Just because she’s so darn cute!

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During choir rehearsal this evening we had an unexpected visitor who was so cute I couldn’t resist taking her picture. It was one of those memorable moment situations. How could I resist a cuddly little puppy like that? Her name is Ginger, and she is a Cavachon. One parent is a Cavalier King Charles and the other is a Bichon. Her human people are our choir director Keith and his wife Kim. I think they have fallen in puppy love, and it’s easy to see why.

Normal trail walks will resume tomorrow.
Trail Walker

Celebrating spring!

A week has passed by since I decided to (mostly) post one picture per day until I caught up with my blog posts. Today I am celebrating spring (and the end of my week of posting solitary pictures) by sharing a little gallery. After my morning walk in Chagrin River Park, I decided to go farther afield in search of some Eastern bluebirds that I heard were hanging out at Penitentiary Glen (PenGlen). They weren’t! Or at least there were no bluebirds in sight today. However, it was a nice but nippy spring morning, and I was happy with the pictures I brought home from my trail walks. I hope you enjoyed this taste of the trail.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Song sparrow

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It looks like a song sparrow to me, although I usually see them perched on a branch, singing their hearts out. This little one was wading in the water along the edge of the bog. They are persistent singers, according to my bird app, and even the mockingbirds are not able to imitate their song. A group of song sparrows can be called a flock, choir, or a chorus of sparrows. For good measure, here is another sparrow I spotted today, and it was perched on a branch, although it wasn’t singing.

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That’s it for today.
Thanks for joining me along the trail.
Trail Walker

Gone Fishin’

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On Easter Sunday the weather suddenly turned warm. Blue clouds, sunshine, and temperatures that peaked at a perfect 75 degrees, brought families, photographers, fishermen, and dog walkers to the park to savor the unexpected taste of spring. Some even decided to grill their Easter dinner in the park, and a wonderful aroma filled the air. It was a good day along the trail with lots to see and hear, and I decided this fisherman, splashing his way downriver, was the best image to represent the afternoon. Unfortunately, the wonderful warm weather didn’t last. Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, and much cooler temperatures slid in overnight. Spring weather can be so fickle!

If you were hoping to see another bird today, I posted one here on Blipfoto.

Note: This is day #6 of my plan to post a single photo per day until I get caught up with my blog posts. When that happens, I may revisit my one-per-day plan and make some adjustments. Meanwhile, I will be happy to hear your feedback on my recent posts.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Northern cardinal

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Highly visible and happy to pose for his portrait, the cardinal is a year-round resident of northeast Ohio and can live up to 15 years in the wild. It is the state bird of Ohio and six other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. This makes him a record holder among state birds. A group of cardinals may be called by many different terms, including college and deck, but the name that surprises me is “Vatican of cardinals.” Maybe that makes this a good day to post his royal picture, since today is Easter Sunday???

The female cardinal doesn’t wear red, but maybe she is attracted by his red coat. I read that males that wear the brighter red coat, like this fellow, appear to feed at higher rates and have greater reproductive success than those whose red coats are more dull in color. I know they make better photographs and attract a lot of attention. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by today.
Keep your eyes open for more cardinals along the trail.
Trail Walker

Ever see a duck dance?

I had to dig in my archives to pull out this funny photo. Walking along the trail in Chagrin River Park,  I spotted this dancing duck celebrating the arrival of spring. She was entertaining me as well as drawing the attention of other ducks swimming in the bog. Three years have passed since I snapped this happy moment, and I still smile every time I look at it. I hope it makes you smile too.

This week’s photo challenge is “Dance.” Check it out here: Dance

Tufted titmouse

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There’s no doubt about the identity of this grey and white beauty. It’s a tufted titmouse. Wearing a dark grey cap with a crest and sporting a white eye ring, he is pretty easy to identify.The “tuft” or crest on top of his head also helps to identify this little bird. Although he is not a very large bird, he is the largest titmouse. Others are the juniper titmouse and the oak titmouse. Who knew? I certainly didn’t! This titmouse has a large range, but most individuals live their entire life within a few kilometers of their birthplace. They are ubiquitous in northeast Ohio. They are quick movers and not always easy to photograph, but they love the tasty bark butter bits, which distracted this fellow long enough for me to snap his picture.

