That’s determination for you!


I think this is the first time I have seen a mourning dove in Chagrin River Park. They are homebodies, usually content to hang around the Backyard Buffet, eating the food I put out for them. A mourning dove in the park was an unusual sight, but then this was an unusual day. After a full month with very little snow, we were slammed with some cold snowy weather. I have no idea why this dove was in the park, but she had found the “hidden” bark butter bits, and she was determined to get her share.

She worked hard at it, and she was successful! Her beak doesn’t seem to be long enough for prying tidbits out of the fence post, but she refused to give up. You have to give her credit for persistence.

There were lots of kids having a great time on the sledding hill. Their loud shrieks were evidence that they were enjoying this second day off school. But the weather was dire for the birds.It wasn’t the cold that was the challenge; it was the wind and the sleety snow continually blowing in their eyes (and mine too). The dove had to work hard for her meal today. When the cold and snow finally got to me, I gave up and headed home for lunch, but the mourning dove was still there. She was one determined bird!

That’s the story from the trail today.
Thanks for sticking with me, despite the weather.
Trail Walker

Am I asking too much?


All I’m asking is for a few cold but sunny days during the week when I can go for a trail walk. So far 2017 has been a major disappointment in the weather department. We actually saw a little sunshine over the weekend…for part of the time at least, but when the sun comes out and the temperatures warm up, the people come out too. So with my tongue in cheek, I’m begging for some cold sunny weekdays. The kind of days when snow is on the ground and almost nobody ventures out on the trails in the park. On days like that, as long as I stay clear of the sledding hill, I have the trails all to myself. That’s the way I like it!

I ventured out for a few short trail walks over the weekend, but there were, as a photographer friend put it, “…lots of people, families galore, and no birds.” So here are a few pictures from the weekend, and as you can see, NO BIRDS!”

It’s winter you know, and, as a trail walker and photographer, I would really like to see temperatures in the mid-twenty range, some snow on the ground, and sunny blue skies. Really, am I asking too much?


Thanks for reading my rant. I’m done ranting for now and will return to my normal sunny disposition…as soon as the weather improves.

P.S.Please don’t take me seriously. I am thankful we haven’t experienced the kind of bad storms that have hit parts of our country. I’m just feeling a little impatient with the weather woman (or man).

See you soon!
Trail Walker

A triple surprise!

Walking the trail in Chagrin River Park Thursday afternoon, I was intent on taking pictures of some little birds enjoying the first sunshine we’ve seen in a week or more…

…when I spotted this big bird that had landed on a tree high above my head. I was too far away to get a good shot with my 300mm lens, but I took it anyway. What I didn’t notice, until I looked at the picture on my computer, was the little bluejay perched right behind the hawk. A triple surprise! First the sunshine and then the hawk sharing his treetop lookout with a little bluejay. Totally unexpected!


I’m glad you were here to share this surprise!
Thanks for walking the trail with me.
Trail Walker

You can set the table, but…


…you don’t always get the guests you expected!

After breakfast, I cleaned the kitchen and went outside to prepare the backyard buffet with  a delicious feast for the birds. Apparently the feast was appealing enough to attract the attention of a little herd of deer that wandered up from nearby Chagrin River Park.

After the deer were finished feasting, very little remained for the birds’ breakfast! As the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote…

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Maybe I could adapt that line to read, “The best laid plans of mice, men, and backyard bird feeders often go awry.” Although that isn’t nearly as poetic as the original, it is definitely true.

That’s all for today’s backyard birding adventure!
Thanks for visiting! It is always good to entertain company.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Bright-eyed birds


A tilt of the head and a flash of sunlight can create a glimmer of brightness in these dark-eyed little birds. Photographers call it a catchlight! Look for it in the chickadee above and in these little titmice that took time out for a photo opp in front of my camera.

It’s the magic that can turn a dull picture into something special! I captured these birds on my trail walk last Friday. (On a cloudy day, a little bit of fill-flash can create the same effect.)

Thanks for popping in for a visit today.
It’s always good to see friends along the trail.
Trail Walker

Soup for Supper

An invitation from my daughter to “Come over this afternoon and make some chicken soup”; a whole chicken simmering for hours until the stock was rich and well seasoned; plenty of chopped fresh vegetables; and a dollop of patience…That’s what it took to make a large pot of savory soup.

Believe it or not, my first venture into making soup, but probably not my last. As I climbed into the car and headed for home with my share of the soup, Becky said, “Next time we’ll make vegetable beef.”

This post was created entirely with my iPhone 6+ for cellpic Sunday.

Love and Circumstances.

The salt marsh in coastal Florida is a very different habitat from my trails in Chagrin River Park, but I love these visits to the Salt Marsh, so I visit the Tiny Lessons Blog as often as I can. I hope you will take this chance to visit it today. You might even want to click the FOLLOW button and make return visits.


Love’s in the air. Big time. After just renewing their marriage vows on New Year’s Eve, Sandy and Stanley are madly in love. It’s a fairly balanced relationship, as we know from the past. Both of them contribute to everything, including the annual nest remodeling project. Lots is already getting done this year, as you can see.

papa-osprey-and-mama-osprey-at-the-nest-jan-10-ud102But if you ask me, Mama Sandy is the one calling the shots. Yesterday afternoon she gave Stanley detailed instructions on what to bring next. And away he flew. I decided to wait for his return. I wanted to see what he would bring and whether or not Sandy would approve of it. The latter is not always a ‘given’, I’ve learned. After a few minutes, Sandy got a bit frustrated and asked, quite loudly, what was taking him so long.

mama-osprey-calls-out-ud102Unmoved by Sandy’s call, the Mayor sat quietly hunched in a tree just below the nest. This was going to…

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Back on the trail again!


Partly sunny! The weather forecast predicted some sunshine, and partly sunny it was. In recent days (weeks? months?), we have had many rainy, windy, frigid, icy, snowy weather days, but very few (if any) sunny ones. At least that is how it has seemed to me. When today’s partly sunny prediction actually came to pass, I knew it was finally time to get back on the trail.

Standing in the middle of the pedestrian bridge over the Chagrin River, I took this picture. We had plenty of rain and some flooding earlier this week, so I wanted to see what it looked like today. There wasn’t any ice on the river, but it was running fast, the air was cold, and the water looked even colder.


Next I headed down the trail through the woods, looking for some birds.

I met several other photographers and bird-watchers who, like me, were enjoying the sunshine,  even though the temperature was only 28 degrees! To our surprise, we even spotted some redwinged blackbirds, whose song is almost always one of the earliest signs of spring in northeast Ohio. Never this early though, so they really seemed misplaced, as if they had gotten directions from the wrong travel agent, and headed north too soon. But there they were, along the trail, and we have been told we can expect several  50 degree days next week. Global warming anyone? It’s an anomaly, that’s for sure, and may or may not come to pass, but I’m not complaining.

Thanks for walking the trail with me today.
See you soon!
Trail Walker

Who knew…

…that a bushy tail would make a great umbrella?


Apparently the squirrels knew!

The hungry birds that braved the downpour to visit the Backyard Buffet on this miserably wet day did not have the same advantage of a built-in umbrella. This was not a good weather day for the bedraggled birds.

Let’s hope, for the sake of the saturated squirrels and weather-beaten birds, that the sun soon makes an appearance.

Thanks for braving the weather in the Backyard Buffet today!
Fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow.
Trail Walker

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