November sneaked up on me!

2019_11_04__November 2019_0060Gingko
In my neck of the wood, that is on the south shore of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio, October is the best month to walk the trails with my camera. This October was truly fantastic, and I was having a marvelous time, but then Halloween arrived, and October came to an abrupt end! With a flip of the page on my calendar, November sneaked in. A couple of chilly days with the wind whipping through the trees, and I was sure that my fall photo walks were over for the year. So on November 4th, with some trepidation, I headed to the Arboretum to see what I would find.

Starting down the trail near the sugar maple tree, I was anxious to see what damage the change in weather had done to the tree that just a few days ago had been ablaze with richly colored orange leaves. It was a glorious sight to see! Today the maple was leafless, totally nude, as you can see at the top of this post. That was pretty discouraging! However, I decided I would walk the trail that circles Corning Lake, and I soon discovered that although October had come to an end, there was still plenty of color and beautiful pictures to capture. Nature always has wonderful sights to share. I should have had more faith!

Here are just a few to get the new month started. I will post more next week. (Click on any picture to enlarge the photos).

 

See you next week!
~Trail Walker

I couldn’t believe my eyes

2019_10_28__Holden Arboretum_0026
The sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky…October at its finest! I couldn’t believe my eyes! If you know me at all, you will know that I quickly packed up my camera and headed to the Arboretum for a photoshoot.  A morning like this is an unexpected gift…not to be spent indoors. I started down the trail as usual to see if there were any leaves remaining on the sugar maple tree, which had already reached its prime when I was here two days ago. On that rainy Saturday morning under grey skies, the maple looked like this…

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0074

Unfortunately, since my Saturday morning visit, rainy, windy weather had rolled in and spent the weekend. And as you can see in the picture at the top of this post, the gorgeous maple had passed its prime in those few days. This morning only a few lonely leaves were left, clinging to the branches.

Nevertheless, this was a glorious morning, so after taking the picture above, I set off down the trail, anticipating more Autumn color to come around the next curve in the trail. Just to whet  your appetite for an Autumn trail walk, here is a mosaic of a few more pictures I took this morning. I promise you there will be more spectacular sights like these trees, but it’s too late to post them tonight.

But I’ll be back in a day or two to share more Autumn joy!

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Special backyard visitors…

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0013

A pair of bluebirds made my heart happy today! I haven’t seen a sign of either one in months,  and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him sitting on top of the nesting box this morning.

And then she joined him and together they checked out the neighborhood.

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0010

She peered into the nest, and I wondered if she would approve of what she saw inside.

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0011

Disappearing inside to take a better look around, she inspected the box while he perched on top to survey the neighborhood, maybe keeping an eye out for the marauding neighborhood cat.

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0012

She climbed inside the nest, leaving him standing watch on the rooftop.

2019_10_26__untitled shoot_0008

We put up this new bluebird box six months ago, hoping a pair of bluebirds would move in and raise their young where we could enjoy their family shenanigans. Unfortunately, shortly after the new box was installed some aggressive house sparrows moved in and chased the bluebirds away.

But today the bluebirds returned for another look at the box. After Mrs. B. completed her inspection, they both flew away, so I have no idea what her decision was. For now, I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping they will return. Meanwhile, as I said, it made my heart happy to see them in our backyard today.

That’s all the neighborhood news for now.
See you in a few days.
Trail Walker (aka Skip)

Almost Autumn

2019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_0026
Today’s temperature hovered around 90 degrees as I headed out for a trail walk in Holden Arboretum. Although most of the trees along the trail are still green, a few, like the beauty above, are definitely announcing the arrival of Autumn. Am I looking forward to cooler temperatures? You bet I am! Hands down, Autumn is my favorite season, and I’m anticipating some colorful trail walks during October…and into November.

Here are the first pictures for my Autumn album:

2019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00332019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00272019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00192019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00182019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00092019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_00072019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_0003
And finally, one of my favorite trees: the sugar maple. Every year, I photograph the transition of this magnificent tree from summer into autumn and eventually winter. Here’s the first picture, still dressed in green garb, but preparing for the dramatic change coming in the months ahead.

2019_10_01__Holden Arboretum_0002
That’s it for week one of this year’s Autumn Album. If you are a trail walker who loves Autumn, come back next week when I will share more Autumn images.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Autumn isn’t over yet…

…as promised in my last post!



