I really wouldn’t have noticed the little red-bellied woodpecker peering out from its nesting hole, but another, sharper-eyed photographer had located the nesting hole high up in a tree in the middle of the bog. He pointed it out as we walked past the tree a few days ago. So I have Randy to thank for this set of pictures, and I am delighted to give him credit for his generosity in pointing it out so I could take these shots.
I’m not absolutely certain if there is one bird or two, so today I returned for another look, but nobody was home. I guess I will just have to keep checking out the nest on future trail walks.
To be updated if there is more to share.
See you soon with more tales from the trail! ~Trail Walker
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?
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
To my delight the sky cleared this afternoon, and I was even more delighted when I heard a familiar sound in the neighborhood. I hurried to the window and, sure enough, the pileated woodpecker was in our backyard. It didn’t hang around for long, but before it swooped through the air to land on a tree farther away, I was able to grab my camera and get off a shot.
A visit from the big Woody Woodpecker look-alike is always a joy, and I thought to myself that I had my big bird photo opp for the day. But a little while later, Bob came home from his walk with Gulliver, rushed in the house, and announced, “Get your camera, and let’s go. The eagles are both at the nest.” So we took off for Bruce Yee Park, just a mile down the road from our backyard, where a pair of bald eagles have recently set up housekeeping. My longest lens really isn’t long enough to get great shots from much distance, but it was a delight to see this pair, Mama sitting on the nest and Papa standing guard in a nearby tree.
Our recent weather hasn’t been conducive to photowalking, and I haven’t added many shots to my trailwalking gallery nor posts to my blog, but this afternoon’s two unplanned and unexpected photoshoots …both without leaving the neighborhood, made up for my recent photographic dry spell. I couldn’t have asked for a better day!
Thanks for stopping by to see my big birds.
Regular visitors to my blog should recognize this as the golden willow tree next to Lotus Pond in Holden Arboretum. Yesterday, although not as warm as last week’s early Spring temperatures, was still a lovely day for a trail walk. As always when at Holden, I made sure to visit one of my favorite trees. And, as today is both colder and wetter than when I took this picture yesterday, I decided it is a good day to share a few more pictures in my Searching for Spring series.
The first, a snowdrop, is similar to one I posted last week. Although it is not as perky as the one I posted on a sunny, warmer day last week, it is still lovely, and what camera-carrying photographer can walk past a snowdrop in February without snapping its picture?
The second plant is a pastel perennial I was delighted (and lucky) to spot. The netted iris, native to Russia, the Caucasus, and northern Iran, is cultivated widely in temperate regions like northeast Ohio. Typically flowering in March and April, many little clumps of this plant were already in full bloom on February 28th, their delicate flowers waving in the breeze on top of slender stalks. I resolutely plopped myself on the wet ground, leaning in as close as I could to take a picture of this pretty plant. Thankfully nobody else was around with a camera because, for some photographers, I would have made a comical photo opp, soaking up water through the seat of my pants and then clumsily clambering back to my feet, camera in hand. The things we do to get the pictures we want!
Back on my feet, I brushed the wet dirt and debris from my sweat pants and continued my trail walk. I will share more pictures from Holden in a future blog post.
Thanks for joining me today.
See you soon!
In my post yesterday, I wrote that there were plenty of colorful sights to see at Orchid Mania. The wonderful display of orchids was probably the most colorful, but there were also some exotic animals. My favorite orchid was the one I posted yesterday and the deep purple one at the top of this page was a close second. Here are several others:
And the colorful, exotic animals? Butterflies for one, but I wasn’t able to get any butterfly pictures. The butterflies were released at 2 pm, but they dispersed so quickly throughout the garden that I never had a chance for a photo opp. A few animals were willing to pose however. How’s this one for exotic? Check out the tail, the tongue (I think it is) and the little hands gripping the stem of the plant.
A woman with a spray bottle was squirting water onto the leaves of the plant, and the thirsty critter was licking it up.
The lizard was stretched out behind a glass window in his own little habitat.
Finally, there were several large tortoises. Unfortunately they weren’t so good about posing either, but were still interesting to watch. I caught this one when it was taking a nap, but because he was pretty big, I could only get a picture of his face and front legs.
If you would like to experience Orchid Mania, there is still time. It’s well worth a visit, and it doesn’t close until Sunday, March 5th. Don’t forget to take your camera for some challenging, colorful, and unique photo opps.
That’s all for today. Thanks for visiting!
Anyone who has lived here, on the south shore of Lake Erie, is aware that the sunny warm weather I have written about in my last two posts is far from the norm, and is, in fact, a false spring. Nevertheless, that knowledge shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the warm weather. Instead, we should see this for what it is, an inbreaking of spring during one of the coldest and bleakest months of our year. A gift, one we should enjoy. For that reason, I intend to squeeze as many trailwalking opportunities as I can into however many hours this “false spring” will provide for us.
And I am not alone in my intentions. On Saturday, when the temperature reached 72 degrees, the Arboretum was crowded with families who had shed their warm winter garb and headed outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. I had just started my walk on this sunny Saturday when I ran into one of those families. Two young boys were climbing into the tree house, and were setting out to enjoy what the older boy termed “investigations.” From my observations, the older family members were enjoying it as much as the kids. And what could be more fun than climbing into a real tree house?
