Lake Erie Bluffs

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The day dawned with sunny blue skies and a perfect temperature for trailwalking at Lake Erie Bluffs. Happy with the beautiful morning, Bob and I, and our friend Tom, were on our way to the Bluffs!

Once at the Bluffs, the best view can be seen from the top of the tower, located on the edge of Lake Erie, 20 miles east of our home.
2018_08_31__Lake Erie Bluffs_0015 copyI haven’t been doing much trail walking this summer, and even less climbing, so I was out of breath by the time I reached the top of the tower, but the view was worth the climb.

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Looking west-toward Cleveland

After soaking it in (and catching my breath), we climbed down and followed the trail to the beach.

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Goldenrod along the trail is a sure sign summer is coming to an end.
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Bob on the beach, waiting for me to catch up.
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I made it!

There weren’t many people in the park this morning. As you can see, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. After a while we decided it was almost time for lunch, and we still wanted to visit Painesville Township Park to see the new fishing pier that was built in the last year. We had heard about it from a neighbor, who was part of the crew that engineered the pier, but this was our first visit. And it involved another climb!
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Getting down to the pier wasn’t a problem, but climbing back up was a breathtaking experience, for me at least. The view was great though, and that made the climb worthwhile.

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Looking east, toward Erie, Pennsylvania

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Definitely lunch time now, so we drove over to Brennans’ Restaurant in Grand River. My crab cakes were delicious, and according to Bob and Tom, the perch was just as good. By the time we finished our lunch, it was nearly 3 pm, so we decided to finish off our day trip with ice cream cones at Scooters. I’m very sure that after all the hiking and climbing, I had earned that cone, and it was a great way to end the day.

Thanks for visiting the Bluffs with us.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker

Simply backyard birding

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This week has been hot and steamy, absolutely my least favorite kind of weather; however, yesterday afternoon a storm blew through. The temperature dropped and the steamy humidity dissipated. Yay!  Today has been blissfully cool. Exactly the kind of weather I enjoy! Apparently the birds like it too because they were a lot more active this morning.

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Lady hummer enjoying the flowers

I was delighted to see her enjoying the bright colors because that is what I most enjoy about summer. It’s definitely not the heat, but the color that I like most about this season, and apparently the hummers like it too. All too soon they will head south on their annual migration, and they will be sorely missed. I didn’t get a very sharp picture of her flitting in the flowers, but she also appreciated the feeders I had filled with fresh sugar water yesterday.

One of the surprising sights this morning was the downy woodpecker, surprising because he was investigating the empty bluebird box.  To my delight, early in the summer, a pair of bluebirds had moved into the box, and I spent many hours watching them. They gave me a a great deal of joy, but suddenly one day they were gone. Sadly they have not returned, and I discovered that the house sparrows had entered the nesting box and destroyed their three little eggs. I was a long time getting over that shock, and I didn’t even want to post any of the many pictures I had taken of the bluebirds. Maybe some day, but not yet. But today here is the male downy woodpecker, checking out the nest. I wonder if he is looking for a home for the colder days that are coming? Maybe we will need another box if the bluebirds return next summer.

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Looking in the door
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It was a tight squeeze, but he got inside.
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A competitor or a mate?

I didn’t have much more time for backyard birding this morning, but I captured three more shots: a little house finch and two shots of a chubby red-bellied woodpecker feasting on the suet cakes.

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Thanks for visiting.
That’s all for now, but I’ll post more pictures on another day.
Trail Walker

Chagrin Falls, Ohio

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On a sunny summer afternoon, after an appointment with my dermatologist, Bob and I drove to Chagrin Falls for lunch and a look at the Falls. The funniest thing we saw was three little ducks swimming upstream and then sliding down the rapids. They repeated their game several times as we stood and watched. Amazed at their derring-do, I tried to get a picture, but from where I was standing,  I was too far away to get a picture of the ducks. I did manage to capture a few other pictures with the Lightroom camera on my iPhone…a good way to remember our visit to the Falls.

 

Thanks for stopping by today.
Hope to see you soon!
Trail Walker

Chautauqua Institute

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We took a little road trip last week, crossing two state lines to spend the day at Chautauqua Institute in the southwestern corner of New York state. We enjoyed the beautiful sunny summer day with Joe and Ann, Bob’s brother and sister-in-law, and our neighbor Marti. If you’ve been to Chautauqua, you know what I am speaking of when I describe the day as time spent in Brigadoon. If you have never been there, I recommend setting aside a day or two of your summer vacation to see it for yourself if you should find yourself near this beautiful countryside. It’s a wonderful way to relax.

Here are a few pictures to share the beauty of Chautauqua. (Thanks to our granddaughter Carrie for her patient instructions on how to get the photos from my iPhone into Lightroom, so I could process and post them here. This is the first full set of iPhone images I have ever posted). I’m truly amazed!

 

That’s it for this short blog post.
Thanks for stopping by. See you soon.
Trail Walker

Holden Arboretum in June

The end of the first week in June seemed to me like a perfect time for a visit to Holden Arboretum. My friends Lisa and Lorna agreed to join me, so we set a date and began looking forward to our semi-annual trail walk at Holden.

