Posted in animal photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks, nature

Twice surprised!

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In the afternoon, the sky cleared a little, and I took advantage of the break in the clouds to do a little birding before sunset. I knew there would probably be a variety of birds along the trail near the fence post, so that’s where I headed.

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To my surprise, a bluejay joined the others in their game of “grab and go.” It was fun to get his picture because the jays usually keep their distance. Instead of joining the other birds in the fun, they linger in the branches of nearby trees, occasionally squawking and swooping from branch to branch; however, one of them was curious tonight, and I was able to get several good shots of him in action:

A song sparrow also joined in the fun.
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Then, as I was squinting through the lens, waiting to see who would appear next, I got a surprise. Instead of a bird, here is what I saw on the top of the post:
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Dusk was falling, and it was a few seconds before I realized the  chipmunk had scurried up the fence post to get his share of the peanuts, but when I did, I got a good chuckle at how quick and clever he was. Light was fading by that time, so I decided it was time to head for home. And that was the end of this trail walk, but it was fun while it lasted!

Thanks for joining me on the trail.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, deer, My trail walks

Determination

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A little bag of peanuts in my pocket attracted the attention of this hungry doe. It might be that she has a super-sniffer, or maybe she saw me drop a handful of peanuts into the top of the fence post. Either way, she knew there were tasty treats to be had, and she was determined to have her share.

As soon as I walked away from the fence, she wandered over and sidled up to the post. She quickly discovered she wasn’t tall enough to insert her pink tongue into the post far enough to reach the peanuts. But she tried…

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…and she  kept on trying.
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She was one determined doe, but unfortunately she was vertically challenged. No matter how hard she tried, the tasty treat was out of her reach.

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She didn’t get the peanuts this time, but one thing I know for sure, she’ll be back. Peanuts are apparently a highly valued snack food, and when she sees me the next time, she’ll remember. Maybe that time the peanut cache will be “topped off;” she will be able to reach it, and her determination will have a happier outcome. I’m betting on the doe.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, My trail walks

Who knew…

…that a bushy tail would make a great umbrella?

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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
Posted in animal photography, back yard buffet, deer

Return of the Rapscallions!

The new bird feeder, destroyed by the rapscallions last week, has been replaced, thanks to a warranty from the manufacturer. Yesterday I hung it in the back yard buffet, in place of the feeder the deer had destroyed, wondering how long it would take for them to discover it. It was mid-afternoon, well before dark, but unfortunately I didn’t have to wait long before five or six of these ladies came wandering into the back yard buffet.

They cavorted around our back yard and next door in our neighbor’s, wandering around and browsing for food under the snow, while I kept a close eye out the window in case they got too near the new feeder. All was going well, and then this fellow came onto the scene.

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…and he was definitely interested in food.

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As I watched through the window, camera in hand, he came closer and closer…

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…until he finally reached the tree stump, just a few feet from the window from which I was watching and only a few feet from the newly replaced feeder. Thinking it was about time to chase them away, I moved. He looked up, spotted me standing inside the window, and apparently unsettled by how close I was, he turned his back and, stepping over the fallen tree trunk, left the back yard buffet.

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As soon as he was gone, I put on my jacket and hurried outside to bring in the new bird feeder…or is it a deer feeder? I’m really not sure.

Thanks for stopping by the Back Yard Buffet today.
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, Chagrin River Park, Color Me Autumn, My trail walks

A late afternoon surprise

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One of the big bucks in Chagrin River Park

Since we turned our clocks back to standard time, I have to watch myself or dark will descend before I am ready for it. Some days I have barely started my trail walk when some photo opps present themselves, and I don’t have enough light to get a good shot. Here is one example:

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Two things went wrong with that shot. First off, I was not prepared. I was focused on a cardinal on the fence post right in front of me when this big buck dashed into the scene. I quickly changed my mind and snapped off several shots of the buck. However, while I was prepared to capture a stationary bird, I wasn’t expecting a fast moving buck, so this shot didn’t work because the light was low and my settings were all wrong. The most I can say is that I captured the moment, so I’m keeping the picture. You win some and lose some. The best thing to do is to learn from the “losers” so the next shot will be better.

The big buck pictured at the top of this post was also taken in late afternoon, but that time I was ready. I had watched him follow some does across the trail in front of me, so when he came back across the trail after giving up the chase, I watched and waited and captured this brief stare-down. Success! (Note: I wasn’t close enough to be in danger. The buck was calm,  totally disinterested in me, and I was using my long lens and standing a good distance away).

Here are a few more late afternoon photos from the past week in Chagrin River Park.

That’s all for this post. Sadly, we have nearly reached the end of my “Color Me Autumn” series of posts. I still have a backlog of photos that I haven’t posted yet, but I don’t think there will be many (maybe not any) new beautiful autumn photos.A cold wind has blown in and several inches of snow fell in the area tonight, although thankfully not in our neighborhood.

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, backyard birding, nature

A little rain and a lotta lazy!

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Rain was threatening, and I was feeling lazy, so I hung around the house for some back yard birding instead of heading to the park for a trail walk. As it turned out, lazy wasn’t a bad choice, and I ended up having loads of fun just sitting on the bench in my back yard. A lady hummer came for a visit, and she was joined by a downy woodpecker, a finch (I think), and a little bird with a punk hairdo.

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but we have a new feeder for the hummingbirds. Today the hummer was taking turns sipping from them.First one, then the other! The new feeder is different. It’s shallow with a ring around it for her is rest on while she drinks, and, best of all, it is much easier to clean and refill. That’s especially important when it is hot like it has been recently because the wasps and ants are also attracted to the sugar water feeder, which must be emptied and refilled every two or three days.

As an extra treat, the birds and I were joined at the back yard buffet by Samantha Squirrel. Sammy and her extended family love the bark butter suet cakes as much as the birds do, and I love to watch their antics as they climb the poles, hang onto the feeders, and help themselves to the bark butter. Fortunately the birds are willing to share!

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That’s it from the back yard buffet today. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing political. No name-calling, no violence. Just food, fun, and congeniality. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for joining me today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Posted in animal photography, Dogs and their people, Memorable Moments, pets

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
Posted in animal photography, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature

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
Posted in animal photography, bird photography, Memorable Moments, My trail walks, nature

Ever see a duck dance?

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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

Posted in animal photography, My photowalks, My trail walks, nature

A quick post from the park

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Yesterday was a cold day, but I went for a short trail walk despite the 23 degree temperature, and I’m glad I did. Lots of little birds posed for pictures, mainly because they were hungry and hoping for some bark butter bits. There was also a little herd of deer along the trail, two that followed me right at my heels and were very difficult to shoo away. They must have been really hungry. And HAWK was out hunting, swooping from tree to tree, keeping a keen eye out for his prey. I have lots of pictures to share, but no time to post them all tonight, so I decided to feature one of the deer, just to show how clever she was at nibbling on the bark butter bits. That’s it for this time, but I’ll be back to post more deer pictures tomorrow, along with HAWK and the other birds.

See you soon.
Trail Walker