Living only a mile south of Lake Erie has both advantages and disadvantages. Today I experienced both. The lake was almost 100% covered by ice this winter. We experienced the coldest February on record when the temperature hovered in the single digits for many days. As a result, spring has been very slow in arriving. We had a taste of it last week and hoped it was here to stay, but it waved goodbye this week with high winds and temperatures falling to near freezing at night and only reaching into the mid-forties during the day. The advantage of living here is that we are located on the flyway taken by many birds on their spring and fall migration. Many Canada-bound birds that don’t live here year round pause in our parks and neighborhoods to rest and refuel before flying across Lake Erie.
Early May is the peak of the warbler migration through our area. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, west of Cleveland on Lake Erie, is dubbed the warbler capital of the world! I drove out there one year with my daughter on “International Migratory Bird Day” and was amazed by the number of birds and birders. It was fun and exciting, but also very crowded. It was a challenge to walk 20 steps without colliding into someone with their eyes to the sky or the tree tops.
Due to the cool weather, the migration is not yet in full swing, but on my walk in the park today I was lucky enough to come across a ruby-crowned kinglet and to actually get several photos of him, including one that shows the ruby spot that gives him his name. He is the second smallest bird in Ohio, a lovely little bird. Take a look (Click a bird to see the larger version).
There’s the ruby crown.
That’s all for today. Despite the chill in the air, I was glad I took a walk in the park.
Spring is so fickle. Today it can’t decide if it wants to rain or if the sun will shine. Will it be sunny and warm or windy and chilly? So far, it has offered up some of each, changing its mind every half-hour or so. Before the rain started this morning, I headed to the park for a photowalk. We are still experiencing early spring here on the south shore of Lake Erie, so I don’t have much to show you in the way of blooming flowers or blossoming fruit trees, but the birds were active, so a gallery of bird portraits is what I will share with you today. I hope you enjoy them (Click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).
For the record
Weather: The high temperature was 68 degrees, but that was this morning before the cold front moved in. Apparently we are going to have a lot of cool and wet weather this week. Ergh!
Exercise: I walked 3,275 steps or 1.5 miles. At that rate it will take me forever to reach 7500 steps, but I plan to persevere!
This redwing blackbird was the only bird in the bog to discover the cache of birdseed on the tree stump. Call me wacky, but when I put these pictures together on the screen, it looked like he was doing a happy hoedown to celebrate his find.
For the record
Great weather today with sunny blue skies and a high temperature of 66 degrees.
Exercise: only mediocre! I walked 1.8 miles or 4,007 steps.
Because of the fantastic weather, the park was full. Parking spaces were scarce!
It was in December 2013 that I initiated my Friday Faces project. I don’t post one every Friday, and I took quite a few weeks off this past winter, but since this first Friday Face and the two I posted today, April 17, 2015, I have posted the faces of 38 different people. Each time I gather the gumption to approach a stranger and request a photo opp, I have taken a step forward. Photographically, I have learned from my mistakes. Although I now know that I am never going to open a portrait studio, I have learned how to approach strangers, put them at ease, produce a reasonably good photo of them, and enjoy the process. And I think my victims models enjoy it too. Most are surprised to be asked to pose for a photo shoot, but only two people have turned me down, and while some are self-conscious, others are very natural in front of the camera. When I started the project, I printed out each person’a portrait and gave them the print, but these days I just explain the project and hand them the business card I have printed up with my name and the address of the blog where I post their picture. That seems to work well for them and for me too. One man told me that his picture is sitting on top of their TV and another proudly reported sending his portrait out to all his family members that live far away. I felt pretty honored by that! The best part of this project is the way it has changed me from a solitary introverted walker focused (pun intended) on taking pictures of the birds I see on the park trails into an open, outgoing individual able to initiate interactions with an amazing variety of people. Best of all, I have a lot of new friends. I owe it all to my camera, which is why I can claim my Nikon is my mentor.
Written in response to the Mentor Me prompt on the Daily Post
I can’t think of a better title for today’s blog post. A sunny, blue sky with a high temperature that hovered around 80 degrees. I couldn’t dream of a more beautiful day. As you’ve probably noticed, I have a penchant for walking and taking pictures, and as this was the perfect day for doing both, I grabbed my camera and headed for the park. I have my eye open for several specific birds. Today I spotted one of them: the yellow-bellied sapsucker. It is not a rare bird, but I still get excited when I see one of them. Today there was one hanging around in the bog, so I got several shots. Here are my favorites:
And if sunny blue skies, 80 degree temperatures, and the sapsucker portraits weren’t enough reason to celebrate, I was blessed with another photo opportunity. As I aimed my camera at the sapsucker, two people came down the trail and stopped to watch, and we got into conversation. The gentleman asked if I would like to take his picture. “You won’t get too many opportunities to take the picture of a World War II veteran,” is what he said. He didn’t have to ask me twice. I was honored to have the opportunity, so here are today’s portraits of WWII vet, Lud Lekson and his wife Helen (Click on a picture to enlarge them).
Lud is 92 years old and the middle son of five who all served in WWII or the Korean War. Lud served in the Merchant Marines. When I asked where he served, he answered “all over the place,” and then told me a story about meeting up with his oldest brother when the were both in the Philippines.