The morning arrived with unseasonably cool temperatures and the threat of rain, but we weren’t deterred. Meeting at the Visitors’ Center, we meandered along the trail past Lotus Pond. If the golden willow, pictured below, looks familiar, you probably remember that it is one of my favorite trees along the trail, one I can’t pass by without stopping to take a picture, or two or three.

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2018_06_05__Holden Arboretum_0036Reaching the entrance to the rhododendron garden, we paused long enough to soak in the beauty of the landscape, and to take a quick picture of a black squirrel sitting in front of a tall rhododendron. 2018_06_05__Holden Arboretum_0051Black squirrels are a bit of an anomaly, and they have an interesting history. In 2011 Kent State University (in nearby Kent Ohio) celebrated 50 years since the first black squirrels, transported from Canada, were released on their campus. In that 50 years the squirrels have become something of an icon on the northeast Ohio campus (If interested, you can read more about the furry rodents here).

On down the trail, we continued through the rhododendron garden to Hourglass Pond where we stopped to enjoy the view from a bench our friend Margaret has dedicated to the memory of her husband Don. We also took a close look at the cypress trees with their  strange “knees” that grow on the edge of the pond. If you’ve never encountered cypress knees, you can see the strange protruding roots in the pictures below. Cypress trees favor a very moist environment, and that’s where we saw these knees. Look at the base of the trees, and you will see them too.
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At this point, we agreed it was almost time for lunch, so I took one more picture of Hourglass Pond before we turned back to the visitors’ center, following the round-about trail along the perimeter of Corning Lake, snapping pictures as we went.

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Hourglass Pond

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To top off the afternoon, we enjoyed our bag lunches on the back patio of the visitors’ center. It definitely hadn’t been the sunny day in June we expected when we made our plans to meet at the Arboretum, but Holden never disappoints, and it certainly didn’t this time.

Thanks for joining us for our trail walk.
See you soon.
Trail Walker

Darn spring cleaning!

Sometime things around the house require my attention. I try not to let that happen too often, but when it does, and I begin to trip over the dust bunnies, something has to be done about them. That has happened to me recently. Consequently, I haven’t been out on the trail with my camera very often. Sad, but true! However, I have managed a few trail walks recently and some backyard birding, so I finally have something to post on my blog. Today. I’m sharing a few shots taken through my kitchen window. Let me know what you think.

To my delight, the bluebirds have been in and out of the nesting box multiple times per day. They make me smile on a regular basis! The blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers are also faithful visitor to the seed cylinders and suet.

And then, on occasion, the pileated woodpeckers will swoop in for a meal.
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The last picture made me hold my breath until I actually got the shot. Never before has one of the big ones landed that low in the yard, and I was afraid she would fly away before I grabbed a shot or two. My hubby had planted some colorful flowers in a plastic tray on top of one of the stumps just outside the kitchen window, and they apparently attracted her eye. Since this visitor doesn’t have a red mustache to match the red crest, I’m pretty sure it’s the female. Both the male and female are nesting somewhere in our neighborhood. It’s exciting to have both stop in at the same time.

That’s all I have time for today. Thanks for visiting.
Come back soon!
~Trail Walker

It’s time to celebrate!

When I set out for my trail walk this afternoon,  everything and everybody along the trail was celebrating!” Sullen April had finally, if reluctantly, stepped aside and made room for  spring. The sun was shining, flowers bursting into bloom, and bird song filling the air.

Take a look at a few of the celebrants!

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Mallard ducks on their nest (The male looks like he’s ready for a swim in the bog).
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A redwing blackbird scanning the neighborhood from the tallest tree in the bog
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The green heron lurking in the reeds, searching for a tasty tidbit
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A chipmunk enjoying his first taste of the spring air
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A happy redbellied woodpecker clinging to the fence post
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…and another sitting on the railing
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Robin redbreast perched on a budding tree limb
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A northern cardinal, who thinks he is king, scanning the neighborhood

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  ~Wayne Dyer

Here on the south shore of Lake Erie the last month has been a very long one! We’re ready to celebrate SPRING! Thanks for stopping by and joining me for the celebration.

Come back soon!
Trail Walker

Wildlife

I caught sight of the green heron at the top of today’s post hidden among the reeds in the bog, and one glimpse was enough to stop me in my tracks. A green heron is not a rare sighting in this area, but it’s rare enough that the sight made my heart beat a little faster.  To be sure I would get a few sharp images, I took a deep breath and shot off multiple frames before continuing  down the trail toward the owl nest. I was hoping the owlets would be visible today.

Momma Owl wasn’t in sight, but her two rapidly growing owlets were perched in plain sight in their treetop nest. Although I only have a 70-300mm lens, not nearly long enough for a clear shot at that distance, I was pretty happy with the picture I captured. I would love to own a 600mm lens, but I know realistically I wouldn’t be able to lug a heavy camera and huge lens (plus a tripod) down the trail. Some photographers do it, but I’m not that strong, so I have to be  satisfied with the equipment I own. I only captured one good shot of the owlets today…

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…but here are two more shots of the herons and a few more photo opps I captured on the walk back to my car.

That’s it for today, Trail Walkers, but the sun is shining, and it’s time to get my camera and walking shoes to see if I can capture a few more images before the sun goes down.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit today. See you soon!
Leave a comment if you have anything to share. I love to chat!

Trail Walker

 

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