Spring trail walk in Holden Arboretum

Today’s visit to the Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower marks my fifth time to experience these special features at the Arboretum. Links to those earlier visits can be seen here and here.

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One of my favorite sights in the rhododendron garden is the gazebo pictured above. Sometimes, when I want to just enjoy the peace of the garden, I will take my lunch and sit in the gazebo.

But today I met my friend Lorna at the visitor’s center where we purchased tickets for the Emergent Tower and Canopy Walk, and we are going to head down the trail to the rhododendron garden. Lunch will wait until after we enjoy the garden, climb the Emergent Tower, and make our way back to the patio at the visitors’ center. If I had special ordered the weather for today’s visit to Holden Arboretum, it would have been for a day exactly like this, so let’s head on down the trail. Click on any of the pictures in the gallery and immerse yourself in the sights of summer in the Arboretum.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual walk in the garden. And I know you didn’t get out of breath like I did when we climbed the Tower! Thankfully they have places you can stop and catch your breath while you enjoy the view on the way up. I needed them! Now it’s time for lunch. Lorna and I brought ours, but you’re on your own! Thanks for joining us for this virtual tour in the Arboretum.

Note: If you want to see my earlier posts about the Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower, click here and go back to last fall’s trail walks with more pictures.

See you in a day or two for another trail walk.
Trail Walker

Announcement: the wrens have returned!

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House wrens were showing up all over the place this morning…at least all along the trail I was walking. I’m really not sure how many different wrens I saw, but I’m sure there was more than one. Wrens apparently are cavity nesters, and for several years I have watched them go in and out of this dead tree. Every year they return to the nest, and I was delighted to see them return this spring. It took some patience on my part to get this picture because the wren(s) don’t make a direct approach to the nest, and I took lots of pictures before she finally posed on the top of the tree. Here are a few of the outtakes:

Watching the wrens was a lot of fun, and took up most of my time today, but here are a few others I added to my gallery this morning.

A tufted titmouse that landed right in front of my camera:

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A black-capped chickadee

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A tiny hummingbird sitting on the very top of a tall tree:

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…and FINALLY,  a tiny chipmunk let me walk really close to him to get this picture. He was well hidden behind a branch, but I got this shot by slowly walking around the end of the branch until we were almost face-to-face. Maybe he thought I hadn’t seen him. That’s the advantage of carrying a 300mm lens.

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That’s all for today. Hope you like them too. Tomorrow I meeting a friend for a trail walk at Holden Arboretum. The pictures will be different, so stop by to see what I find along the trail.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Back Yard Birding and more

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I know some people take their feeders down when spring arrives, but we still like to keep some food and water available for these little creatures. So the other day I parked myself on a back yard bench to decide how to rearrange the feeders, and here are a few of the visitors that stopped in to say hello:

So with all those visitors to entertain me, I stayed longer in the back yard than I had intended, but eventually I got up from the bench and went with Bob to take Gulliver for a walk in the park. There I encountered a few more birds (but no squirrels this time). Take a look at these beauties:

A white-crowned sparrow

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A little yellow warbler sitting on a branch

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A downy woodpecker admiring some yellow flowers

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And last of all, on the trail back to the parking lot, we saw an indigo bunting. 

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With that beautiful bunting, my day was complete!!! The ruby-throated hummingbird at the very top of this post and the indigo bunting are my favorites. I enjoyed sharing them all with you. If you have a favorite, please leave a comment to let me know.

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

Mother Goose and her family

It’s not easy to raise your family if you are Mother Goose. You may start with 10 or 12 little ones, but life in the bog can be very dangerous for a flock of little goslings. Yesterday when I saw Mother Goose swimming in the bog with her babies and another adult goose (presumably Daddy Goose), there were only two, so I quickly grabbed a few portraits of the little family.

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That’s the family album. I hope you like them!

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Turkey on the trail

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It’s not “Turkey Day” here in Ohio. That comes around in November when we celebrate Thanksgiving with feasts that usually include roast turkey; however, I was having a not-so-great photo day in the park…until this turkey crossed the trail. He was almost close enough to step on my toes, so I figured he had to be my blog post for the day. Turkeys have strangely small heads, so it makes me wonder about the size of their brains, but they do come in beautiful colors, especially the males. The female’s colors are more subdued, according to my iBird app.

