Posted in autumn, Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Happy Anniversary to US!

Last month Bob and I celebrated our 58th wedding anniversary. You might say that’s a milestone occasion, worthy of a major celebration, and I would agree. However, neither of us was in the mood that afternoon to get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner like we did last year. Instead, as the chilly day drew to a close, we put on our jackets and headed to nearby Chagrin River Park for a  walk along the trails.

One of the advantages of being married to your best friend for 58 years is that a quiet trail walk together is equally as celebratory as throwing a big party, with the bonus that it is peaceful, free, and five minutes from home!

Posted in Chagrin River Park, heart-healthy trailwalking, summer

A new personal best

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I was working on my computer yesterday afternoon when Bob stuck his head in the office door and announced, “I’m going for a walk.”

“Where are you going?”

“To the end of the street.”

Curious at the lack of a definite destination, I asked, “You’re not walking to the park are you?”

“Maybe. I’ll see how I feel.”

Now the park entrance is about a mile from home. Not a long walk, but the longest he has taken since his surgery. So I replied, “Let me know how you feel when you reach Reeves Road please.”

You can’t keep a good man down, and Bob definitely fits that category, so I was not surprised when he called a little while later to say he was heading down the hill to visit with his friends at the fire pit.

Wrapping up my work on the computer (a little sooner than I had planned), I grabbed my camera and car keys and headed to the park where I met Bob at the fire pit.  After I took a few more pictures, we walked through the woods to the Rural Road picnic shelter where I had parked the car and headed for home.

It was a good day for both of us, and definitely more than a few steps forward. I’m not sure how Gulliver would have felt if he knew we were taking a trail walk without him, but he is a senior canine now. Trail walks through the woods are not his favorite pastime these days. For now he’s happy to roll and relax in the grass in our front yard.
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That’s it for today’s trail walk.
Thanks for coming along. ~Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, heart-healthy trailwalking, My trail walks, summer

Determination

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Does this doe look determined? I spotted her walking toward me as we exited our car to begin a short trail walk, and I thought she looked pretty determined as she headed our way. Nothing was going to stop her as she made her way down the trail. When she realized we were close by, she simply veered around us and kept on moving.

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That’s the kind of determination I need as Bob and I resume our trail walks in the park, so I am hoping to emulate her attitude every time we hit the trail.

On this particular afternoon, we weren’t planning to take a long walk because it was a misty, muggy, uncomfortable summer day, but we went far enough for me to get these pictures to kick off my summer trail walking gallery.

Reaching the fire pit, Bob sat for a little while to talk with some friends, while I took more pictures. Mercifully there was no fire burning today.
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That’s it for today’s heart-healthy trail walk. We didn’t add any great distance on the pedometer, but it’s a start…and we have to start somewhere. Hopefully, by summer’s end, we will measure our distance in miles instead of yards because we are determined to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, and trail walking is one of the key factors in that lifestyle.

Thanks for coming along on today’s trail walk!
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Color me Spring!, My trail walks

The wrens have returned!

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When we’re talking birds, migration is a fascinating topic, especially in the spring when the woods are awake with the sight and song of the warblers and other birds that haven’t been around during the cold winter months.

The bird pictured above, a house wren, is small and looks sweet, but according to my i-bird app, they are fiercely territorial and have been known to destroy the eggs of bluebirds and other small birds. So…definitely not sweet! However it is fun to watch them “feather their nesting holes” and settle in for the summer. One afternoon this week I hung around for a half-hour or so and watched for this little one to return to the nesting hole. When she did, I snapped a sequence of pictures as she came to her “front door” and peered outside.

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Look closely and, in a few of the pictures, you can see the “sawdust” on her beak, a result of her efforts to excavate the nest. That’s something human mothers don’t have to do to provide a home for their newborn babies.

This same skinny tree has been used before, perhaps by the same wren. Reportedly they can live up to seven years in the wild, so this could be the same little bird I’ve seen in past years. However, this year the entrance to the nest is on the side of the tree facing the trail. In previous years, it was on the other side; the bird would fly up to the (very skinny) tree, land on the side facing the bog, and disappear inside. She is just one of numerous wrens that have returned to the bog in recent days. I don’t know how many there are, but, according to Wikipedia, the house wren is the most widely distributed bird in the Americas, and as I walk along the trail, I can hear their melodic song from high and low on both sides of the trail.

One final fact for this post is that a group of wrens can be referred to by several different names: a chime, flight, flock, or even a herd of wrens. A herd of wrens? That takes me back to my teen years when I would go with my father to inspect the herds of dairy cows that produced milk the farmers were shipping to market in Philadelphia. That was another time, another place, and a very different animal from this herd of wrens that has moved into Chagrin River Park for the summer. I wonder who would possibly have come up with the term “herd of wrens?” As a term for a group of wrens, it certainly doesn’t work for me; nevertheless, the park is filled with their song, and I enjoy seeing and hearing this “herd” of migratory birds.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Color me Spring!, My trail walks, northern flicker

Love those birds!

