Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘woodpeckers’ category

Red-bellied surprise!

two red-bellied woodpeckers

Red-bellied woodpecker times two!

The red-bellied woodpecker is one of my favorite birds, which makes this photo doubly pleasing to me. Seeing a RBW is not uncommon in our neighborhood park where there are lots of old trees and a bog nearby; however, until today I had never seen two of them sitting on the same tree stump. I am guessing that the one in the foreground is a female because it has a grey cap, but I am not certain. At any rate, this was a red-bellied day! Here are a few other birds from today’s walk. Click on any picture to see it in large.

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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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

Bird watching

My photo walk this morning turned out to be a bird walk. All the photo opps that presented themselves were birds, and they were real “posers”, as in posing for the camera. It was a great morning for a walk: some filtered sunshine, no wind, and relatively mild temperatures for February….somewhere approaching 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good thing I took my walk early, however, because, by mid-afternoon when I went grocery shopping, the wind had picked up and the sun was AWOL. So let’s take a little bird walk, shall we? You won’t even need your coat or binoculars. Just enjoy the beauty of our feathered friends.

The blue jay, usually camera shy, posed long enough for me to capture two good pictures:


The black-capped chickadee is never camera shy. Put down a few peanuts, and he zips right into camera range.

Don’t you wonder how those spindly little legs can hold him up?

And my favorite for the day: the downy woodpecker. His antics are comical to watch as he lands on the bench and waddles (Truly, he waddles) down the back of the bench until he reaches the peanuts. Here he paused in mid-waddle long enough for me to snap off a few shots. This one was the best of the bunch.

Woodpeckers are much more adept at flying and drilling holes in trees than they are at walking, but they get where they want to go, and this little fellow got his peanuts.

That’s the end of the bird walk for today. I saw more, but these were the pick of the lot. I hope you enjoyed them. If you’re wondering where the deer are today, I was wondering too. Yesterday they were all over the place. Today I didn’t see a single deer. You just never know what you might encounter on a walk in the woods.

Thanks for visiting the south shore of Lake Erie today. See you soon.
~Carolyn aka Skip

The challenge begins


My first photo opportunity for today came when I arrived at the park and walked over to the pedestrian bridge to see if there was any action on the river. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that the fisherman standing right beneath the bridge was wearing a bright red hat. How did he know I needed a little color on this very dull day? Serendipity! I’ll share a few more photos at the end of this post, but first I want to pick up the threads of the story I began yesterday…so this will be photographic challenge, part II. If you are not interested in reading about how I am getting control of my photo collection, just skip down to the pictures at the end of the post. Go ahead; I won’t mind if you do. I’m really only writing about it because it’s part of the process for me and maybe one or two readers out there might find it helpful. If that’s not you, and you could care less, just stop reading now and move on to the pictures. I won’t be offended…honest!

To recap, my challenge involves…

    1.Purging my vast collecting so that what’s left on my computer is the stuff that really matters to me and/or the stuff that I consider portfolio quality.
    2.Getting a grip on organization, i.e. collections and keywords
    3.Setting a higher standard going forward

A simple list, but a massive task. Purging my thousands of worthless photo files had to be tackled, and it became (almost) a pleasure when my husband bought me a new iMac for Christmas and my daughter Becky, her husband, and our two oldest grandchildren gifted me with Lightroom 3. Downloading LR was easy; learning how to use it was fairly challenging, but definitely a lot of fun. I could not have made a dent in the purging process without these two gifts because my computer, nine years old with an outdated operating (windows XP) was incredibly slow and overflowing with picture files with little semblance of organization. To use an old expression, it was running as slow as molasses in January. I should have tackled the task before I lost control…at least a year or so ago. Procrastination doesn’t paint a pretty picture!

So far, I have culled my files from 2010 and 2011, deleting pictures I should never have kept in the first place (and, in many instances, should never have taken). That was step one in the right direction. I have also organized them in what Lightroom calls “collections” (Other programs might call them albums or galleries)…and that’s step two. The next thing to tackle, step three, is keywords, something I didn’t appreciate until I began this process, but I’m loving them now. Keeping track of my pictures has been transformed from impossible to possible, all because of collections and keywords.

That’s it for tonight. I am beginning to ramble, so it’s time to say goodnight from my corner of Ohio. In a future post, I will share some thoughts on how I plan to set higher standards going forward, including switching the image quality setting on my camera from jpeg to raw. In the meantime, here are a few more pictures taken on today’s photowalk.


Sunday scenery

The sights I saw in our neighborhood park on a Sunday afternoon…

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Sunshine and a brief glimpse of blue skies greeted me this morning, but they didn’t last long. By the time I made it to the park, the sun was completely hidden by grey, cloudy skies. The wind blew, the leaves danced and whirled through the air, but it didn’t rain and it wasn’t cold. In fact, the current temperature at 12:30am is 64 degrees Fahrenheit. This has been a very unusual November so far, but I’m not complaining! Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today. Come back soon!

A goal achieved

The wind is whooshing and whistling through the trees in our backyard tonight. It makes me a little nervous because the trees are so tall, but it makes Gulliver, our springer spaniel, more than a little nervous! He usually sleeps downstairs in his special corner, but right now, he is snoozing on my bed. This change of weather arrived earlier today with rain showers and a light breeze, and it has gone downhill since then.

After breakfast I drove out to the Holden Arboretum for a hike, but didn’t get far down the trail before I heard the pitter-patter of raindrops in the trees overhead. Nor did I get many pictures. When the raindrops began to accumulate on my Nikon, I decided it was time to retreat to my car and head for home. However, I did achieve one goal. I had set out to capture my first picture of a black squirrel, and I succeeded.

According to Wikipedia, the city of Kent (Ohio), which is about 40 miles south of us,

…developed a significant black squirrel population after 10 were legally imported from Canada in February 1961 by biologist Ralph W. Dexter to study whether they would upset the ecosystem on Northeast Ohio.

We don’t have them in our neighborhood, but since it has taken those squirrels 50 years or so to migrate 30 miles from Kent to the Holden Arboretum, I’m guessing we have another five years or more before they are climbing those tall trees in our backyard. The photograph I took today isn’t great. The rain and dull light didn’t make good conditions for photography, nor was the squirrel cooperative. I’ll try for a better picture another day, but here’s the one I snapped this morning…

Black squirrel

The only other picture I have to share today is this downy woodpecker…

Downy woodpecker


I was hanging around the feeding station with the chickadees, woodpeckers, and one little chipmunk because that’s where I spotted the black squirrel. When this downy flew over to the feeder, I was amused by his inquisitive expression. I imagined him saying, “Time to fill this feeder, guys. It’s getting kind of low on my favorite sunflower seeds” Later, looking at his picture on my computer screen, I was impressed by those claws and how adept he was at using them to get a grip on the feeder. He looks like he means business. I’m thinking the person in charge of filling the feeders better get on the ball.

It’s getting late, so that’s it for now. Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today, and thanks to everyone who visited yesterday, clicked on the “like” button or left a comment. A special welcome to my new subscribers. I was amazed and delighted to discover that I had been “Freshly Pressed.”