If I’m wrong, please correct me, but I’m guessing this is a male American Redstart. I found a hot-spot for migratory birds along the trail today, and this colorful bird was among the crowd. A later spring migrant in northeast Ohio, redstarts arrive around mid-May. It is a medium-sized bird with bright orange patches on its wings and tail that it flashes to attract insect prey so it can capture them. It definitely attracted my attention, and I was able to snap a few pictures of the male and one less colorful female.Here are the others:
Trying to grab a few pictures of these small, quick-moving birds was a fun challenge. I was delighted that I captured this many pictures. The spring migration is in full swing here in Ohio, so a walk in the woods can be an exciting experience for this amateur photographer, as well as a lot of fun. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’ll head down the trail to check out this hot-spot again.
Spring is here! The red-winged blackbird has been announcing if for the last few weeks. Still, you couldn’t prove it by today’s temperature which hovered around 42 degrees when we set out for our morning walk. Nevertheless, cold or not, Mabel was ready for her walk, so there we were, Bob, Mabel, and I trotting down the trail. Mabel doesn’t saunter, she trots, so she sets us a lively pace until we have gone at least a mile. Then she may slow down to a reasonable speed.
Despite the morning chill in the air, one red-bellied woodpecker persistently posed, flying from tree-to-tree, and stopping just long enough for me to capture these pictures. (Click on a picture to see the larger versions).
He looks like a young woodpecker to me. Although I’m not a woodpecker expert, I could tell he was having fun.
In addition to the woodpecker, a tiny titmouse posed too…
…as did Mr. and Mrs. Northern Cardinal. The male showing off his flashy red coat and Lady Cardinal posing in her rich golden hues.
My last bird portrait today was a bluejay…
Before heading home, I paused at the top of the sledding hill and took a couple of landscape shots. Our proximity to Lake Erie dictates that spring will usually be late arriving in Northeast Ohio, and this spring has been true to form. When spring does finally arrive, I can’t resist capturing some pictures of the fresh, vibrant green of new grass and budding trees.
And when the steelhead trout begin their run on the Chagrin River, I always try to capture a shot or two of the fishermen in action.
Watching them makes me wonder why on earth anyone would stand in the river holding a fishing rod for hours on end in such cold weather. Then I remember that I have been shivering as I wandered along the trails, camera in hand. My conclusion: We’re all a little crazy when it comes to our hobbies.
Thanks for visiting today’s blog post.
I hope you stop by often.
Today’s first discovery showed up before we reached the park when I spotted this bluebird in the backyard. He appears pretty regularly in the morning, right about breakfast time. Often I don’t see him again until the next morning, but it is still a treat to get a daily visit.
In the park, I was delighted to discover a beautiful brown thrasher scrabbling around in the leaf litter along the trail. He was hard to spot because he blended so well with the dead leaves, and he was even harder to photograph because he wasn’t interested in posing. He was way too busy searching for tasty tidbits for his breakfast. I’ve read that these brown thrashers are the only thrasher species east of Texas, and they are known to be exuberant singers with extensive repertoires. Click on one of the pictures for a closer look.(Sorry I can’t include the song, but this bird was too busy rummaging through the leaf litter to treat us to a concert this morning).
After watching the thrasher for a while, I paused near the fence rail where I photographed a white-throated sparrow and a male cardinal.
I would’ve liked to continue on down the trail, but my companions, Bob and Mabel the sheepdog, wanted to head home so they could share a piece of toast and get started on the morning’s agenda. (For Mabel, that would be a nap!) So that’s it for today trail walk.
See you soon, fellow walkers! Thanks for joining me today.
Trail Walker aka Skip
The windy, wet, 38 degree day is definitely not what drew me outside for a trail walk in Chagrin River Park this morning. No Way! What got me out was what I have written about in previous blog posts: my intention to be more active and my determination to increase my stamina and energy. So after breakfast, when the rain had let up, Bob, Mabel (the sheepdog) and I took to the trail.
There wasn’t much to see, but I did capture pictures of a few little birds:
If the birds look a bit bedraggled, that’s exactly how I was feeling. Frozen fingers and wet feet aren’t appealing; however, I am determined to log more miles/steps every day, and Mabel can be pretty demanding if she doesn’t get her morning walk, so out we went. Windy, wet, and bedraggled, but proud of the progress I am making in keeping up with my intentions. (For more about those intentions, read this earlier blog post.)
See you soon, trail walkers.
