Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Great Horned Owls, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

I’m happy to report…

Today was a beautiful day for a photo walk, so first thing this morning I headed for Chagrin River Park. Despite the morning chill, the sun was shining, and the birds were active. I don’t have much time for blogging today, but there is one bird I especially want to share before I sign off for the day, so here she is: A great horned owl, sitting on her nest!

2018_03_19__Chagrin River Park_0004

This is the same place she nested last year, and everyone is excited that she has returned. When I walked down the trail, I really didn’t expect to see her, although I had heard the buzz among the birders that the owls had returned. She was all alone in the nest this morning, and I don’t know any more details, but I will fill you in as soon as I have more news to share. Because of the location of the nest, I couldn’t see her with the naked eye, so I was thrilled to see her face on my computer screen when I got home and downloaded the pictures. More news to come and more pictures from this morning’s walk when I have time to post them tomorrow.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

A good day on the trails


It was definitely a good day on the trail in Chagrin River Park, but a very tedious weekend at the computer cleaning up my 18 years of photo files. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that I am making progress. Unfortunately, there is still more work to be done, and I will be back at it tomorrow after church. Meanwhile, here are some birds who posed for me in the park this weekend.

Northern cardinal-male


Northern cardinal-female
White-throated sparrow
Lady cardinal with a mouthful of peanut chips
Hungry blue jay


Red-bellied woodpecker and a house sparrow


Red-winged blackbird-a true sign of spring
Happy red-bellied woodpecker

I was happy to be back on the trail with my camera in hand, and I hope you enjoy the pictures. Sorry to say, but I’m run out of energy, so it’s time to turn out the lights.

See you in a day, or two, or three at the most!
Trail Walker


Posted in backyard birding, Eastern bluebirds, Northeast Ohio

Bad weather for birds

The weather wasn’t too bad in the morning, and a lonesome male bluebird stopped by to check out the nesting box. I’d like to think he was scouting for a home for his mate and future family, but I won’t be holding my breath on that score.

2018_03_07__Spring_Backyard birding_00142018_03_07__Spring_Backyard birding_00182018_03_07__Spring_Backyard birding_0020

However, as the day progressed, the weather worsened. In late afternoon I looked out the window to see snow falling and rapidly covering the ground with a coating of that white stuff, which looks magical in December, but by March…not so much! After the bluebird visitation this morning, there was very little bird activity. I took one last glance out the window as the light was fading,  and saw only some snowbirds (juncos) and a couple of mourning doves,  sheltering at the base of one of the feeders.  When the dove posed next to the water bowl, I snapped her picture.

2018_03_07___Backyard birding_0013

That was all the excitement for the day, and it was enough for me. I’m laying low for few days, recovering from a tumble off our back steps that resulted in an entire night in a massively crowded emergency room. And, no, I don’t know how it happened. They kept asking if I had passed out, lost consciousness, or felt dizzy, and all I could say was ,”No, no, and no,” whenever anyone asked.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!!!
See you soon, Trail Walker
Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, Memorable Moments

Birds before breakfast

2018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_0019

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.

2018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_00162018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_0018

2018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_00242018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_0020

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.

2018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_00122018_02_23__Backyard_Backyard birding_0011

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
Posted in Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Ohio, Color me Spring!, My trail walks, Spring 2017

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.

2017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden01052017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden01042017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden01012017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00992017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00962017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00922017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00892017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00862017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00852017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00802017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00782017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00762017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00692017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00682017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00662017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00652017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00642017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00592017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00562017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00532017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00522017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00512017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00462017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00372017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00362017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden00282017_04_21_Cleveland_Botanical Garden0022

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
Posted in backyard birding, My trail walks

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.
2018_02_18___Trailwalking_Backyard birding_0009

2018_02_18___Trailwalking_Backyard birding_0010

That was my backyard birding highlight for the week, but here are a couple two more recent visitors:

2018_02_15_Backyard birding_Rain-soaked morning_0041
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.

2018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_00202018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_0018

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


Posted in Lake Erie, Landscapes and snowscapes, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Frozen Erie Lakescapes

2018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_0011

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:

2018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_0003

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.

2018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_00102018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_00092018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_00082018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_00072018_02_12_Winter 2018_Lake Erie in MOL_0006

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
Posted in animal photography, backyard birding, Northeast Ohio, winter

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.

2018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_0025
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.

2018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_00152018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_00122018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_0039

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.

2018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_00082018_02_10_Winter 2018_Backyard birding_0004

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!


Posted in Chagrin River Park, My trail walks, Winter trail walks

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.

2018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_00032018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_00072018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_0008

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.

2018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_0017

2018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_00162018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_0023

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.

2018_02_06_Trailwalking_Chagrin River Park_0027

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


Posted in back yard buffet, Northeast Ohio, winter

Back to birding in the back yard

2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0041

It wasn’t a fabulous day for photography, so I decided to take some shots through the kitchen window.  This stump and several others are what remains of a large oak tree we had to cut down last year.  I decided to take advantage of them to create tables, just for the wildlife. The little birds (and the squirrels and chipmunks) loved the idea, and this is the result.  They are also popular with the deer that roam around our neighborhood at night, but for some reason, today it was just birds. To my surprise, there wasn’t a hoof print in sight. Near this stump is another on which I place a water bowl and handfuls of black oil sunflower seeds. Occasionally, as you can see here, there is some quarreling between the visitors. It looks to me like the sparrow is complaining because the house finch is just a little greedy. Look at that mouth full of seed! Definitely more than her share, according to the sparrow.

2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0037

The breakfast and lunch hours are the most popular times for visitors. Sometimes I can almost liken them to the regulars at the neighborhood deli…except for the greed factor that is. Here are a few more visitors that showed up yesterday when I was watching out the window:

2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0052
Junco, or snowbird as they are commonly called


2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0055
Another junco with a full beak!
2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0067
An especially greedy house finch
2018_01_30_Chagrin River Park_Winter night shoot_0049
And a bossy blue jay

That’s it for today. I did spot a red-bellied woodpecker, but couldn’t capture her picture. Maybe next time!  Did you notice what a monotone day this was? I’m thankful for visits from the blue jays and the little house finches with their rosy breasts. Otherwise winter weather can be a little dull.

Hope to see you again at the back yard buffet!
Trail Walker