Posted in Great Horned Owls, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature photography

Three owls-awake today!

Yesterday I posted a picture of the Great Horned Owl and her two owlets. Typical of babies, the little owls napped right through their photo opp, but when I returned to check on them this afternoon, they were awake.

Their nest is at the top of a broken off tree, and it doesn’t look very cozy to me, but it is perfectly camouflaged for the little family. As you can see, the babies are growing rapidly, and it’s a tight squeeze for Momma and the two owlets to sit side-by-side.

Here’s a closeup of the larger owlet. He really takes up more than his share of the space in the nest. Maybe Momma will be relieved when they have fledged. What do you think?

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I thought the owlets would be cute, and I was surprised at their features. They look almost human, in a weird sort of way, but I wouldn’t call them cute. What do you think?

Thanks for taking a walk down the trail today.
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 Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

The river runs through it!

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Many of my trail walks are centered in Chagrin River Park because it is within walking distance of my home. Not surprisingly, the park is named for the river that runs through it, but there is some uncertainty about where the name of the river originated. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

The Chagrin River is located in Northeast Ohio.[1] The river has two branches, the Aurora Branch and East Branch. Of three hypotheses as to the origin of the name, the most probable is that it is a corruption of the name of a Frenchman, Sieur de Seguin, who established a trading post on the river ca. 1742.[2][3][4] The Chagrin River runs through suburban areas of Greater Cleveland in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Portage counties, transects two Cleveland Metroparks reservations, and then meanders into nearby Lake County before emptying into Lake Erie.

Whatever the origin of the name, the Chagrin is a great river for fishing, and at this time of year, when the salmon are running, fishermen come from far and wide (even from out-of-state) to try their luck. One afternoon recently, I spotted a flurry of activity along the river bank. Upon closer investigation, this is the event I witnessed:

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I learned, after the fact, from the two bystanders (on the right in the pictures), that the man with the rod is an avid retired fisherman who dedicates all his time to fishing the river. The bystanders, friends of mine, told me he had regaled them with amazing “fish tales.”

Just as they were leaving the scene to continue their walk, he hooked this fish and called them back to watch the drama play out. The man with the net was another fisherman who entered the fray when the fisherman called out, “Does anybody have a net?” They landed the fish, measured  and admired it, and ultimately released it, as required by law. The last two pictures show the release with the one bystander, at the request of the fisherman, snapping a few pictures of his catch of the day (The fisherman apparently didn’t know that I was standing at the top of the bank, capturing the entire scene).   Sometimes you just get lucky, and that afternoon the fisherman did, and so did I!

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

Before the warm up

2017_02_16_places-chagrin-river-park_winter-trail-walk_0029I won’t say this has been a mild winter, but I’m not going to complain about the harsh, frigid weather we’ve experienced this year. Have we have some really cold days? Oh yes, we have! And even more overcast, just-plain-dismal-days! However, we are way down in total inches of snow this winter, and there have been too many days when the dreariness made me decide to stay indoors and work on other photo-related projects instead of heading outside for a trail walk. As it turned out, yesterday was a good day for trailwalking. It was cold, but not bone-chilling. And it was dry…a real plus.

Gulliver, pictured above with Bob and one of the many deer that call the park home, was scheduled for a quick visit to the vet to have staples removed from his recent (very successful) surgery.We decided to take him for a short walk in the park before his appointment. Side note: Gully gets over-excited at the vet’s office and isn’t always his usual well-behaved self. We consider it a good visit if he doesn’t leave an unwelcome gift on the vet’s floor…all due to his nervousness. Thanks to our walk in the park, this was a good visit, although our walk was short to allow us to get to the appointment on time,

The meteorological  experts are predicting a February warmup over the next five days, meaning no new snow on the ground and probably mud in its place. We shall see! At any rate, here are just a few more pictures from the park to show what it looked like before the (predicted) February thaw.

Thanks for coming along on this short trail walk!
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, My trailwalks, Trail walking

Believe it or not…

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…we’ve been blessed with several sunny days this week, and I still have photos to share from my recent trail walk. The image at the top of this page is a view of the river with snow-covered rocks in the foreground. It’s a view I never tire of. Here are a few more views of the river trail and the pedestrian bridge:

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Even as I post this, three days later, we are still seeing sunny blue skies. Although they turned a little overcast as the hours went by today, it is still beautiful. Here is a picture I took this afternoon in the bog, so you can see its wintery beauty. I have to admit that I am looking forward to spring trail walks, but meanwhile, I will enjoy the bleak beauty of winter…especially on sunny days like this one.

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That’s it for today. Thanks for walking with me!
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature

I couldn’t believe my eyes!

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The clouds parted and the sun appeared in a beautiful blue sky this morning, and I truly couldn’t believe my eyes! What a difference a day can make! After trudging down the trail yesterday under completely overcast skies, with wet snow blowing in my face, I didn’t think I would see the sun today. And maybe not for the rest of the week! Or maybe not until April! So when I suddenly realized it was shining through the window where I was sitting in front of my computer, I felt like someone had handed me an unexpected and very special gift, beautifully wrapped and just waiting for me to tear off the wrapping and reveal the beauty inside.

Dashing around the house, I assembled everything I needed for my trail walk. Camera? Check! Boots? Check! Heavy jacket, hat, and hand warmers? Check-check-check! And in no time I was in the car and headed to the park where I spent ninety blissful minutes walking the trails with my camera. For today’s post, I thought I would let the titmouse, nuthatch, and cardinal show you how happy they were to see the sun. I’ll save the robin, chickadee, and other pictures for later this week.

