Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, nature

Back yard birding

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Oh no, I messed up! I promised myself that I would post at least three times each week, but there has been so much happening recently that I couldn’t keep up. Mea culpa! It probably doesn’t bother anyone except me, but it really bothers me. So tonight I am posting some pictures I took today, and tomorrow I will get back on my Tuesday, Thursday, and weekend schedule.  

We purchased a swamp milkweed plant on Saturday, hoping to attract more butterflies, but today the only butterfly that landed in our back yard was this little one. Except for a very few, I can’t identify butterflies. Hopefully I will learn. I’ve been told that this is possibly a Peck’s skipper butterfly, so I will go with that. Here are a few images I captured this morning when it was sunny.  (The skipper and the pink flower were taken with my 50mm lens -more about that in a future post).

 

After supper, I returned to my bench in the back yard, hoping to see a hummer or two and possibly a monarch butterfly. Got the hummingbird. They were very happy to pose, especially this little female, but the butterflies were nowhere in sight tonight. That milkweed plant wasn’t earning its keep, but here is the lady  hummer. She perched in my neighbor’s tree and surveyed the situation and then made repeated visits to the feeder. The male came too, but he didn’t hold still for his photo opp.

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So that was today in the back yard. I’m glad you came by for a visit.

See you tomorrow!
Trail Walker
Posted in My trail walks, nature

Better luck next time…I hope!

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I tried, with moderate success, to get sharp pictures of some dragonflies on my recent visit to Penitentiary Glen Reservation. There were dragons galore, constantly on the move, swooping over the pond, and flitting from place to place, always lighting some place new, only to lift off when I turned my lens toward them. They seemed to be very restless. Maybe it was the 90 degree heat, the bright sun, and high humidity, or the persistent breeze. Whatever it was,  I was not happy with the outcome of my hour at the pond. Here are a few of the picture I captured on my memory card:

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hummingbird moth
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dragonfly
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dragonfly

I think my best plan is to return to the pond another day soon, a day that isn’t nearly as hot and humid, for another dragonfly photoshoot. Hopefully I’ve learned something from this experience, and I’ll have “better luck next time.”

I’m running a day behind with my posts this week. My next post should be on Thursday or Friday. I hope you will join me then to see what we can find along the trail. There’s always something new.

Thanks for being here.
Trail Walker

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In my photographer’s mind, summer is the season for photographing dragonflies as they skim through the air over ponds and rivers, but this is what I read when I looked up dragonfly in the dictionary in preparation for writing this post:

drag·on·fly
ˈdraɡənˌflī/
noun
plural noun: dragonflies
a fast-flying long-bodied predatory insect with two pairs of large transparent wings that are spread out sideways at rest. The voracious aquatic larvae take up to five years to reach adulthood.

Predatory? Voracious? Not the words I would have chosen. I guess beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Today’s trail walk was at Penitentiary Glen Reservation, where I saw far more dragons and damsels than people. I think you would have enjoyed it too.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

‘Tis the season

Posted in Lake Metroparks, My trail walks, nature, trailwalking

A muggy misty morning

Good morning trail walkers. The heat and humidity were both up this morning, so the light wasn’t very good when I reached the park at 7 am. However, the colors are more saturated as a result of the dew on the grass and mist in the air. Here are a few pictures I took along the river trail. Look closely and you will see the water droplets clinging to the grasses as we walk along the trail:

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Taken from the pedestrian bridge
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View from the same bridge, looking north toward Lake Erie

The pedestrian bridge is always a good place to start out. From there, I headed down the trail alongside the river where I took the next five pictures…

 

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When I reached the steps leading down to the river that I call “the fishermen’s steps,” I spotted a great blue heron fishing for his breakfast. The pictures I got weren’t  great because he was almost out of reach of my lens and I foolishly forgot to increase the shutter speed on my Nikon, ending up with a lot of motion blur, but I’m going to share them with you anyway because it was a pretty dramatic episode. Take a look at the five images in this slide show:

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At that point, I had to leave the heron to his fishing because it was almost time for me to head home for breakfast, and I still hadn’t taken my morning walk. I really hadn’t done much except stroll down the trail and take pictures. As much fun as that is, it really doesn’t count as exercise, so I will cut down the trail through the bog. That will take me the long way back to my car in the parking lot, and if I’m lucky, the wren will be near her nest, and I can add her picture to this blog post.