I was standing next to the trail, watching a house wren “feathering her nest,” when I spotted two birds on a branch high over my head. I couldn’t see them clearly with my naked eye, so you can imagine my surprise when I downloaded them to my computer after I got home.

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Female flicker
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Male and female
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Lovebirds!

Talk about serendipity! I couldn’t believe my luck in capturing these two beautiful birds…together! The house wren pictures came out pretty good also, but I will post them another day. Today belongs to the flickers. Hope you like them. For you bird lovers, a group of flickers are collectively known as a “guttering”, “menorah”, and “Peterson” of flickers. Who knew? I definitely didn’t, but now you do!

Thanks for joining me along the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
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 Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

A didgeridoo: An unusual sight to see (and hear) along the trail in Chagrin River Park

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Anyone familiar with my blog is aware that most of my posts originate from my experiences along the trail in local parks. Today’s post is not an exception, but it is somewhat unusual and definitely different from the usual sights I typically see along the trail.

That’s not the didgeridoo pictured at the top of the page,  but except for that little tufted titmouse, a common sight along the trail, I took all of today’s photos around the fire pit at the bottom of the sledding hill in Chagrin River Park. Someone had built a little fire in the fire pit, but there were no frozen sled riders warming up around the flames. Yesterday’s high temperature topped out  somewhere around 73 degrees, truly an anomaly for March in northeast Ohio. However, the usual group of regulars had gathered around the fire, and were being entertained by Ryan and his didgeridoo.
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For the uninitiated, the didgeridoo is a wind instrument. Said to be the oldest wind instrument in the world, it originated with the Aborigines in Australia, many, many years ago. People who play it well, need to have excellent breath control and be willing to practice…a lot! Ryan, who brought his didgeridoo to Chagrin River Park, told me the instrument has been used to help people who have sleep apnea and by people who practice meditation. Ryan teaches yoga and has also used the instrument with his yoga classes. One more interesting fact about this unusual instrument: It is traditionally made from eucalyptus trees that have been hollowed out by termites.

I was curious and wanted to know more about the didgeridoo, so I googled it and found plenty of information online. A large number of recorded TED Talks included expert performances.  If you’re curious and want to hear this instrument played, here are a couple of links to help you get started…

… and below are a few more pictures of Ryan and his didgeridoo.

You never know what you might see along the trail in Chagrin River Park, and I’m glad I ran into Ryan at the fire pit today. It was an unexpected treat to hear his didgeridoo.

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, My trail walks

Winter just won’t let go!

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Low temps, high winds, and snow: That was our weather forecast for Sunday through Wednesday. Thankfully the nasty weather loosened its grip by Tuesday afternoon, and the temperature rose to about 28 degrees, comfortable enough for me to take a short trail walk in Chagrin River Park. The river looked cold…

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…and so did the bog!

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The cardinals, however, didn’t seem to mind the weather. After taking a little walk along the river, I decided to visit the rail fence to see if any birds were hanging around. They were there, but unfortunately I had forgotten to put some peanuts in my pocket, and I had nothing to offer them. It was sad to see them fly in from every direction and check the fence post, only to find it empty. I even heard some unhappy chirps. It sounded as if they were scolding me for being so forgetful. I won’t forget next time, but this was an impromptu visit, and I forgot to put the peanut bag in my pocket! I still managed to get some pictures, and I was pleased with how they turned out. (I love my new lens!)

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As you can see, the sun was shining. That was totally unexpected, and it made for a short, and delightful (but still cold), trail walk.

Thanks for walking with me today.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, Dogs and their people, My trail walks

Two dog day ☀️

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On this surprisingly sunny afternoon, when rain had been predicted, I joined the crowd in Chagrin River Park intent on trying out the new lens Bob gave me for my birthday. It was a beautiful day for a trail walk, and I learned some things about my lens. One of its best features is capturing impromptu portraits of people and dogs, something I truly enjoy doing. I first ran into Gabby, an adorable golden doodle, when I was watching the ducks on the bog. Gabby, short for Gabriella I believe, was walking with her person. She waited patiently while Jack and I had a long conversation about the weather, the ducks, and Gabby of course. I learned that as long as I scratched her head, she would stand patiently, leaning against my leg.  As I said, she is adorable!

In a very short time, I met up with Scampy and his person, Ellen.

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Ellen adopted Scampy, a havanese, from an Amish farm in Ohio. She told me that when she went to meet her new companion, a little girl ran out of the house followed by this sweet, nearly three-year-old, puppy. The little girl had named him Scampy. Ellen liked the name, so Scampy he is. It suits him very well, and I am sure the little girl was delighted. I googled “havanese” because I wasn’t sure how to spell it, and read that they are companionable, intelligent, and affectionate. It’s hard to believe that Ellen could have found a better friend. She lives alone, and her day is complete when Scampy meets her at the door. I couldn’t decide which picture of the pair I preferred, so here they are again.

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I captured other pictures on today’s trail walk, but I will share them in a future blog post. Today belongs to Gabby, Scampy, and their human companions.

Thanks for joining me along the trail today.
See you soon. ~Trail Walker