Take off!

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I’ve been using manual mode a lot these days, trying to get the look I want in my shots. I like the results this time…a little blur, but still clear enough to tell what is happening as the cardinal flies away with the “bark butter bit” he has just grabbed off the post. The blur may be off-putting to some, especially those who prefer a tack sharp image, but I’m okay with it. I would love to know what you think.

Settings: Shutter speed:1/400 second; aperture: 7.1; ISO 200

See you tomorrow, somewhere along the trail.
Trail Walker

Tufted titmouse

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There’s no doubt about the identity of this grey and white beauty. It’s a tufted titmouse. Wearing a dark grey cap with a crest and sporting a white eye ring, he is pretty easy to identify.The “tuft” or crest on top of his head also helps to identify this little bird. Although he is not a very large bird, he is the largest titmouse. Others are the juniper titmouse and the oak titmouse. Who knew? I certainly didn’t! This titmouse has a large range, but most individuals live their entire life within a few kilometers of their birthplace. They are ubiquitous in northeast Ohio. They are quick movers and not always easy to photograph, but they love the tasty bark butter bits, which distracted this fellow long enough for me to snap his picture.

Another interesting fact I found on my bird app is the name for a group of titmice. They are collectively called a banditry and a dissimulation of titmice, and they only occur in areas where rainfall is greater than 24 inches per year, and are even more common where rainfall exceeds 32 inches per year. According to Cherokee legend, they have been regarded as messengers.

This is day #3 of my plan to post just one photo each day on my blog. If you read my post from two days ago, you will remember that I started this plan to post only one photo each day because I have been struggling to keep up with my goal of posting at least four times each week. If you have any thoughts about how my plan is going, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Another Cleveland photo walk

Previous Cleveland photo walks can be seen here and here.

A few days ago, our grandson, who, like me, really enjoys photography,  celebrated his 20th birthday. For a birthday treat, his parents took him downtown for a photoshoot in several Cleveland neighborhoods and a great lunch in Ohio City.2016_03_08_Trailwalk_Around CLV0008 Suspecting I might pout (or be tempted to throw a tantrum) if I missed this photo opp, they invited me to join them. Just kidding.  You know I would never do that. (Of course you do.)

Our first stop was the Cultural Gardens along MLK Drive where we photographed this statue in the Ukrainian Garden. It is framed by some beautiful trees that aren’t yet in bloom, so   our plan is to return in several weeks when the trees begin to bloom (Nothing blooms in mid-March. This is Cleveland, after all).  Here are a few more pictures from the garden, designed by the Ukrainian community in Cleveland.

 

Another stop on today’s shoot was the area know as The Flats, located on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Here I took a few shots of Michael and his mom at the base of the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge. It was Michael’s idea, and I really like the way these turned out.

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That’s it for today’s post. Here is a sampling of pictures coming up in Part Two of this photo walk in the city.  I hope you will be back to see them.

Thanks for joining me today.
Trail Walker

A quick post from the park

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Yesterday was a cold day, but I went for a short trail walk despite the 23 degree temperature, and I’m glad I did. Lots of little birds posed for pictures, mainly because they were hungry and hoping for some bark butter bits. There was also a little herd of deer along the trail, two that followed me right at my heels and were very difficult to shoo away. They must have been really hungry. And HAWK was out hunting, swooping from tree to tree, keeping a keen eye out for his prey. I have lots of pictures to share, but no time to post them all tonight, so I decided to feature one of the deer, just to show how clever she was at nibbling on the bark butter bits. That’s it for this time, but I’ll be back to post more deer pictures tomorrow, along with HAWK and the other birds.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Photo Almanac-Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, 2016

Another week flew by already! Here we are  in the first week of February, and once again I am frantically trying to get caught up with my blog posts…not to mention checking out the other awesome blogs I enjoy.

Gallery one: Birds

The last week in January was a cold one with snow still on the ground from last week’s storm. As a result, food for the birds wasn’t easily available,  so they were looking for supplements. It turns out that they love the little bite-sized bark butter bits, as you can see from some of the pictures in this gallery.