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Mrs. House Wren

We were lucky to see Mrs. Wren. She was singing loudly, but I almost didn’t spot her perched on a very shady branch. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trail walk this morning. I would love to hear if there was anything you especially enjoyed.

See you in a couple of days for another trail walk.
Trail Walker
Posted in My trail walks, nature, photography, trailwalking

Let’s go trail walking!

 

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Hello friends. Several years ago, I created this blog by combining three of my favorite activities…

  • trail walking
  • photography,
  • and writing.

I named it Seen Along the Trail because most of the posts will be about the sights  I see and the people I meet on my trail walks in local parks. If you enjoy the outdoors as much as I do, I hope you will follow my blog and become a trail walker too. I will add new posts on Tuesday, Thursday, and at least once on the weekend. Please leave comments or “like” the posts you enjoy, so I will know you have been walking the trails with me.  I’m looking forward to your visits!

A little more info…

  • I sign my blog posts “Trail Walker,” but my friends call me Carolyn or Skip. I hope you will too. If you want to know more, you can read my full profile here.
  • I took the picture at the top of this page along the trail in Chagrin River Park on July 5, 2016.
  • I love visitors, especially when they leave comments on my blog.  😊
  • To see my recent posts, please keep scrolling down!

 

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you will come back soon.
Trail Walker

 

 

Posted in Chagrin River Park, My trail walks, nature

Meatballs, meds, and trail walking

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Gulliver, our senior springer spaniel, has been taking meds for his arthritis and Cushings disease for the last 6-9 months. Not only is he feeling better, but he has turned into an early riser. That, of course, means that his people (that’s Bob and me) must also rise early. Gully has taken to his new routine like a duck to water, but me…not so much. I’m okay when my feet hit the floor between 7 and 7:15, but any earlier than that is “crazy o’clock” in my book. I’m retired, you know, but Gulliver doesn’t seem to realize the significance of retirement.  Most mornings he’s ready for an early breakfast  around 6 am, followed by his meatballs. He loves his meatballs, which I make from canned dog food, the senior dog diet kind. Four mornings a week he gets three meatballs, each with one of his pills hidden inside. For some reason, Bob hasn’t mastered the meatball recipe (clever man), so as soon as Gulliver polishes off the morning ration of diet kibble that Bob poured into his food bowl, he ready for his meatballs. And because neither Bob nor Gulliver has mastered meatball making, that’s when I have to get up. And that, my friends, is why I was in the park, camera in hand, before 7 am to take pictures along the trail. The air was cool and the light was great. I took a few pictures along the river trail and some in the bog. These are my favorites:

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That’s it for today. To my surprise, I enjoyed my early morning trail walk, so tomorrow or another day soon, after Gulliver has his morning meatballs, I’ll hit the trail and see what I can find. My next blog post will be on Tuesday, because I’m committing to a new post from the trail every Tuesday, Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday.

Thanks for joining me today for pictures from “along the trail.”

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in nature

A glorious day in June

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My friend Marti joined me for a short walk in the arboretum yesterday. In search of butterflies, we only saw two, a tiny white one and a swallowtail. I didn’t get a picture of either, so I changed to Plan B and instead of butterflies, I began photographing dragonflies, damselflies, and birds. Click on the gallery to take a virtual walk in the arboretum.

You will probably recognize the red-breasted bird as an American robin. We spotted it hopping around on the ground, where it apparently found something interesting, picked it up and flew over to land on a sign post, while I snapped a few pictures. (Later at home, when I looked at the pictures on my computer, I was puzzled to see that the poor bird had no face. However, on closer examination, I realized it (the bird) was gripping a clump of dirt and weeds tightly in his beak. In several of my pictures, his face was completely obscured by his prize capture. In the picture above, you can see one eye peering around the dirt.)

Dragonflies are fun to photograph, but these were not really interested in posing for the camera, so I will include two water lilies. I can’t help loving the lilies because they are so delicate and colorful.