There is quite a large population of turkeys in Chagrin River Park. Years ago, maybe around 10-12 years, there were just a few. Now there are two or three large rafters (groups) of turkeys that you may encounter anywhere along the trail. When dusk comes, they always return to the same group of trees. Once there, they flap their wings awkwardly and fly up to perch on tree limbs for the night. It’s a strange sight to see. Each bird chooses a separate limb, and they all flap around from tree to tree, until they find one that feels “right.” I’m always surprised to see that they don’t roost near the trunk or in the V where two large limbs meet. They seem to prefer perching in the middle of the limb. I can’t understand why they don’t fall off during the night.

If you look closely at a tom turkey (a male), you will see a piece of dangling flesh hanging below its face. That is called a snood, and according to this source, “it’s integral to the mating game, signaling to other toms that they should get out of his way and letting hens know that he’s got what they’re looking for.” If you want to know more (the R-rated bits), click on the link and read to your heart’s content. I think I know enough already.

Thanks for following the trail with me today.
Trail Walker

Just because it’s May!


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Yellow warbler

…and just because today is cloudy, windy, and only 49 degrees in northeastern Ohio, I decided to post a gallery of 10 cheerful orange and yellow birds that I recently photographed on a  (much warmer) trail walk in Chagrin River Park. Maybe they will help me remember that it is still spring.

That’s it for today’s trail walk photos. No matter what your weather or your situation today, I hope they cheered you up and put a smile on your face.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

They’re back!

I glanced out the kitchen window this morning and was delighted to see the first hummingbird of the season at the feeder. Our weather is still cloudy and cool, and it doesn’t feel like May, or at least not like I think May should feel, but the hummers are back, and that makes all the difference.

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Male ruby throat
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Sipping sugar water
Thanks for stopping by today.
I hope you enjoyed your visit!
Trail Walker

Free entertainment

The gulls were providing free entertainment today. This one looks bored…

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but this one must be angry or upset. He’s squawking about something.

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Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of the really frightening gull encounter I saw this morning…frightening for the gulls, not for me.  A small hawk of some kind zipped across the path in front of me and flew out over the river, nearly colliding with a gull. The frightened gull squealed and squawked loudly for the next three or four minutes. Maybe he was playing “Paul Revere” and warning all the little birds about the danger. If that’s the case, he was doing a great job! As I’ve said before, there is rarely a dull moment along the trail. You never know what you might encounter.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
Trail Walker

Note: I posted more pictures from today’s trail walk here.

Wonderful wings

Have you ever thought about how wonderful wings would be?

  • With wings, you would be instantly transformed into a beautiful, graceful airborne creature.
  • With wings, you could fly off to places earthbound creatures like squirrels could only dream of.
  • With wings, you could magically escape dangerous situations; lions, and tigers, and bears would cease to be a threat.
  • And with wings you could dance! (See yesterday’s blog post)

Wings would be transformational! They would change your life in more ways than you or I could imagine. Silly, I know, but it doesn’t hurt to imagine, does it? To my way of thinking, blackbirds are not the most beautiful birds that God created, but oh, those wings. They make all the difference!

Check out the subtle nuances of the wing action in these pictures. I don’t know if this is the same redwing blackbird I posted yesterday or a different one. This one is also showing his breeding plumage, but he isn’t dancing. The wing action is just as graceful though.  The things I see along the trail never cease to amaze and delight me.


Thanks for walking with me today.
Trail Walker

Blackbird Ballet

This morning in Chagrin River Park I made a surprising discovery: Blackbirds do ballet! I was privileged to capture on camera a private dance recital performed by one artistically-gifted redwing blackbird. Take a look:


Who would have guessed? Certainly not I!

After Mr. RWB was finished with his technically superior performance, he settled down for an energy boosting repast of bark butter bits. I think he earned them

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As I’ve mentioned before, you never know what you will see along the trail. Every day there’s a new adventure.

Thanks for joining me for this morning’s trail walk.
I’m glad you got here in time for the recital!
Trail Walker

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