Birds before breakfast

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I was excited when I glanced through the kitchen window  at the backyard buffet and discovered an Eastern bluebird posing for multiple photo opps. The sky was overcast, as it usually is in February. A sunny blue sky would have been appreciated, but it wasn’t essential because this colorful visitor arrived with his own special brand of sunshine. And talk about blue! The hue on his wings suggested that they  had been dipped into a can of brilliant blue paint. Take a look at these photos of his morning grooming session.

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Mr. Bluebird wasn’t our only visitor yesterday.  Look who else stopped by to say hello! These unexpected sightings…all before breakfast, made this a memorable morning.

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The pileated woodpecker didn’t hold his pose for as much as a minute. He flew in, landed long enough for me to click off two shots, and whoooooshhh, he was gone!   But I got the shots, which made this a very good morning!

Thanks for stopping by to say hello.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker

Botanical Garden-Big Spring 2017

Wandering through the Big Spring exhibit at the Cleveland Botanical Garden gives one hope that spring is well on the way. If you live, as I do, where winter seems to last forever and sunshine and blue skies are rare and a cause for joy, you will understand the significance of an event that celebrates Spring.

My friend Marti and I visited the Botanical Garden and enjoyed the beauty of spring at her best in the middle of April 2017. I took many pictures, but ten months have passed while the images languished (unprocessed) on my computer’s hard drive. Finally, today, on a dreary, rainy February morning, I decided it was time to share the pictures. I hope you can take a little time out, maybe with a cop of coffee and a bagel in hand, to enjoy this taste of spring.

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That’s all for today’s “taste of spring,” but the good news is that April will soon be here again. In less than two months, I can return to the Botanical Garden for another boost to my winter-weary spirits. I’m looking forward to it. Please come back then to see the new edition of “Big Spring!”

Hoping to see you soon!
Trail Walker

Return of the pileated woodpeckers

The light was dull this morning, and I couldn’t get a great picture, but look who reappeared in our backyard this morning. We haven’t been visited by the pileateds for months, and this morning I heard the distinctive “I’m here!” call, ran to my window, and there he was high up on the tall oak tree. “Guess who’s in the backyard,” I called to Bob, “and there are actually two of them!” The one shown in today’s post hanging out on the oak tree for about 15 minutes, seemed to be drilling in the bark for food.  I only caught a glimpse of the second bird, which was higher in the trees and moving around more then the male. I’m not sure if they were two males or a male/female pair, but whichever, I was really excited to see them.
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That was my backyard birding highlight for the week, but here are a couple two more recent visitors:

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A white-breasted nuthatch

…and two bluejays, who seem a little uncertain about sharing the feast I set out for them on the tree stump.

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Just some ordinary backyard birds, but fun to watch from my post inside the kitchen window.

Thanks for visiting my backyard buffet today.
I hope to see you again soon.
Trail Walker

 

Frozen Erie Lakescapes

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This morning I visited a friend who lives a few short blocks from Lake Erie. Because it was  a beautiful morning, I couldn’t resist stopping by Lake Overlook Park on my way home. Only one other person was walking along the trail from the lake to the parking lot. Noticing my camera, she remarked that high noon is not the best time to take pictures. “Come back in the early morning or around sunset,” she suggested. However, this was the time I had planned to visit my friend, and I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity to grab a  few pictures of the snow-covered lake. So I walked on down the trail to the lake, and here is what I saw:

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Fortunately, I had no plans to access the beach area! Continuing my walk, I stayed well away from the edge of the cliff. Tumbling into a frozen Lake Erie was not on my agenda for the morning. Here are a few pictures I captured on that short walk. I hope you enjoy them.

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High noon or not, I am glad I stopped by the lake today, but I will go back for another photo walk along that cliff…when the sun is setting.  I’m looking forward to comparing those pictures to today’ high noon captures.

Thanks for visiting Lake Erie with me today.
Trail Walker

Lazy (and wet) Sunday afternoon

The temperature was hovering around zero with freezing rain tapping on the window pane, so backyard birding seemed like a better idea than trudging down the trail in the park. Call me a wimp, if you want,  but I’m happiest indoors in weather like this.

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Trio of bluejays

The bluejays don’t seem to mind much as long as the rain isn’t pelting down, but I do mind, so I decided to do a little backyard birding from inside my kitchen window today.

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In most tree-shaded backyards, birding usually includes squirrels, and my yard is no different.  This squirrel is sheltering under the bird feeder, and he looks pretty happy about having the food all to himself.

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Most days I prefer birding along the trail in the park, but today I am thankful to capture my birds through the window. I hope you enjoyed the view.

Thanks for joining me. Let’s hope for sunny weather soon.
I’m not a trailwalker today!

 

A cold weather walk

Although the temperature reading in my car reminded me it was well below freezing, I decided on a trail walk in Chagrin River Park. After all, it was warmer than yesterday’s 19 degrees (Fahrenheit), and there was a weak sun in the sky. The first wildlife I spotted were these whitetail deer, who quickly noticed me with my camera. In cold weather, when the ground is covered with snow, deer seem to think “FOOD!” when they spot a human along the trail. So this trio naturally headed in my direction.

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As they came closer, one of them could see that birds were landing on the nearby fence post and flying away with peanuts crammed into their beaks.

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I’ll bet you can guess what the hungry deer did next. Birds aren’t the only ones that like peanuts, and that deer was very hungry. She decided to get some peanuts for herself.  She sidled up to the fence post and stretched her neck as far as she could, but I’m sorry to say, she was a few inches too short to reach the peanuts nestled in the crack in the fence post.

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I have seen taller deer stretch far enough to get their (very long) tongues into the fencepost, but this deer had to go away hungry and look elsewhere for her supper. She was just too short. I could have offered her some peanuts, but the park rangers frown on that because it encourages deer to approach people along the trail, which can be very unsettling to some trail walkers. Deer, after all, are wild animals.

That’s it for today’s trail walking episode.
Come back soon to see what other stories we can find along the trail.

Trail Walker

 

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