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Lily #1
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Lily #2

That’s it for today’s trail walk, but if you aren’t in a hurry to get home, you can join Marti and me on the bench overlooking the lily pond. We’re going to sit in the shade for a while and soak in the glory of this beautiful June day.

See you soon!
Trail Walker
Posted in backyard birding, bird photography, blogging, My trail walks, nature

One more week to go

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For the past three weeks I’ve been on a self-imposed break from my regular trail walks so I can take an online course in photoshop for photographers. As a result, I haven’t had much news to report from along the trail. Photoshop doesn’t come easily to me, but it is a lot of fun, and hopefully will lead to improvements in my blog posts. Only one more week to go in the course, then I plan to resume posting  Along the Trail three times each week on Tuesday Thursday, and either Saturday or Sunday. Although sticking to a regular schedule for posting, doesn’t come easily to me either 😋, I believe it is the best approach to take, and I hope you will return to see my posts on those days.

As you have probably noticed, I am always interested in the behavior of birds. Today I want to share something I observed yesterday when one of the red-bellied woodpeckers (RBW) visited our yard. Between our property and the neighbors behind us are 12 very tall trees where the birds love to nest, rest, hide, and perch. The picture at the top of this post shows an RBW investigating a hole high up on the trunk of one of the trees. She was very curious about the hole, maybe checking out its potential for a future nest. I’m not sure what she expected to see, but she gave it a good look. Click on the gallery below to see her in action:

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they nested in our tree, and we could watch their little family?

That’s it for today. Starting next week, I will resume regular posts and visits to your blogs. To those who have continued to visit and leave comments during my break: thank you for your patience.

See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in back yard buffet, backyard birding, birds, nature

A surprise visitor at the back yard buffet

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In the past week the pileated woodpecker has made several visits to our back yard buffet. I heard her announce her arrival early this evening when I was cleaning up the kitchen, so I took my camera and sat on the patio after supper. It wasn’t long before she flew in. First she swung by the new suet feeder, but didn’t hang around long enough to take a taste of the bark butter suet. However, she soon returned and this time grabbed on to the large suet holder Bob hung from a post way back under the trees, and, finally, as I sat on the patio bench, she returned to the new feeder, the one that was closest to me. I snapped away as she feasted on the bark butter. She was happy, and so was I. Here’s hoping she likes it enough to return often. I think there may be a male in the neighborhood too because last week two pileateds arrived together. At the time, I didn’t have my camera, so I missed the photo opp. Today I didn’t make that mistake! Here are a few more pictures of today’s visitor:

Interesting facts about this big bird:

  • Male and female pileated look very much alike, but the male has a red mustache.
  • They nest in cavities in trees that they excavate. The noise they make while digging these holes can be heard for quite a distance.
  • They will make up to 16 holes in each tree to allow escape routes in case a predator enters the tree, and they peck the bark around the entrance holes to make the sap run. That keeps some predators, such as snakes, from entering their nest.
  • Their favorite food is carpenter ants, and the young are fed regurgitated insects.
  • A group of pileated woodpeckers are collectively known as a “crown” of woodpeckers.
  • Sometimes people call them “Woody Woodpecker” after the cartoon, which definitely resembles a pileated woodpecker.

That’s enough for this post. I hope you enjoyed seeing the big bird.

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

 

Posted in bird photography, My trail walks, nature

There’s nothing like a cedar waxwing!

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The cedar waxwing pictured above is demonstrating the fondness these birds have for fruit. According to the iBird app, they are the most specialized fruit-eating bird, but their diet also includes items such as carpenter ants, cicadas, caterpillars, cankerworms, and maple sap. Other strange information is  that they sometimes become intoxicated from eating fermented berries in winter, and they will also readily eat apple slices, currants, and canned peas. The yellow or orange terminal band on their tails are thought to vary in color depending on their diet. The most entertaining fact I read about waxwings is that a group of them could be called an “ear-full” or a “museum” of waxwings. Here are a few more pictures:

My walk today was a chilly one, and I was wishing for a warmer jacket. The temperature was only about 57 degrees with a stiff breeze, but the sun was shining, the waxwings came out to play, and I ran into several friends and caught up with their news, so it was a good day for a walk along the trail!

Thanks for joining me
Trail Walker