After the stop at the tree house, I took the trail around Lotus Pond. In this picture, you can see the pond with the golden willow tree and, on the opposite side of the pond, the tree house.
There is a bench under the willow, a favorite stopping off point for people as they walk the grounds of the Arboretum. I have captured many pictures of people relaxing under the willow, and today was no exception.
Look closely and you will see a little ice on the surface of Lotus Pond, but it won’t be there for long, not with the temperature at 72 degrees! Continuing my walk, I took a short detour to see what might be happening on Corning Lake. If you’re not tuckered out yet, let’s keep moving.
On our way to check out the situation at Corning Lake, I walked past Margaretta and her person Kevin, enjoying the beautiful day. For her part, Margaretta, who had been for a swim, was most interested in the other dogs that were passing by. She didn’t really want to pose for a photo opp, but with Kevin’s permission, I snapped a couple of quick shots before continuing on to Corning Lake.
As you can see, there wasn’t much action on or around the Lake. A little flock of Canada geese was enjoying a swim, and two of them were nice enough to float in reach of my lens. Another (human) family group had the same idea I did apparently, and they were walking beside the lake, and then there was this woman who had found a perfect place to relax in the sun.
Looking at the distant side of the lake, you can see there isn’t even a hint of green on the trees. Because at this point we are only a few miles south of Lake Erie, the arrival of spring is delayed until much later than I would like; however, when it does arrive, it is just that much sweeter!
If you’re still with me, we’ll end our Saturday afternoon walk by heading back around around Lotus Pond. That’s it on the right side of the trail, and as we follow the trail, you can see the parking lot in the distance. Right in front of you is another of my favorite trees, the gingko. It’s not an attention-getter right now, but just wait until next November when its delightful little fan-shaped leaves turn a vibrant yellow, clearly announcing the end of autumn. Then it is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m in no hurry to see that. Right now I am eagerly anticipating spring, and apparently our faux-Spring hasn’t ended yet, so there will be more pictures coming soon. Watch for them!
Thanks for coming along on my “faux-Spring” trail walk.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! ~Trail Walker
Not that we expect it to stay. Real spring doesn’t arrive here along the north coast (the south shore of Lake Erie)until around the end of April, but we were loving it today. Hopefully it will linger for a few days at least. Today’s high temperature reached 72 degrees. That’s practically unheard of, but you can be certain we’re not complaining. I think all of Northeast Ohio turned out to celebrate the event, and some of them were even wearing shorts! In February! Here’s one more picture from today’s visit to Holden Arboretum. I’ll be back tomorrow to share more.
I think this is the first time I have seen a mourning dove in Chagrin River Park. They are homebodies, usually content to hang around the Backyard Buffet, eating the food I put out for them. A mourning dove in the park was an unusual sight, but then this was an unusual day. After a full month with very little snow, we were slammed with some cold snowy weather. I have no idea why this dove was in the park, but she had found the “hidden” bark butter bits, and she was determined to get her share.
She worked hard at it, and she was successful! Her beak doesn’t seem to be long enough for prying tidbits out of the fence post, but she refused to give up. You have to give her credit for persistence.
There were lots of kids having a great time on the sledding hill. Their loud shrieks were evidence that they were enjoying this second day off school. But the weather was dire for the birds.It wasn’t the cold that was the challenge; it was the wind and the sleety snow continually blowing in their eyes (and mine too). The dove had to work hard for her meal today. When the cold and snow finally got to me, I gave up and headed home for lunch, but the mourning dove was still there. She was one determined bird!
That’s the story from the trail today.
Thanks for sticking with me, despite the weather.
After breakfast, I cleaned the kitchen and went outside to prepare the backyard buffet with a delicious feast for the birds. Apparently the feast was appealing enough to attract the attention of a little herd of deer that wandered up from nearby Chagrin River Park.
After the deer were finished feasting, very little remained for the birds’ breakfast! As the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote…
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”
Maybe I could adapt that line to read, “The best laid plans of mice, men, and backyard bird feeders often go awry.” Although that isn’t nearly as poetic as the original, it is definitely true.
That’s all for today’s backyard birding adventure! Thanks for visiting! It is always good to entertain company.
Overnight the temperature dropped to single digits and several inches of snow fell. The Backyard Buffet looks much more appealing when the ground is covered with a blanket of white, and because that same blanket had covered over much of their natural food, the birds were looking for food at ALL the feeders. That includes the hawk that visited yesterday, so all the little birds must be alert to the danger. We saw him on the ground at the edge of our backyard this morning, but he flew away too quickly for a photo opp. He is a beautiful bird, but I wish he would go scrounging for his meals among the snakes and rodents (If some of them aren’t hibernating) in the nearby park instead of in the Backyard Buffet. 😒
Enjoy these bright spots
Redbellied woodpecker (female)
She enjoyed the suet!
Downy woodpecker (female)
The Northern cardinal (male) was a happy visitor.
That’s all for today.
Look for more Backyard Buffet adventures tomorrow.
See you then! -Trail Walker (aka Carolyn or Skip)