Keep those fingers crossed for “springier” weather!
Join me for a little early morning birding on the first truly beautiful spring day. The morning dawned cool and hazy and got better as the day went on. By evening, under sunny skies, the park was filled with people…and birds… enjoying our first real taste of spring.
I don’t have anything else to say. I just wanted to share the beauty of this morning walk.
See you soon for another stroll in the park.
Join me for a walk and be sure to bring your camera.
As I walked the trails in Chagrin River Park this week, I didn’t see too many signs of spring; however, I am remaining true to the intentions I wrote about several weeks ago in this blog post.
The most interesting thing I spotted today was this bird …
The towhee is not a rare bird, but I think it is a beauty, probably because I am partial to the combination of black and rusty orange. They are described as “sometimes secretive, but often common,” and they like to scratch in the dirt and leaf litter for insects, seeds and berries. I read that in the nesting season the males become bolder, often singing from high perches. I guess it isn’t nesting season yet, because so far this spring I’ve only seen them scratching on the ground.
Here are a few more bird pictures I’ve captured this week:
And finally, here’s an update on my intentions to increase my time spent on the trail. I have been pushing myself to get out on the trail whenever the weather is reasonable, i.e. not pouring rain or snow. Today the temperature was only 43 degrees, but I’ve walked 3.2 miles so far (7,914 steps). I realize that isn’t the recommended 10,000 steps, but I’m patting myself on the back anyway. My current goal is 5000 steps for each day on the trail, and I am exceeding that on most days.
That’s it for today, trailwalking friends.
See you soon for another update…
and more pictures from the trail.
Before I headed to the park for a trail walk today, I glanced out my kitchen window and was pleased to see bluebirds in the back yard. The little fellow pictured above, looks somewhat unhappy. I wonder if he is upset because the starlings and grackles have been overly aggressive, and taken over the backyard feeders. So I quickly grabbed a few bluebird pictures before the starlings and grackles chased them off.
As always, my heart lifted when I saw the bluebirds. I only wish they would move in to the nesting box and stay all summer. I would love to see them raise their little ones where I can watch the process.
After breakfast, I took my camera and headed to Chagrin River Park, hoping to see something unusual, and I did! Although not rare, this tiny songbird, a golden crowned kinglet, is always on the move. It has a twitchy foraging behavior, making capturing a picture a real challenge. Pose for the camera? No way! It zips and zaps from tree to tree and sometimes the male even conceals the identifying yellow spot that gives them their name. Thankfully a friend, who knows a lot more birds than I do, responded to my email asking for an ID.
That was the highlight of my photowalk. I continued down the trail and captured a few more pictures. A song sparrow, singing its heart out, was perched by the river. I also captured two photos of a white-throated sparrow. For some reason, they always make me smile. And then finally I got a clear shot of a male northern cardinal. The female wasn’t available for a photo opp today.
I’ll end today’s blog post with a view of the Chagrin River, taken from the top of the sledding hill.
That’s it for today.
Join me for my next photo walk.
Maybe we’ll see some migrating birds along the trail.
Walking in the park today, I saw a lot of mallard ducks, both male and female. The males, like the handsome fellow pictured above, were at times swimming sedately in the river and, at other times, diving down for a treat. Comically waving their orange-colored feet in the air, they scrambled around underwater, searching for food .
At the same time, their female counterparts, splashing around nearby, were having absolutely fabulous fun, as you can see from the smiles on their faces.
Who knew that ducks could have that much fun?
That’s it for today’s photowalk, friends. Come back soon for another trek down the trail, and don’t forget to bring your camera because you never know what we will see!
My intention for 2019 is to create a blog post at least twice each week. As you can see from my record so far this year, I haven’t been very successful despite my good intentions. As I post this, on March 14th, we are much closer to April Fool’s Day than to New Year’s Eve. My (poor) record speaks for itself, and if I continue at this (slow) pace, I’m in danger of feeling a little foolish, or negligent at best.
However, to borrow another idiom that seems to fit my situation: Better late than never…because my intention is related to two specific goals: to get more exercise and the improve my photography. Both are still possible in 2019. After all, we’ve not yet a third of the way through the year. So with my goals in mind, I took my camera and hit the trail in Chagrin River Park several times this week, which is where I spotted the deer at the top of this post and captured her picture, as well as those below.
That’s my bounty for this trail walk. I only walked about a mile, but that’s a start. Wish me luck, or, better yet, put on your walking shoes and join me.