Late afternoon, and I had the Arboretum trails almost entirely to myself. One or two dogs were out for an afternoon stroll with their human companions, and I came upon one family group, but with no one to engage in conversation, I enjoyed a quiet stroll around Lotus Pond, down the hill to Blueberry pond (Pictured above), and back to the car park before dark. Come along and enjoy the beauty with me.

Trail near Lotus Pond
2018_11_11__Holden Arboretum_0014
Golden sweet gum tree

 

Of course, for me a trail walk at the Arboretum is not complete unless I make the circle around Lotus Pond to enjoy the many sides of the Golden Willow Tree.

Today, because I had a little time left before the sun sank below the horizon, I decided to follow the trail from Lotus Pond to Blueberry Pond. I hadn’t walked that way in a while and checking it out in near-dusk on this late Autumn afternoon was a delightful experience. The clump of birch trees to the left of the trail and the bench at the top of today’s blog post caught my eye, and I paused to capture a colorful photo of the shoreline of Blueberry Pond.

2018_11_11__Holden Arboretum_0038
Blueberry Pond
2018_11_11__Holden Arboretum_0024
Birch trees

From Blueberry Pond, I climbed the hill, returning to the visitor’s center where I found my car, sitting nearly solitary in the parking lot.  Chilled, but happy with the images I had collected, I stowed my camera pack in the back seat, started the car, turned on the heater, and headed home.

Thanks for joining me for today’s trail walk.
See you soon!
Trail Walker

 

Is it vacant now? A bluebird catastrophe

2018_10_30__untitled shoot_0104

A story I didn’t have the heart to tell until now.

Mr. Bluebird has just peeked into the nesting box. Perched on top, Mrs. B. is wondering if the box is available. “Have the sparrows left?” she queries. “Can we move in?” (That’s my guess at their conversation based on their actions and the expressions on their tiny faces.)

 

A few months earlier, when summer was at its peak, Mrs. B, with a little help from her mate, had diligently built a nest in this very same box. When the nest was ready, the time had come. She laid three tiny eggs in her carefully constructed nest, and both parents went to work keeping watch over their brood. Day after day, she tended the nest, making occasional quick trips outside to pick up more twigs and a grub or two, carrying them back to the nest in her beak. Sometimes Mr. Bluebird would bring her a grub or a worm, although he mostly patrolled the neighborhood, doing his best to keep the house sparrows and blue jays away from the little family.

2018_06_08__Holden Arboretum_00672018_06_14__Backyard birding_0070

Sadly, his best wasn’t good enough. One morning, when Momma and Poppa were both briefly out of the nest, an intruder got inside. How do I know that? I know because I had been keeping a close eye on the nest from my nearby kitchen window. Seeing the pair of beautiful blue birds, tending the nest so carefully, brought me great joy.

I checked on them every time I passed by the window, and then, one morning, tragedy struck. I glanced out the window and was horrified to see a house sparrow sitting on top of the nesting box, and the bluebirds were nowhere to be seen. I checked the nest often for the next few days. Occasionally I spotted Mr. Bluebird, perched on a nearby branch or on one of the feeders, his eyes scanning the neighborhood, but the momma was nowhere in sight. The house sparrows were around though, entering and leaving the nesting box they had quickly claimed as their own.

2018_06_15__Backyard birding_00682018_06_15__Backyard birding_0059

Finally, after a few days, we opened the box and discovered three tiny eggs, with a hole pecked in each one. We sadly cleaned out the box, hoping an empty box would discourage the sparrows. It did, but except for a very rare visit to the neighborhood, the bluebirds were gone. They didn’t return to the nest.

Then one day, months later, at the end of October, I was excited to see a bluebird, not just one, but a pair of bluebirds, in the backyard. I began to keep a close eye on the nest, as I had months earlier, and eventually, as I watched, Mr. Bluebird entered the nest, not once, but several times. And one of those times, a house sparrow flew up and tried to enter the nesting box when the bluebird was already inside. With a flurry of feathers and much beating of wings, the brave bluebird repelled the invader, as I stood at the window and cheered.

 

2018_11_07__untitled shoot_0024
Mr. Bluebird defending the nest!