Thanks for joining me on the trail this morning.
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Am I asking too much?

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All I’m asking is for a few cold but sunny days during the week when I can go for a trail walk. So far 2017 has been a major disappointment in the weather department. We actually saw a little sunshine over the weekend…for part of the time at least, but when the sun comes out and the temperatures warm up, the people come out too. So with my tongue in cheek, I’m begging for some cold sunny weekdays. The kind of days when snow is on the ground and almost nobody ventures out on the trails in the park. On days like that, as long as I stay clear of the sledding hill, I have the trails all to myself. That’s the way I like it!

I ventured out for a few short trail walks over the weekend, but there were, as a photographer friend put it, “…lots of people, families galore, and no birds.” So here are a few pictures from the weekend, and as you can see, NO BIRDS!”

It’s winter you know, and, as a trail walker and photographer, I would really like to see temperatures in the mid-twenty range, some snow on the ground, and sunny blue skies. Really, am I asking too much?

 

Thanks for reading my rant. I’m done ranting for now and will return to my normal sunny disposition…as soon as the weather improves.

P.S.Please don’t take me seriously. I am thankful we haven’t experienced the kind of bad storms that have hit parts of our country. I’m just feeling a little impatient with the weather woman (or man).

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

A triple surprise!

Walking the trail in Chagrin River Park Thursday afternoon, I was intent on taking pictures of some little birds enjoying the first sunshine we’ve seen in a week or more…

…when I spotted this big bird that had landed on a tree high above my head. I was too far away to get a good shot with my 300mm lens, but I took it anyway. What I didn’t notice, until I looked at the picture on my computer, was the little bluejay perched right behind the hawk. A triple surprise! First the sunshine and then the hawk sharing his treetop lookout with a little bluejay. Totally unexpected!

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I’m glad you were here to share this surprise!
Thanks for walking the trail with me.
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, Chagrin River Park, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Back on the trail again!

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Partly sunny! The weather forecast predicted some sunshine, and partly sunny it was. In recent days (weeks? months?), we have had many rainy, windy, frigid, icy, snowy weather days, but very few (if any) sunny ones. At least that is how it has seemed to me. When today’s partly sunny prediction actually came to pass, I knew it was finally time to get back on the trail.

Standing in the middle of the pedestrian bridge over the Chagrin River, I took this picture. We had plenty of rain and some flooding earlier this week, so I wanted to see what it looked like today. There wasn’t any ice on the river, but it was running fast, the air was cold, and the water looked even colder.

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Next I headed down the trail through the woods, looking for some birds.

I met several other photographers and bird-watchers who, like me, were enjoying the sunshine,  even though the temperature was only 28 degrees! To our surprise, we even spotted some redwinged blackbirds, whose song is almost always one of the earliest signs of spring in northeast Ohio. Never this early though, so they really seemed misplaced, as if they had gotten directions from the wrong travel agent, and headed north too soon. But there they were, along the trail, and we have been told we can expect several  50 degree days next week. Global warming anyone? It’s an anomaly, that’s for sure, and may or may not come to pass, but I’m not complaining.

Thanks for walking the trail with me today.
See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in celebration, Lake Farmpark, Lake Metroparks, My trail walks

Something worth celebrating

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Bob and I exchanged our marriage vows 57 years ago at my family’s church in Cardiff, Maryland, a half mile down the road from the home where I grew up in the very small town of Delta, Pennsylvania. So today, November 27, 2016, we were discussing how we wanted to celebrate the occasion..

  • Bob-Where would you like to go for dinner?
  • Me-It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just some place scenic  where I can take a few pictures…some place we will both enjoy. A place that is peaceful and relaxing.

So we agreed on some place photogenic, some place casual, and some place where we could get really good food, and we decided to start with a visit to the LakeMetroparks Farmpark where the animals and activities serve up photogenic 24/7 (except on Mondays).

According to the tagline on their website, the Farmpark is…”A family-oriented science and cultural center devoted to agriculture and farming.” It is that and so much more. For us, it was a beautiful and casual place to take pictures (me), talk to the animals (Bob), and enjoy our special day together.

Our first stop was the Well Bred Shed and the equine area where we visited with sheep, goats, chickens, and beautiful percherons that were  on loan for the park’s annual Country Lights festivities.

Out in the barnyard where supper time was in full swing, we watched the animals digging into their food troughs, after which they cast hopeful glances in our direction. Their expressions seemed to say, “Did you bring us anything to eat?”  Take a look at the faces I captured. Who could resist them?

The last stop in the barnyard was to visit this steer:

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He wandered right up and engaged in an over-the-fence chat with Bob, while I snapped more pictures. He is a very photogenic animal.

Back at the visitors’ center,  numerous families, many with small children, were entering for the sold out Country Lights event, but we paused so I could snap a few more pictures.

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Sunset over a Farmpark pond

And now it was time for us to get that really good food we had anticipated when we embarked on this special day. Bass Lake Taverne in Chardon sounded good to us, so we drove there and polished off our celebration with delicious warm bread, excellent entrees, and desserts that were (as the saying goes) “to die for,” bread pudding for Bob and warm chocolate Tollhouse pie for me.

It was a wonderful ending to our special day.
Thanks for joining us for our celebration.
See you soon!
Trail Walker