If you are a bird lover, you might want to check out the bark butter bits at the store that supplies your bird food. We purchase bags of Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter Bits (with calcium) at our neighborhood WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED store. Can’t vouch for the flavor personally, since I’m more inclined toward brownies or some other chocolatey treat for my snacks, but the birds sure love them. The pictures are proof of that!

Gallery two: Land and Riverscapes

So were the birds the only evidence that it has been a cold week? Take a look at this gallery of pictures of the river for more evidence. That chunky ice looks pretty cold, and the sky is grey and mostly overcast, typical of our January weather.

 

Finally: Two favorites from this week

To close this week’s Almanac, here are two of my favorites:

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Screech owl looking over the bog from the front door of his nest
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Late afternoon along the river trail

That’s it from the south shore of Lake Erie for the last week of January. Please stop by in a day or two for some February pictures. Meanwhile, wherever you live, whatever the weather, get out on a trail near you, take some pictures, and find a way to share them with some friends. That’s what I’m doing.

Trail Walker

Photo Almanac: January 9-15, 2016

Who was it that proclaimed, “Time flies when you’re having fun!” I’m pretty sure they should have said, “If you’re having fun (or not), time still flies!” I am a week late posting this issue of the Almanac. Admittedly I’ve had some fun in the past two weeks, but that isn’t the only reason I’m late. An ear infection plus snowy, cold weather kept me off the trails, so my Almanac for the past two weeks looks a little lean. Mea culpa, friends. I will try to stay on track in the future. but first I’ll have to get back on track, which I will do tomorrow by posting last week’s Almanac. Then I will be caught up. So here are the galleries for January 9-15.

Gallery 1: Our back yard bird (and squirrel) buffet

On a good day, a lot of birds visit the feeders in our back yard. Chickadees, titmice, woodpeckers, and other birds live here year round. Here are some that visited this week:

Gallery 2: Seen on the trail this week

Because of the weather and my earache, I didn’t go very far afield this week. It was snowy and cold. I didn’t want to spend too much time outside, so I only ventured as far as Chagrin River Park. That’s within walking distance (if I would choose to walk there, which I don’t because I prefer to spend more time in the park instead of on the way to the park).

Gallery 3: Memorable Moments

The M.M. gallery only includes one picture this week, but it is a special one. Our grandson Bryan and his wife Nikki live in NY City where she is a pediatric resident at one of the hospitals. Bryan, who just graduated from the University of Michigan, was in Toledo, closing out the apartment they have lived in while Nikki was in med school and Bryan was in Ann Arbor. The other day, he packed a few things from the apartment into his car and headed for New York to join Nikki and their dog Maya. We met him for lunch in Streetsboro, and that’s where this picture was snapped. It’s a good memory.

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That’s it for this issue of the Almanac. Because I somehow lost a week and got behind on my deadline, I will be posting another issue tomorrow. Then all I have to do is manage to stay on track and keep my promise to post every Monday the Almanac for the previous week.

Wish me luck with that goal! The days sure do fly by fast.
See you soon.
Trail Walker

Birds and other critters!

When I arrived at Chagrin River Park today, my goal was to capture a few, say 10 or 12, sharp pictures of the birds and deer I see along the trail. The cardinals were happy to pose, and I was especially delighted with the handsome red-coated male who stood out in the snow-covered branches of the evergreen tree. They flew into the tree, I sprinkled a few peanuts, and all of us were pleased with the results.

And the cardinals weren’t the only birds I captured with my lens. There was this white-throated sparrow…

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… the red-bellied woodpecker that rather comically stuck her head up from behind the fence post just in time to grab one of the last peanuts,

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and at one point I interrupted a confrontation between a cardinal and a chickadee. The expression on the face of the chickadee makes me smile every time I look at it. The feisty little bird isn’t the least bit intimidated by the huge red one!

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And then there was a herd of seven or eight deer. There was one medium sized buck along with quite a few does, and one of the does, a young one, was a dappled deer. You can see from the pictures that his coat is unique. I have no idea why, but it really makes him stand out in the crowd.