What will happen next? I don’t know. I’m rooting for Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird, but the sparrows are persistent. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Please keep your fingers crossed too.
I’ll let you know what happens!
Trail Walker

Fall festivities

APC_0542

Fall festival at Patterson’s fruit farm is a wonderful family occasion…especially for those who have small children in tow. However, Bob and I don’t have small children or even small grandchildren. The youngest grandchild in our family turned 21 in April, so we usually avoid the fall festival, as colorful as it is. But on this day, when our visit to the doctor (to get some stitches removed from my face) took us in the direction of Patterson’s Fall Fest, Bob had an idea that appealed to me in more ways than one! He said, “Why don’t we stop at Patterson’s to get some apple dumplings?” How could I say “no” to that proposal? Had it been a Saturday or Sunday, I would have said, “Let’s not. It will be way too crowded!” But it was the middle of the week, so we decided to take a chance, and we were thankful we did. Although there were plenty of visitors, the crowd was manageable and everyone was enjoying the beautiful day. We had a great time, the apple dumplings, apple butter, and apple cider were delicious, and the view from the top of the hill was a bonus…especially for an amateur photographer like me. I couldn’t resist adding a few more “Color Me Autumn” pictures to my photo gallery.

Thanks for making the visit with us today. I hope you can find a fall festival to enjoy where you live. Be sure to take your camera…or at least your phone, which is the camera I had with me today.

See you again soon.
Trail Walker

Color Me Autumn!

Earlier this week, I lifted my eyes from the keyboard and glanced out the window next to my computer. It was already late afternoon on what had started out as a gloomy overcast day. To my delight, outside my window the sun was shining! I immediately went into action. Leaping out of my chair and grabbing my camera, I invited Bob to leave his desk and head to Holden Arboretum with me for an impromptu trail walk.

Two weeks earlier, I had visited the Arboretum, hoping to find the sugar maple tree crowned in glorious autumn color…not an unreasonable expectation in the middle of October. Normally we would have nearly reached peak color here on the south shore of Lake Erie by that time, but that afternoon, to my disappointment, the tree still looked much like it had in mid-summer: beautiful, but almost entirely green.

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0001
Sugar maple on October 16, 2018

Today, with the late afternoon sun shining and puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky, I almost held my breath as I hurried down the trail to where I could catch sight of the tree. My expectations weren’t high because the end of October is well past the time for peak color in northeast Ohio, and in a normal year, the maple would have lost most of its color and many of its leaves by the first of November (the day I am writing this post).

Then I rounded the curve in the trail and saw the maple.
My heart burst with joy.
I hadn’t missed its peak color after all!

2018_10_29__untitled shoot_0064
Sugar maple on October 29, 2018

2018_10_29__untitled shoot_0083
October 29-Another view of the sugar maple

Three more for today from my Color Me Autumn trail walks (Click to enlarge pictures)

Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
I’ll be back soon to share more Autumn joy.

Trail Walker

Autumn in the Arboretum

 

It was a perfect day for a trail walk, so I headed to Holden Arboretum because the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I hoped to find some photos to add to my “Color Me Autumn” collection. Parking my car, I hurried down the trail to the sugar maple tree, which by this time should be showing beautiful color. One glance at the tree, pictured above, told me that Autumn wasn’t making much progress. At least not yet! If I were to give it a grade, based on the colors I could see, I would probably give it a D+ (I’m a tough grader and, based on recent Octobers, my expectations are high). Frosty nights (but not too frosty) and bright, sunshiny days are the necessary conditions  to create the colors that make Autumn my favorite season. Walking all around the tree to view it from all angles, I realized, to my disappointment, that it was still mostly green. It’s a beautiful tree, but green isn’t what I was expecting to see the second week in October. Sigh! Oh well, I’ll just go back to the Arboretum next week and update my Autumn color report. Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures from week two. Although I’m giving today’s trail walk a low grade for “fall color,” it still earns high marks for overall beauty.

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0048
Golden willow tree

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0047
Golden willow tree

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0024
Finally: a fall colored tree!

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0020
Gazebo in the rhododendron garden

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0016
Fisherman’s blind

2018_10_16__Holden Arboretum_0005
Unusual color for Autumn

That’s all for this week, trail walking friends.
See you next week!
Trail Walker

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: