A walk in the park…part 2

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Lone fisherman in the shadow of the “power towers”

I ended my last post with the words, “I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post.” “Tomorrow” turned out to be longer than I expected,” but finally, after several frenetically busy days, I have come back to share the pictures from Last Friday’s walk in Chagrin River Park. At the top of today’s post is a picture of a fisherman wading in the shadow of the power towers in Eastlake, Ohio. Looming behind those huge steel structures, which somehow remind me of the legs of huge, metal grasshoppers, are the power plant’s smoke stacks. If you were standing at the base of those tall stacks, your walking shoes would be a few feet from Lake Erie.

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Turn your back to Lake Erie and with your feet pointed (more or less) southeast, walk past the Rural Road picnic shelter and playground. The river will be on your right as you follow the trail.

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Scenery along the trail
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I spotted this red-bellied woodpecker.
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Glimpse of the river along the trail
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The Chagrin viewed from the pedestrian bridge

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Eventually, after huffing and puffing up and down a few hills, you will find yourself standing at the base of the sledding hill. Climb the stairs to the top, sit down on one of the benches, and look back down the trail that brought you to this point.

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That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting.
Stop by soon, and we’ll see what else we can find along the trail
Trail Walker

A walk in the park

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Friday dawned with sunny, but cool weather, so as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared off the table, I pulled on a warm jacket and headed to Chagrin River Park. There weren’t many birds willing to pose for a picture, although I did spot a female cardinal. That’s her at the top of this post. Most of the pictures I took today were landscapes and riverscapes, (Is that really a word?) I don’t have time to post them all tonight because my eyes are already at half-mast and bed is calling, but along with the lady cardinal, here are three of my favorites:
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By afternoon, the clouds you can see in these pictures had turned into drizzle, so I was very thankful that I had put  my trail walk before my housework. I will save the rest of the pictures for tomorrow’s post. Please come back then. (There will be at least two more birds!)

See you tomorrow…
after I finish the housework I neglected today.

~Trail Walker

Recent trail walk revisited

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Bob and two of his fire pit friends

I “mined” my recent trail walk album for other pictures I want to share. In yesterday’s post, I focused (pun intended) on some deer I saw along the trail; today  I want to share  a few other pictures from that walk, starting with the group around the fire pit at the top of this post. In some neighborhoods, you would find a group like this meeting over a cup of coffee in the local Starbucks or over a beer in the neighborhood bar. In our neighborhood, the fire pit in Chagrin River Park is the gathering place for this group of men every afternoon in all seasons. When the whole group is present, the benches are filled, but this was a slow afternoon.

Take a short walk down the trail, and this is the view you will see:
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Sometimes, like this afternoon, there will be fishermen on the river like this one, hoping to catch some steelhead trout. I didn’t hang around long enough to find out if he was successful, but it is a pretty popular fishing hole.

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Further down the river there is an overlook where we stopped to see if any herons were fishing for their dinner. No herons today! Possibly because of the kids playing on the beach.
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They were having a good time, but I’ll have to wait for another day to capture my picture of a heron in the river. To close out today’s post, here is one more little deer, cropped into a tight closeup.
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That’s it for today. Time to get supper on the table.
See you again soon.
Trail Walker

Wildlife

I caught sight of the green heron at the top of today’s post hidden among the reeds in the bog, and one glimpse was enough to stop me in my tracks. A green heron is not a rare sighting in this area, but it’s rare enough that the sight made my heart beat a little faster.  To be sure I would get a few sharp images, I took a deep breath and shot off multiple frames before continuing  down the trail toward the owl nest. I was hoping the owlets would be visible today.

Momma Owl wasn’t in sight, but her two rapidly growing owlets were perched in plain sight in their treetop nest. Although I only have a 70-300mm lens, not nearly long enough for a clear shot at that distance, I was pretty happy with the picture I captured. I would love to own a 600mm lens, but I know realistically I wouldn’t be able to lug a heavy camera and huge lens (plus a tripod) down the trail. Some photographers do it, but I’m not that strong, so I have to be  satisfied with the equipment I own. I only captured one good shot of the owlets today…

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…but here are two more shots of the herons and a few more photo opps I captured on the walk back to my car.

That’s it for today, Trail Walkers, but the sun is shining, and it’s time to get my camera and walking shoes to see if I can capture a few more images before the sun goes down.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit today. See you soon!
Leave a comment if you have anything to share. I love to chat!

Trail Walker

 

Iridescent feathers, wattles, and a snood

Read on to find out what those words have to do with this trail walk.

Yesterday, our temperature, which has been stuck (seemingly forever) near the freezing mark, soared to 75 degrees. I could scarcely believe it! Today is almost the same…a good day for a walk in the park. But before I turn to spring, here are a few more pictures from my last trail walk. Has spring finally sprung?