It was a beautiful day for a trail walk, and I am pleased that I got more than the 10 or 12 I had set as my goal for the day. To close this post, here is a beautiful young doe that posed in the late afternoon light. Thanks for joining me along the trail today. I hope you enjoyed these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Keep your eyes on this space. You never know what we will see along the trail.

See you soon.
Trail Walker

First the dentist, then the Arboretum…a busy day

My day was divided into three parts: the visit to the dentist, a trail walk in the Arboretum, followed by sitting down at the computer to process and post the pictures. I’m sure you can guess which part of my day was the most fun. It was a fabulous day for a trail walk, and I took a long one…so long that I have split the pictures into three sets. Today I am going to share the first set. I’m glad that you are joining me for the walk. Don’t worry about your jacket; just leave it in the car. The air was a little chilly when I left the house, but it’s warming up nicely now. There are even a few people in shorts and shirt sleeves!

Being a virtual trail walker, you won’t have any problem finding a parking space like I did. I completely forgot that today is Columbus Day. Apparently it is a pseudo-holiday. No mail delivery and some schools are closed, but our schools are in session, our neighbors went out to work at the usual hour, and I had a dentist appointment; it seemed like an ordinary day until I got to the Arboretum and couldn’t find a place to park my car. 😉 What a crowd!

The Arboretum  is all decorated for Halloween with scarecrows, pumpkins, and more. The first  picture I took is this colorful Halloween scene right outside the visitors’ center where I stopped to get my ticket to climb the Emergent Tower.

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As I continued on down the trail, I spotted this happy looking scarecrow family begging me to stop for a photo opp, or at least that’s why I imagined they were standing there. What other reason would there be?

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After I took their picture, I continued my search for some fall color for today’s blog post. There is still a LOT of green on the trees. It seems like Fall is a little late arriving this year. We haven’t had many cool crisp nights when the temperature went low enough to produce the brilliant orange, yellow, and red leaves that make Fall our prettiest season. At least that’s my opinion,  but let’s hit the trail and see what you think.


We’re reached the end of the trial for today. We saw some Fall colors, but green still seems to be the predominant color. Thanks for joining me. It’s great to share this time with you. Be sure to come back tomorrow when we will head out to the Emergent Tower to see what Fall looks like from above the canopy. See you then!

Trail Walker

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

This summer at the end of July, we eschewed high-speed turnpike driving and traveled old Route 6 through the northern corridor of Pennsylvania on our return to Ohio after a family celebration. Why? Mainly because many years ago Bob sold Hotpoint appliances to dealers in that territory. On this Sunday afternoon, traveling with our daughter Gretchen and grandson Alec, we had the time, so we decided to do a little reminiscing and show them an area we both enjoy. One of our favorite towns in that area is Wellsboro. In many ways, it is a quintessential small town that has kept its character without being left behind by the times.

Showers were threatening when we pulled into town, but we parked the car and headed to the Wellsboro Diner for coffee and a piece of pie, followed by a short photowalk through the Sunday-afternoon-quiet-streets.
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If you had been there, we would have invited you to join us for pie. The diner was crowded, but if you wouldn’t mind sitting at the counter, there was plenty of pie, and it was good. Then we wandered through the city park so Gretchen and Alec could see the statue of WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD, and along the city sidewalks, where I captured these photos:

On the way out of town, we made one more stop to take a few photos of the Allegheny Reservoir, created years ago when the Kinzu dam was built. I know there is a story to be told about the homes that were flooded and residents who had to move, but we will have to go back another time to get all the details (and some more pictures) before I can write that story. Meanwhile, if you are interested, here is what Wikipedia can tell you.

Allegheny Reservoir
Allegheny Reservoir

Alec and Gretchen at Allegheny Reservoir
Alec and Gretchen at Allegheny Reservoir

Back on the road, we continued our drive west, stopping for a delicious supper at Findley Lake, New York, but that, too, is a story for another time. Thanks for joining us on the trail today. I’ve been a little slow in posting the pictures, but better late than never I guess!

Trail Walker

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