On January 1, 2020, I captured a few back yard bird pictures to start off the new decade. Happily, the first bird to pose was an Eastern bluebird, sitting proudly on top of the nesting box and then flying over for a second photo opp on the nearby shepherd’s crook.
A familiar downy woodpecker and a cheerful little titmouse also showed up for their first photo opp of the decade.
Later in the afternoon, before sitting down for our traditional pork chops, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes, we decided to start 2020 with a trail walk in Chagrin River Park. That’s where I captured the rest of our new year’s day pictures. Taking the trail that led us to the river overlook, we followed it for an easy 2.5 miles until it eventually led us back to the fire pit.
Several deer on the hillside
Bench by the river
We weren’t the only trail walkers.
About 2.5 miles after we set out, the trail led us back to the Chagrin River.
There were quite a few other trail walkers enjoying the chilly afternoon; most of them were walking dogs, but nobody was warming up around the fire. Because it was beginning to die out, Bob picked up a couple of logs and built up the fire before we headed for home. Thanks to the fresh air and exercise, we were ready for our sauerkraut and pork chops.
Happy New Year friends and fellow trail walkers.
May 2020 be a good year for you!
Hello trail walkers! In my last post, I told you that the time has come to open the closet and sort out my hats, gloves, and hand warmers if I intend to continue trail walking, now that early Autumn has morphed into chilly winter weather. Last week we experienced our first snowfall, a real one that required boots, and stayed on the ground for three days. Most of the trees have lost their leaves, and even the wildlife is feeling the pinch of winter. Although our park rangers frown on walkers doling out treats, a man I passed on the trail today told me the chickadees and titmice were following him down the trail, complaining loudly because he hadn’t brought enough seeds to share, and his pockets were empty.
A few of the pictures in this post are from Chagrin River Park, although most of them were taken in our yard.
The birds in our neighborhood were happy that I had replenished the food supply in their back yard buffet. (Click on any picture below to see a larger version)
Bluebirds like dried mealworms.
Both male and female bluebirds visited this week.
Northern cardinal at the seed cylinder.
It looks like he is protecting his mate.
And so does the red-bellied woodpecker.
Sparrow in the grass
Bluebird on top of the mealworm station.
Bluejays like perching on this feeder.
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird
This bluejay is announcing his satisfaction.
It was chilly on the trail today;
It’s time to order some handwarmers!
Autumn turned a corner this morning. From lovely, colorful, walk-in-the-arboretum weather, we suddenly transitioned to overcast, drizzly, sit-in-front-of-the-computer-processing-last week’s-pictures weather. The picture above was taken last week on the trail in Chagrin River Park, just a mile from my front door. Because of the aforementioned weather, I’m taking a pass on my trail walk today, so here are a few more pictures from last week’s walk. Not totally devoid of color, they are definitely on the downhill side of Autumn, headed toward winter.
Nevertheless, I will drag out my winter hat, gloves, boots, and hand warmers so I can continue taking trail walks. There will still be some sunny days ahead. For that matter, I don’t mind walking in the snow, although during winter, sunshine is at a premium this close to Lake Erie, where gray, overcast skies are the norm! But, whatever the weather, I need the exercise, so I will continue trail walking and capturing pictures!
In my neck of the wood, that is on the south shore of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio, October is the best month to walk the trails with my camera. This October was truly fantastic, and I was having a marvelous time, but then Halloween arrived, and October came to an abrupt end! With a flip of the page on my calendar, November sneaked in. A couple of chilly days with the wind whipping through the trees, and I was sure that my fall photo walks were over for the year. So on November 4th, with some trepidation, I headed to the Arboretum to see what I would find.
Starting down the trail near the sugar maple tree, I was anxious to see what damage the change in weather had done to the tree that just a few days ago had been ablaze with richly colored orange leaves. It was a glorious sight to see! Today the maple was leafless, totally nude, as you can see at the top of this post. That was pretty discouraging! However, I decided I would walk the trail that circles Corning Lake, and I soon discovered that although October had come to an end, there was still plenty of color and beautiful pictures to capture. Nature always has wonderful sights to share. I should have had more faith!
Here are just a few to get the new month started. I will post more next week. (Click on any picture to enlarge the photos).
The Holden Arboretum is hands-down my favorite location for celebrating the arrival of Autumn in northeast Ohio. Every year, when the page of my calendar flips over to October, I schedule my photowalks in the Arboretum to trek the trails, camera in hand, hoping to capture some special images that announce AUTUMN IS HERE! For this overview, I have limited myself to five stops along the trail, illustrated by my five favorite images (and only a few words). The pictures will tell the story.
Stop one: The Rhododendron Garden
The Rhododendron Garden, pictured above, is a very special section of the Arboretum, especially in June, when the azaleas and rhododendrons burst into bloom…a not-to-be-missed experience! However, Autumn, pictured above, is hands-down my favorite time for treading these trails, and I always make at least one stop in the Rhododendron Garden to capture a little of its magic.
Stop 2: Corning Lake Trail
On this particular October morning, the sun was shining in a deep blue sky as I followed the trail that circles Corning Lake. Along the way, I found a few unexpected treasures to capture with my camera, and the picture below shows one of them. There was no way I could have planned the flight of geese over the lake as I walk past the photographer’s blind. Pure and simple, it was a gift, and I stood in awe, gazing skyward. Fortunately, I remembered to point my camera in the right direction to freeze the moment in time, so I could share it with you.
