Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘wildlife’ category

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

No doubt about it…

Spring has arrived! I wouldn’t be silly enough to believe we won’t have any more cold, wet weather, but I’ve seen the signs, and I am announcing the arrival of spring! Today, on my walk in the park, I spotted a golden-crowned kinglet and a yellow-bellied sapsucker for the first time, and there were lots of people enjoying some sunshine and warmer temperatures. Yay for spring! We’ve waited a long time for it to arrive. Here are my favorite pictures from today:

Hope you enjoyed them!
Carolyn aka Skip

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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The rear of a deer

Several whitetail deer crossed the trail in front of me. As I watched, this one leaped off the trail and into the woods. Their grace and beauty make these animals a joy to watch. A very large herd of whitetails lives in our neighborhood park, which is fine so long as they stay in the park. However, they don’t! Every night, and sometimes during the day, they migrate from the park into the surrounding neighborhoods. There they feast on flowers, bulbs, flowering trees, and, under cover of darkness, the seed I put in our bird feeders for the chickadees, nuthatches, and other songbirds. The deer are also a hazard on the highways. It’s too bad they can’t comprehend boundaries. On the other hand, it’s too bad that people have taken over so much of their habitat with housing subdivisions, shopping malls, six-lane highways and the like.It’s an ongoing problem with no good solution.

That’s all for tonight!
See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

An uninvited dinner guest

I have been playing around with creating diptychs and other collages, so today, after I “developed” my pictures in Lightroom, I chose three related images that I think tell a story. Can you follow the storyline? Hint: Start in the upper left corner.

Here’s the sequence:

    Sparrow was ready to tuck into his favorite meal: black oil sunflower seeds.
    The uninvited guest, a tufted titmouse, flew in, thinking the sparrow should share, but the sparrow told him to clear out pronto!
    The titmouse knew when he wasn’t welcome, so he flew away.

I just came across this app for creating collages recently, and it has been a lot of fun. Hope you enjoyed “reading” the story as much as I enjoyed “creating” it.

That’s it for today!
Carolyn aka Skip

Dancing Duck

Wondering what was sitting on top of the duck nest in the middle of the bog, I walked a little closer, and this is what I saw, a lady mallard. At first she just seemed to be taking a siesta, but as I watched, she stirred, stood up, stretched, and performed a little dance routine. From the expression on her face, she must have been pretty satisfied with herself! Here’s a little slideshow of Momma Mallard in action:

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Thanks for stopping by today.
Carolyn aka Skip

Bonanza!

On my photowalk this afternoon, the first “almost sunny” afternoon we have had in a long time, I headed down the trail with some sunflower seeds in my pocket. Passing a bench, I sprinkled a handful of seeds, hoping to attract a few birds for a photo opp. Some chickadees and titmice flew in, grabbed seeds, and flew away, so I sat on the end of the bench and waited for more birds to arrive. Instead of the flutter of wings, I heard footsteps. Looking up, this is what I witnessed over the next few minutes…

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Earlier today I read some tips on this photography website explaining how to create a diptych that will tell a story. Since I had recently purchased an app called My Frames, that helps me create diptychs and collages, I thought I would give it a try. I’m fairly satisfied with the results, but I’m wondering what you think. Can you “read” the story these pictures are meant to tell? I could almost “hear” the doe thinking, “Oh, wow, sunflower seeds. I want some NOW,” as she headed for the bench and reached out with her long tongue. What do you see? Hear?

It was a fun experiment. I think I will have to upload the diptych and enter the challenge. I have never done anything like that before, but there’s always a first time. Becoming a better photographer certainly requires experimenting with new techniques, learning how to tell stories through pictures, and challenging yourself. It also makes my photowalks a lot more fun!

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

Birding with a camera

Most birdwatchers, or twitchers, as they are called in Britain, carry binoculars. I carry my camera. You can probably guess that I am not a serious birder with a long life-list and a longer list of exotic locations I’ve visited in the pursuit of elusive species. I have high regard (envy?) for the experts who can identify a bird by all its varied calls and songs or a glimpse of it on the wing. I appreciate the helpful ones who will say to me, “There’s a ______, in that tree, the one at two-o’clock in the direction you are facing.” I am not that kind of birder. I don’t have the eye or the knowledge, but I admire people who do. What a wonderful hobby it is! Solitary and, at the same time, social, because the birders I’ve met are always willing to share their discoveries with the rest of us.

I do my birding with a camera. I love to capture pictures of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, or whatever else presents itself, and I am rewarded by observing their behaviors, both social and antisocial. An hour or two with my camera in the park, wandering along the trails, usually alone, but sometimes in the company of others, feeds my soul. It is time that restores and energizes me. I believe that the Creator intends for us to get out and enjoy His (Her) creation, and for that I am ever thankful. Here are a few of my recent “captures.” I hope you enjoy them.

PS I wrote a “story” about my (failed) attempt to photograph an elusive pileated woodpecker today. You can read about it in my Blipfoto journal.

Carolyn aka Skip

Winter Wonderland

Consecutive days of snowfall have turned our park into a winter wonderland, making for some wonderful photo opportunities. The tree branches and fence rails are heavily laden with snow, and the wildlife have gone into “mooching mode.” With a deep blanket of snow covering their source of food, the animals have become conditioned to turn to humans for help. I posted more about this phenomenon here in my Blipfoto journal. Last winter we had very little snow. It was an easy winter for drivers and for the wildlife, but this week, just the second week of this winter, has been very different. Since Wednesday (four days ago), we have been blessed (depending on your point of view) by something like 15 inches of snow. It’s beautiful and makes for pretty pictures. It really is a winter wonderland. I hope you enjoy the pictures (Click on the first picture to open up the gallery).

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed the snowy walk.
Carolyn aka Skip

Can’t they get it right?

Brrrr! It was a cold morning in the park. I encountered a mother with her snowsuited toddler and felt envious of his warm winter snowssuit. It was cold and it was snowy, but they (the national weather service people), never manage to get it right. They predicted that it would snow through Friday night and all day Saturday, dropping up to a total of 6-12 inches on us and neighboring counties in northeast Ohio. Well, as you can see from the pictures that didn’t happen. It snowed on Friday and then stopped. Someone in northeast Ohio may have seen the predicted foot of snow, but it wasn’t us. I don’t mind, well, not much anyway. We did get enough to make the park look pretty, but I just wish they wouldn’t be so definite about their prognostications. Six-12 inches? No way! Oh well, the winter is still young. There’s plenty of time for snow. Below are a few of my keepers for today. Hope you like them.

Carolyn aka Skip

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