I headed down the trail to check out the owls’ nest and got a surprise. Meandering around beneath the owl tree was a rafter of wild turkeys. Take a look at the pattern and colors of their feathers, especially their heads. They are strange-looking birds:
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Although I was totally unaware of this important fact, and probably the turkeys are also, wild turkey hunting in the northeast zone of Ohio opens to hunters on Monday, April 30. These colorful birds with their iridescent feathers and pink and blue wattles, would be advised to stay in the park where hunting is prohibited until the season ends.

Who knew? Did you?
  • The long, red, fleshy area that grows from the forehead over the bill is a “snood” while the fleshy growth under the turkey’s throat is called a wattle.
  • A group of turkeys is called a “rafter.”
  • Male turkeys are called toms. Females are called hens.
  • Only tom turkeys gobble. Hens make a clucking sound.
  • Baby turkeys are called poults.
  • Male turkeys have pink and red faces, and when aroused, red, white and blue heads.

That’s it for today, and it may be more than you really wanted to know about turkeys, but they are interesting critters and words fascinate me. I’m off to the park now.  it’s time to enjoy some rare spring weather.

See you soon, Trail Walkers!

Sunday Stroll

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Despite being unseasonably cold, as you can see from the hats, gloves, and winter jackets on these walkers, Sunday afternoon was a good time for a trail walk. After visiting the owl and owlet you can see in my recent post, I strolled on down the trail to see what else was happening on this chilly afternoon.

My first stop was the rail fence where a redwinged blackbird was announcing his presence.  Watching the blackbird, I also glimpsed a song sparrow hiding in a nearby thicket. Capturing a good picture of her was challenging, but the focus is pretty good despite all the brambles obstructing the view (Remember you can click on a picture to enlarge it).

Farther down the trail, approaching the bog, I was hoping to spot the bluebird I saw when I walked this trail last week. Unfortunately, no bluebirds showed up today, but several other birds were winging from treetop to treetop, high over the bog.

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downy (or hairy) woodpecker
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red-bellied woodpecker (male)

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Finally, while passing the bog, I stopped to watch some mallards playing in the water. Just watching them chilled my bones despite my heavy jacket, but I shot off a couple of frames for my son-in-law Mike who likes to see the mallards. Some of the ducks were splashing around in the water, creating waves and sending huge droplets into the air, but these two were just parked on a log, almost as if they were posing for a portrait, so I was happy to oblige.

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Male mallard #1
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Male mallard #2

 

The end of the trail was nearly in sight, my toes were “froze,” and I was ready to head for home. Thanks for coming along on my Sunday stroll.

See you soon.
Hopefully the weather will be warmer!
Trail Walker

Playground games

You never know who is going to show up and claim to be top bird on the playground. These birds remind me of my grade school playground where “King of the Hill” was a popular recess activity.  Today’s competitors include King Cardinal and a hopeful challenger,  a much smaller but determined sparrow.

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But before the contest can be decided,  an even bossier bird enters the fray, sends the contestants flitting away, and claims the crown as King of the Post!

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The winner!

The bell rings.
Recess is over.
But tomorrow will be another day on the playground.

Sometimes it’s just fun to add a little imagination to the pictures!

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Short post: Cute birds, few words!

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No time for a trail walk today, and to tell the truth, trail walking when the wind is almost strong enough to blow me over (slightly exaggerated, but not much!) is not something I’m likely to do. Here’s hoping we will see some serious improvements in the current version of “spring” by this time next week!

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you again as soon as the weather warms up
and the wind stops “blowing a hoolie!”
Trail Walker

Finally…a blue-sky morning

When I came downstairs for breakfast this morning, I was amazed to see a beautiful blue sky outside my window. Knowing that a blue sky in the morning can become a dull, overcast sky by noon, I hurried through breakfast and made it to the park with time to spare. First stop was the owl tree to see if Momma Owl was awake.

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The owl tree
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There’s Momma, napping in the top of the tree.

She was, as usual when I come to visit, sound asleep. Maybe she was up all night hunting for breakfast? That’s one theory, but I haven’t actually seen any owlets yet, although another photographer reported a sighting last week. I have a lot to do today, so I didn’t linger at the base of the tree to see if anything would happen. I shot off a few frames and headed back down the trail to see what else I could find.

Nothing much was happening at the split rail fence, so I walked a little farther down the trail toward the river, and bonanza! I encountered a bluebird, and she was happy to pose for the camera.

 

 

We have been hoping that a pair of bluebirds will move into one of our nesting boxes, but so far none of the blue beauties have shown more than a passing interest in either box. Although I am becoming a little discouraged, I haven’t given up hope yet. Spring isn’t even in full bloom. Maybe we need to hire a real estate agent to post ads about the wonderful homes that are available in the neighborhood. Do you think that would work? I wonder how classified ads would work in the birding community? Or would glossy, full page ones look better?

Here are several more pictures taken by the split-rail fence earlier in the week before the rain moved in.

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male cardinal
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redwinged blackbird
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tufted titmouse

 

And finally, before I close down for the afternoon, here’s a red-bellied woodpecker who showed up for this morning’s walk in Chagrin River Park.
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That’s all, folks. I’m running out of blogging time. Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk. I really appreciate your company and your comments.

See you next week!
Trail Walker

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