Stop 3: Along the trail
Just a few feet farther along the trail, I took my next shot of the sky. No geese this time, just multi-colored autumn leaves. Their color and grace caught my eye:
Stop 4: Lotus Pond
Nearing the end of my morning walk, I approached Lotus Pond. Anyone who has joined me for a photo walk in the Arboretum knows that one of my favorite photo subjects is the golden willow tree on the edge of Lotus Pond. I could probably illustrate an entire blog post with pictures of this graceful willow taken from different angles, but today I paused on the far side of the pond, where I could photograph the distant willow framed by the overhanging limb of a nearby tree.
Stop 5: The sugar maple tree
Almost back to the parking lot, we passed under the branches of a tall sugar maple tree. The bench under this tree is a wonderful place to rest at any time; however, for a few days each October, it becomes a special place, a magical place, thanks to the full Autumn glory of this tree. If you have never visited the Arboretum in October, I invite you to come next year. Be sure to time your arrival when the vibrant colors are at their peak. You may find yourself returning year after year, just to experience the magic again.
That has been my experience; maybe it will be the same for you.
Thanks for joining me today!
PS: If you are interested in more Autumn Arboretum pictures, click here.
The sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky…October at its finest! I couldn’t believe my eyes! If you know me at all, you will know that I quickly packed up my camera and headed to the Arboretum for a photoshoot. A morning like this is an unexpected gift…not to be spent indoors. I started down the trail as usual to see if there were any leaves remaining on the sugar maple tree, which had already reached its prime when I was here two days ago. On that rainy Saturday morning under grey skies, the maple looked like this…
Unfortunately, since my Saturday morning visit, rainy, windy weather had rolled in and spent the weekend. And as you can see in the picture at the top of this post, the gorgeous maple had passed its prime in those few days. This morning only a few lonely leaves were left, clinging to the branches.
Nevertheless, this was a glorious morning, so after taking the picture above, I set off down the trail, anticipating more Autumn color to come around the next curve in the trail. Just to whet your appetite for an Autumn trail walk, here is a mosaic of a few more pictures I took this morning. I promise you there will be more spectacular sights like these trees, but it’s too late to post them tonight.
But I’ll be back in a day or two to share more Autumn joy!
A pair of bluebirds made my heart happy today! I haven’t seen a sign of either one in months, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him sitting on top of the nesting box this morning.
And then she joined him and together they checked out the neighborhood.
She peered into the nest, and I wondered if she would approve of what she saw inside.
Disappearing inside to take a better look around, she inspected the box while he perched on top to survey the neighborhood, maybe keeping an eye out for the marauding neighborhood cat.
She climbed inside the nest, leaving him standing watch on the rooftop.
We put up this new bluebird box six months ago, hoping a pair of bluebirds would move in and raise their young where we could enjoy their family shenanigans. Unfortunately, shortly after the new box was installed some aggressive house sparrows moved in and chased the bluebirds away.
But today the bluebirds returned for another look at the box. After Mrs. B. completed her inspection, they both flew away, so I have no idea what her decision was. For now, I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping they will return. Meanwhile, as I said, it made my heart happy to see them in our backyard today.
The blue jay landed, but didn’t hang around for long, just long enough for me to get one good shot. Then he took off, and was replaced by a woodpecker.
…who posed long enough for us to see the red feathered “cap” on top of his head. Apparently he is proud of the bright red feathers, and just wants us to know he’s the king of the backyard birds…at least for a moment or two.
That’s it for today’s backyard birding. We’ve been blessed with a long stretch of sunny weather and crisp air, but the weather made an abrupt change overnight from sunshiny days and a lovely full moon in the evening, to cool drizzly weather. Although the change was sudden (and not altogether welcome), I’m holding out hope for more of October’s bright blue weather.
‘Bye for now!
PS I almost forgot to mention that I posted some pictures from Sunday’s trail walk on my website. You can see them here. The Autumn colors were great. After the walk, we all went out for pizza. A nice ending to the weekend.
As it does every year, last week the calendar heralded the time for our “friends fall field trip”. Some years we drive around the countryside in Ashtabula County, visiting covered bridges or we be-bop around other scenic locations in Lake and Geauga Counties. This year rain was threatening, and we got a later start, but we headed out anyway and had a great time. I just didn’t take as many pictures. Actually only a few, and three of them were these mini-jack-o-lanterns I spotted at the farmer’s market where we made one of our stops. I couldn’t resist the bright colors and funny expressions on these creations.
Despite the fact that it was October, we haven’t had much in the way of crisp, cool weather, and except for the little pumpkins, we didn’t see any significant fall color. However, that didn’t keep us from enjoying the scenery and tasting the food at a popular neighborhood restaurant and a couple of farmer’s markets. At one market, this bee-control device caught my eye. It was obviously effective, and inexpensive as well, because there were plenty of cucumbers for sale.
Along the way, I also spotted a mural that included the many covered bridges for which Ashtabula County is known.
At another stop, although still stuffed from the lunch, I purchased a chocolate muffin and cup of coffee and parked myself in a rocker on their covered patio to enjoy the view. (I can never resist a chocolate muffin and this was a particularly good one.) The view from my rocker included a pond surrounded by (mostly green) trees, and one lovely orange one. Walking back to the car, I snapped a picture of the pond and one Halloween-themed tree.
I wish I had taken more pictures, but that’s it for our 2019 friend’s fall field trip.