chagrin River Park.

Thanks for stopping by.

Skip aka Carolyn

Photo walking

Photo walking is my hobby…one that can take up many hours each day if I let it, and it is a hobby that has many advantages.

  • It motivates me to take a walk in a park five or six days each week.
  • It’s a great way to get exercise.
  • I’ve met many wonderful people by striking up a conversation and asking if I can take their picture.
  • I also get to pet other people’s dogs because that’s a great way to get the conversational ball rolling (and I love dogs).
  • It’s a wonderful way to enjoy God’s beautiful creation.
  • I’m learning how to take better pictures (although I still have a lot to learn).
  • It keeps me active and learning new things, mostly about nature and photography.

However, there are a few  disadvantages as well. The major disadvantage is the amount of time it takes every day. In addition to the daily walk (a definite advantage), there is the time it takes to…

  • download the pictures to my computer.
  • process the pictures, i.e. cropping them, and all the rest.
  • upload the keepers to this blog and to Flickr, Facebook, Blipfoto, and SmugMug. On any given day I will probably post pictures on a least two of those sites.
  • add captions to the pictures.
  • write the descriptions needed on some of those websites.
  • write this blog!

So there you have it! Numerically speaking, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (but not by much), and it is a huge time-consumer. So will I give it up and go back to reading mystery books in my free time? Nope, nada, never, absolutely NOT! As long as I can get out of bed in the morning and go for that daily walk, I will keep on walking. It gives me so much JOY!

 

On today’s walk I captured two bird pictures that I cannot identify with any confidence. I think the first one is a juvenile American robin.

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The second one may be a song sparrow, but it is missing the dark spot in the middle of its breast. Maybe it is a juvenile too.

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What do you think, fellow bloggers? If you have a definitive ID for either of these two beauties, please leave a comment. I had a great walk in the park this morning and made it home (before the crackles and booms began) with several keepers besides these two. I posted all of them here in my SmugMug gallery. I hope you have time to take a look.

That’s it for today. I’ve run out of time (She says with a smile on her face).

Back yard bonanza!

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Intending to take a photo walk in the park this morning, I discovered I didn’t have to leave home. I simply opened the kitchen window, stuck the lens of my Nikon through the opening, and snapped away. I never made it to the park, but I got lots of great pictures because some colorful migratory warblers flew in for a pit stop at our Bird Bistro. Click on the grosbeak to bring up the gallery where you can see our visitors. It was fun and photography right in my own back yard. No field trip required!

Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Finally… REAL SPRING!

In the past few days we’ve gone from winter jacket weather to shorts and sunglasses. After waiting for an interminably long time, it seems that spring has finally arrived. Three cheers for warm, sunny, blue-sky weather. The Baltimore orioles (the birds, not the baseball team) are my most thrilling sightings this week, but there have been others. Click on the picture if you would like to see my gallery of spring photos.

Thanks for visiting today.
Carolyn aka Skip