It’s spring migration time!

Living only a mile south of Lake Erie has both advantages and disadvantages. Today I experienced both. The lake was almost 100% covered by ice this winter. We experienced the coldest February on record when the temperature hovered in the single digits for many days. As a result, spring has been very slow in arriving. We had a taste of it last week and hoped it was here to stay, but it waved goodbye this week with high winds and temperatures falling to near freezing at night and only reaching into the mid-forties during the day. The advantage of living here is that we are located on the flyway taken by many birds on their spring and fall migration. Many Canada-bound birds that don’t live here year round pause in our parks and neighborhoods to rest and refuel before flying across Lake Erie.

Early May is the  peak of the warbler migration through our area. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, west of Cleveland on Lake Erie, is dubbed the warbler capital of the world! I drove out there one year with my daughter on “International Migratory Bird Day” and was amazed by the number of birds and birders. It was fun and exciting, but also very crowded.  It was a challenge to walk 20 steps without colliding into someone with their eyes to the sky or the tree tops.

Due to the cool weather, the migration is not yet in full swing, but on my walk in the park today I was lucky enough to come across a ruby-crowned kinglet and to actually get several photos of him, including one that shows the ruby spot that gives him his name. He is the second smallest bird in Ohio, a lovely little bird. Take a look (Click a bird to see the larger version).

That’s all for today. Despite the chill in the air, I was glad I took a walk in the park.

See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

A moody morning

Spring is so fickle. Today it can’t decide if it wants to rain or if the sun will shine. Will it be sunny and warm or windy and chilly? So far, it has offered up some of each, changing its mind every half-hour or so. Before the rain started this morning, I headed to the park for a photowalk. We are still experiencing early spring here on the south shore of Lake Erie, so I don’t have much to show you in the way of blooming flowers or blossoming fruit trees, but the birds were active, so a gallery of bird portraits  is what I will share with you today. I hope you enjoy them (Click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).

For the record

  • Weather: The high temperature was 68 degrees, but that was this morning before the cold front moved in. Apparently we are going to have a lot of cool and wet weather this week. Ergh!
  • Exercise: I walked 3,275 steps or 1.5 miles. At that rate it will take me forever to reach 7500 steps, but I plan to persevere!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Carolyn aka Skip

This redwing blackbird was the only bird in the bog to discover the cache of birdseed on the tree stump. Call me wacky, but when I put these pictures together on the screen, it looked like he was doing a happy hoedown to celebrate his find.

For the record
  • Great weather today with sunny blue skies and a high temperature of 66 degrees.
  • Exercise: only mediocre! I walked 1.8 miles or 4,007 steps.
  • Because of the fantastic weather, the park was full. Parking spaces were scarce!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Carolyn aka Skip

Think Spring!

As our long, cold, snowy winter recedes into the past, we can look forward to blue skies and sunny days, bird song, and flowers bursting into bloom. No, they won’t arrive at warp speed, but there is no denying they are on the way, so bring ’em on! In the spirit of spring, today is a good day to post some of the birds that are welcoming spring in Chagrin River Park (Remember to click on a bird to scroll through the gallery).

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~Maria Robinson

I plan to start today to think spring! How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.
Carolyn aka Skip

PS: No exercise to report today, but the sunshine has been great!

Daffy-nition: ennui

Ennui-A feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction brought on by a lack of occupation or excitement.

Some days are like that! I know that I can identify with the feeling…at least on occasion, but did you know that sea gulls could experience ennui? Apparently this gull, perched on a pylon on the East 9th Street pier,* knows what I’m talking about.

cleveland-25

*The 9th Street pier is less than a block from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Most people visiting the area don’t experience ennui, but gulls apparently aren’t excited by the history of rock and roll!

For the Record
  • Exercise: Not a lot of exercise today. I only walked 3428 steps, approximately 1.6 miles.
  • Weather: A mixed bag! The sun shone most of the day, but the morning temperature was only 43 degrees. It definitely felt more like winter than spring. However, by evening it had soared to an almost balmy 55 degrees. (Occasionally I exaggerate.)
  • Yesterday I was complaining moaning about how tired I am of “grey and gloomy.” But really, is sunny and warm too much to expect? 😉

That’s all for right now. See you soon.

Carolyn aka Skip

The black dog syndrome

Taking a good picture of something black…something deep, rich, unadulterated black…is a challenge for any photographer, but especially for an inexperienced photographer. It’s enough of a challenge that it even has a name:The black dog syndrome. While I wouldn’t consider myself inexperienced, I’m far from being an expert. Some things I get right. Some things I don’t. Photographing black objects is in the latter category. Today my challenge was getting pictures of red-winged blackbirds that included the right amount of detail in the darker tones. Take a look at the photo gallery below, and you will see what I’m talking about (Click on any picture to scroll through the gallery).

The pictures were taken with a Nikon D7100 and processed in Lightroom 5. If you have any suggestions for improving them, especially the blackbirds, please  reply below. All comments are appreciated!

That’s it for today! Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

For the Record
  • Weather: The high temperature was 61 degrees. The morning was overcast and the afternoon was drizzly.
  • Exercise: According to the app on my phone, I walked 6133 steps or almost three miles.
  • Yahoo! It’s no wonder I’m tired tonight.

For the past three months (January through March) something huge has been missing in my life…something spelled e-x-e-r-c-i-s-e. My approach to exercise for many years has been to pick up my camera and head out the door to one of our great local parks. For years I have walked week in and week out straight through the winter, but this winter did me in. With single digit temperatures and more than enough snow, the trails became treacherous. Simply put, my daily walks didn’t happen. It’s almost April, and I can’t wait for the first warm day. Unfortunately, today wasn’t it. When the sun rose, the thermometer read 18 degrees (Fahrenheit), and it didn’t go much above that all day. Maybe tomorrow? I’m hoping! How about you?

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Skip aka Carolyn

Sharing is NOT an option!

2015_01_13_Chagrin River Park_073

The red-bellied woodpecker thought she had the post to herself until company showed up. If sharing is NOT an option, what will happen next?

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

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