Another interesting fact I found on my bird app is the name for a group of titmice. They are collectively called a banditry and a dissimulation of titmice, and they only occur in areas where rainfall is greater than 24 inches per year, and are even more common where rainfall exceeds 32 inches per year. According to Cherokee legend, they have been regarded as messengers.

This is day #3 of my plan to post just one photo each day on my blog. If you read my post from two days ago, you will remember that I started this plan to post only one photo each day because I have been struggling to keep up with my goal of posting at least four times each week. If you have any thoughts about how my plan is going, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Hard to miss!

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The red-winged blackbird, a native of North America, is hard to miss. One of the very early sign of spring in northeast Ohio, they are likely to be heard long before they are seen when their spring migration brings them back to our park. Once they arrive, they make their presence known with raucous calls, just as this fellow was doing when I took his picture. During migration, the Red-winged blackbird is capable of cruising over 30 mph, and when they reach their nesting area, the pair will raise 2-3 broods in a season. For each brood they build a new nest because the old nest might be infested with parasites that could kill their babies.

Red-winged blackbirds like to nest in wetlands, marshes, and around rivers, which makes the Chagrin River Park, with its river, bog, and marshy areas, a prime habitat for Redwings. It also provides the seeds and invertebrates that make up the staples of their diet. Bird watchers need to be aware, however, that Mrs. Redwing doesn’t look anything like her mate. Her feathers are heavily streaked in dark and pale brown tones. She looks more like a large sparrow and can be difficult for the beginning birder to identify.

I only had time for  a short walk today, so I was delighted to find this fellow perched on a skinny tree not far from the river. I had taken the river trail because it runs past a pair of bluebird nests, and I was hoping to see the bluebirds. No luck in that hope however, but Mr. Redwinged blackbird makes a good substitute. I’ll just have to keep looking for the bluebirds.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Change of pace

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I think this little bird that I spotted wading in the bog on my trail walk yesterday is a chipping sparrow. (Although if anyone knows a better ID, I would be glad to hear about it). It was such a cold day, all the birds seemed to be in hiding, and I didn’t blame them. A good book, a warm blanket, and a mug of cocoa sounded very inviting to me.

A confession and a conundrum

I have been struggling to find time for daily trail walks plus processing and posting the pictures. Sometimes it can be nearly a week between posts. However I would really like to post at least four times a week. So I asked myself this question: How can I manage my time to fit in four or five  trail walks and at least four blog posts each week ? Since timeliness is impacted by my determination to process each picture and to make the effort to write well whatever I decide to write about my posts, I’ve decided to make a change in my posting process.  For the next week or so (starting today, March 22nd), my solution to this conundrum is to pick one picture each day to post. Once I am posting on a regular schedule, I will reevaluate. I would love to hear from any bloggers who have encountered this dilemma. If that’s you, please leave a comment to share how you have resolved it.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Note: I looked up the American tree sparrow, as Roz suggested in her comment. The tree sparrow and chipping sparrow do look a lot alike, but apparently this little one is an American tree sparrow. Thanks for the ID, Roz.

Transition time: winter to spring

Although some of these pictures were taken on my last winter trail walks, others were taken today, and believe it or not, today is the first day of spring. The past week has been a time of transition between the two seasons. However, even though today is the first official day of spring, all these scenes look (and felt) pretty wintry. However slight, there are some signs of spring, but it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with warmer temperatures. Gloves, hats, and hand warmers were a necessity today. It was a very cold day in my opinion. Cold and with a stiff breeze. If you can’t identify the spring pictures, just click on the gallery and scroll through them. I’ve labeled them by season.

Winter or spring, I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Up here, on the south shore of Lake Erie, spring is a reluctant season, a late bloomer, you might say. Spring is hard to recognize from these pictures. I’m hoping we’ll get some warmer weather soon, so the daffodils and other spring flowers will begin to bloom.

Thanks for stopping by today.
I hope you enjoyed the “walk.”
Trail Walker

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