Evening in the park

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This little herd of deer was standing near the split rail fence, one of my favorite bird watching locations, when I went to the park with my camera on Sunday evening. They were more interested in browsing than curious about what I was doing, so I decided to take their picture before I headed out for a little bird photography.

The light was getting low, but the birds were still active, and this time I had remembered to bring a handful of peanuts to reward them. There were cardinals, both male and female, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and more. Here is the woodpecker gallery:


The male cardinals were wearing brilliant  red coats this evening. Maybe the light had something to do with making them look especially beautiful. The female cardinal, sitting by herself in the branches of a nearby tree, chose not to pose with the redcoats

Then there were two downy woodpeckers:
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And a greedy nuthatch…
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And finally one of my favorites, the red-bellied woodpecker, put in an appearance. She was being somewhat elusive this evening. She swooped past, but didn’t stay for long, and I missed my chance to get her picture. This happened several times. Every time she came close, I was too late with the camera. To say the least, I wasn’t on the top of my game, but finally I was ready, and here is the result:

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It’s a good thing too because the sun was getting low and I was getting cold. I was happy to call it a night. Thanks for coming out on this chilly evening.

I’ll see you soon.
~Trail Walker

Birding on New Year’s Day

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Not a bird!

I spotted this pretty doe standing in the meadow on the other side of the split-rail fence. When she walked in my direction, I decided she should be the featured image for my New Year’s Day post, even if she isn’t a bird. So here she is!

Now on to a few birds. Because the morning was cold and overcast without even a glimmer of sunshine, some of my images came out blurry (Reminder to me to pay closer attention to my camera settings); however, a large and varied flock of little birds were flitting around near some fallen trees, probably because someone (not this someone, but possibly another photographer better prepared than I) had sprinkled a few bird seeds on the ground to celebrate the holiday!

After a while, my frozen fingers and toes (and my growling tummy) signaled that it was time for lunch, so I reconnoitered with my walking buddies, and we trekked along the trail back to the parking lot and headed home.

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Bob and Mabel

Today’s walk reminded me again that any day is a good day for a trail walk, even when the sun doesn’t shine. Thanks for walking along with us today. See you soon.

Sunshine or clouds, I’ll see you along the trail.
Trail Walker

 

Sunday evening at dusk

My neighbor and I took a short walk along the river trail in Chagrin River Park this evening, the last Sunday evening of 2018. I didn’t capture any spectacular pictures, but the light was good, the crisp air was refreshing, and we had a good “chin wag” as my photographer friends from the British Isles might call it.

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Ollie, the baby rottweiler
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Looking up the river with the sun setting behind me
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Marti, trying out her new walking sticks
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Fishermen on the river

We met many other walkers and several dogs along the trail, making this a peaceful way to end the day. If you haven’t taken an evening walk recently, why not give it a try? Just be sure to dress warmly. In my latitude, the air gets a bit brisk as the sun sinks below the horizon. (For more about today click here.)

Wishing you a Happy New Year…
with many good photo opps!
~Trail Walker

There’s nothing quite like it!

 

Nothing quite like what, you ask? Well, to be honest, you may or may not agree with me, but I maintain that there’s nothing quite like a trail walk in the first real snow of the season. It isn’t even winter yet, just the downhill end of Autumn, but on this December morning we woke up to snow-covered trails, slippery slopes, and frigid fingers. And oh, how glorious to walk down the trail through a pristine white world…such a contrast to our earlier Autumn walks.

I’m reluctant to admit it, but Autumn with its blue skies, crisp air, and vibrant palette has truly come to an end, and we are faced with Winter: the season of boots with cleats to prevent slipping and sliding, gloves that challenge me as I try to press the shutter button, and lenses (the camera and mine) that constantly fog over as I exhale in the frosty air. Winter brings with it a myriad of new challenges for the trail walking photographer, but new joys come with the challenges. Here are just a few that I spotted along the trail this snowy morning:

Whitetailed deer
The does are more curious than fearful.
A female northern cardinal
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White-breasted nuthatch
Another cardinal. The red male cardinals were hiding today!
A stare down with two does!
I’m not sure of the identity of this bird, but it posed perfectly!

That’s it for today, trailwalkers. I hope you liked this preview of sights we’ll see on future  wintry walks. Be sure to wear lots of layers and get some cleats to put on your boots for our next winter walk.

Thanks for trudging down the trail with me!
Sharing the trail makes each walk extra special.
~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

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

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

New day—New trail walk

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Good morning, Trail Walkers. I hope you’re ready for another trek along the trails in Chagrin River Park. It never get monotonous for me when I’m out on the trail, but recently I’m seeing the same birds day after day. Here’s hoping that the coming of spring will soon bring some migratory birds back to the  trails.  My photos from yesterday are all birds, but I was drawn to the image at the top of today’s page because it shows more of the meadow. I hope you like it. Here are a few more regulars that posed for a photo  opp yesterday:

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Blue jay
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He’s happy to find a peanut!

There was plenty of titmouse action this morning. These little birds make me smile because they are perpetually perky, or at least they seem to be. They even sound perky.

The red-winged blackbird is one of the earliest signs of spring in Northeast Ohio. Long before other noticeable signs and sounds of spring appear along the trails, the harsh nasal voice of this bird tells a trail walker that spring is coming. It’s always a good sound to hear, even though experience reminds me that the trees won’t be budding and blooming any time soon… at least not here along the south shore of Lake Erie.

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Let’s end today’s trail walk with a perennial favorite. Everyone recognizes this bird. The state bird of Ohio and several other states, the cardinal lives here year-round, and looks especially beautiful when I spot it on a tree branch, surrounded by freshly fallen snow.

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I’m thankful there wasn’t any snow along the trail yesterday.  I’ve had enough for this year. True spring can’t arrive soon enough for me!

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you in a few days.
~Trail Walker

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