Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘spring’ category

Is it spring yet?

That’s the question everyone is asking these days. Even today, although it seemed a little milder and I didn’t wear my winter jacket for our trip to the Cleveland Aquarium, the temperature barely inched above 40 degrees. In the afternoon I took a photowalk in the park. For that I wore my winter jacket and hat, and I wasn’t any too warm. Here are my favorite photos from the walk. I hope you like them.

Carolyn aka Skip

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Nature walk

I took a little nature walk with my friend Marti after supper. and our timing was great for getting some good light and several critters in North Chagrin Reservation. Walking across the boardwalk through the marsh, we stopped when someone said, “Did you see that frog?” And there it was, sitting on a lily pad.

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We also saw a lazy little gosling sitting beside the marsh while Mama, Papa, and the siblings took an evening swim.

We searched for a heron that we heard was standing close to the shore…”Closer than we’ve seen it in a while,” according to two walkers, but it had vanished. Camera shy, maybe. The last animal we saw was a snake. We would have missed it without the help of a little girl who first asked us where it was, then discovered it herself and called us over to see it. It was pretty big, but hopefully harmless. A black rat snake maybe? It was happily napping and didn’t pay any attention to the excitement it was causing among the walkers.

That’s all the animals that posed for photo opps on this evening’s walk. I did photograph a wildflower, a definite contrast to the snake and frog, but we never saw the heron!

That’s it for tonight from the north coast of Ohio. Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Carolyn aka Skip

A glorious spring morning

Had I ordered today’s weather, the day would have dawned just as it did. It was one of those rare spring mornings when just about everything is perfect. I headed to the park for a short walk, but ended up staying much longer than I meant to. Mondays are great! Most of the weekend warriors return to work. The kids go back to school, and I pretty much have the park to myself. Not entirely, you understand, but enough to leave me with the illusion that the whole place belongs to me and the happy knowledge that retirement is great.

I went in search of a Baltimore oriole and a rose-breasted grosbeak. The orioles were in seclusion, but I spotted a grosbeak…just not close enough to snap a picture. Another day! I was surprised to discover a turtle, smack in the middle of the intersection of two trails. Unfortunately for him, he was headed away from the bog and there was no water in the direction he was going, so after taking his picture, I lifted him from the trail and set him down in the grass much closer to the bog. Then I hung around for a while, and sure enough, he got turned around in the right direction. I didn’t know turtles could move so fast!

It was time to go home, and I hadn’t gotten pictures of many birds, but that’s okay with me. Instead I captured photos of a chipmunk, a turtle, a mama mallard and her little one, an adorable Border terrier, and one bird…the ever-present cardinal that follows me from tree to tree to tree. I never know what I will find in the park, and the anticipation is part of the fun. Enjoy the slide show:

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By the time I got home, it was time for lunch, followed by an afternoon of catching up on my blog posts. Last week was so busy, I am way behind. Today I am intent on catching up, which means posting several days worth of photos in one afternoon. Sorry about doing that! I will try to keep on top of things in the future.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

Migratory birds and more

Hopefully this will be the first of several posts with pictures of migratory birds, baby animals, and all the wonders of spring. We are blessed with a glorious creation to enjoy, and here in Ohio, spring has been both unusual and special. Here are a few photos for a start. Click on any picture to bring up a slide show that you can click through at your own speed.

I photographed the baby foxes yesterday in the backyard of a friend who lives in the country. The covered bridge is one of numerous covered bridges in Ashtabula County, just east of us in Ohio. This one is the Harpersfield bridge. I took a first picture from closer in, showing only the bridge, and then spotted these little blue flowers, backed off, and took a second shot to include them. I like it better than the first one. The other photos were taken in my neighborhood park.

That’s it for today from the south shore of Lake Erie. Thanks for stopping by!

Carolyn aka Skip

Spring photography experiments

The title of today’s post is somewhat misleading. Yes, it is spring, and I am engaged in some experiments with my camera, but the two are only tangentially related. Our spring has been an unusually early one, a bit of a treat for us nature photographers. The experiments came about as a result of my dissatisfaction with my recent photoshoot results. I’ve been puzzled about the quality of the straight-out-of-the-camera photos, so I decided to play around a bit with my camera settings. Nikon has a feature called “My Menu.” It allows the photographer to change the camera settings and create a personalized menu using the new settings. Yesterday I started playing around with the setting, and the out-of-camera results made me much happier. Today I made some more changes, went out shooting, and had even more fun. A light rain was falling during most of my walk, the quality of the light was pretty dull, in sharp contrast to the light on my walk yesterday evening, and the temperature was in the low forties! Here are a few of the photos from this morning’s walk:

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And here is”The techy stuff”…

  • Image quality: RAW
  • Active D-Lighting: Low
  • Color space: sRGB
  • White balance: 4550 K
  • ISO: 500
  • Exposure compensation: -0.7 (for most pictures)

That’s all for today. It’s Tuesday, my babysitting evening, and I have a lot to accomplish before I pick up my young charge at her daycare for a full and fun evening with her and her sister. Thanks for visiting. I hope you will come back for another visit soon.

 

What is it about birds?

My favorite subjects for photography are people, dogs, landscapes, but most of all birds. Birds are a big attraction for me. Observing their behaviors and the expressions on their faces brings me much joy! It can be below freezing according to the thermometer, as it was today, but just give me a woodpecker to watch (or any bird for that matter), and I forget all about the frozen feeling of my fingers and toes. Here is a slide show of the birds I met in the park today.

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I ended my walk standing under the big trees by the bog, watching the antics of the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Look closely at his picture and you can see the little line of sap wells he has drilled in the tree trunk. Apparently these wells are beneficial to all sorts of critters, including hummingbirds! Birds are fascinating! After the sapsucker vanished from the scene, I headed home for a cup of hot cocoa. If you’ve been hanging out in the bog with me today, maybe you should have one too. See you again soon.

~Carolyn aka Skip

PS If you want to know a little more about the sapsucker, check out his close up on my other blog.

Oh happy day!

It may be winter by the calendar, but spring is here and summer is on the way. That’s according to the thermometer and the apparel I see in the park. I wore a light jacket this morning but had to take it off and sling it over the strap of my camera bag long before I finished my walk. The windows are open and the house is airing out, but I’m still expecting the other shoe to drop…in the form of a snow storm. That would be much more typical weather for spring in Ohio, but I’m loving this atypical early spring. Talk about March going out like a lamb. It looks very much as if it will. In the park, the birds are chirping and the tree frogs are making a racket in the bog. It’s unbelievable! Here are a few birds that I saw this morning:

A handsome, but shy, chickadee

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A cardinal willing to pose. After stuffing his beak with peanuts, he walked to the edge of the stump and stared at me and my camera…

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And a titmouse that refused to hold still. He dashed in, grabbed peanuts, and zoomed away before I could quite click the shutter…You can tell by the little bit of motion blur.

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That’s the scene on the south shore of Lake Erie today. The prediction for the week ahead is more of the same kind of weather…a happy day for a photo walker! Thanks for stopping by!

~Carolyn aka Skip (the happy photo walker)

Spring??? Well, maybe!

Yesterday spring had sprung in our neighborhood, but of course that was just a foretaste of the real thing. According to the calendar, it is still winter. Today the weather was something between the two, cooler than yesterday, but not cold. It was overcast for most of the day, but the sun managed to show up briefly. Unfortunately it didn’t last. During my hour in the park, the sky was spitting raindrops, but the downpour held off, and I managed to capture a few pictures of the birds. My favorite was this woodpecker who really got serious about picking out his peanut…

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…and came up with his beak full. I could swear he was smiling. What do you think?

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Another happy note, I spotted my first Eastern towhee for the season. I posted his picture here. It’s not the greatest, so I am blaming the poor light and late hour of the afternoon. I’ll try to do better the next time I see a towhee. They are such striking birds, or at least the males are. The female, with tan where the male has black feathers, is not as sharp looking, but it’s still a pleasure to see one more sign of spring.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
~Carolyn aka Skip