Holden Arboretum

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Purple flowers for my purple-loving granddaughter

Friday was a beautiful, sunshiny day…a perfect day to visit Holden Arboretum, so I called my neighbor Marti and asked if she was ready to climb the Emergent Tower. She didn’t take any persuading, so off we went, and our first stop was the Tower with its wonderful view of Lake Erie.

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View from the top of the Emergent Tower
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Marti on top of the Tower

It’s a rare day that I visit the Arboretum without stopping to say hello to the golden willow tree by Lotus Pond. It is one of my favorite places and one of my most photographed in every season.

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Before leaving the Arboretum, we stepped into the Butterfly Garden. I was hoping to capture a few butterfly pictures before the annual migration ended. To my disappointment, I didn’t see any butterflies, not even one, but I did take a couple of photos just to show how beautiful the garden is.

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Waterfall in the butterfly garden
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A bridge on the trail. No trolls live under that bridge, but I have occasionally seen a snake in the vicinity.

That’s the photo shoot from this trip to the Arboretum. I hope you enjoyed the walk. Soon cooler weather will move into northeast Ohio, and we will begin to notice changes in the landscape. I’m thinking it would be a good idea to take a weekly walk and document the transition from summer through fall to winter. Maybe I’ll give that a try! First though, I think I will make another Arboretum visit and add a few more pictures to my “Summer in Holden Arboretum” gallery. See you soon, friends.

Happy Trails to you!
Trail Walker

Waiting impatiently!

Hello friends. I have been taking a brief blog break to learn more about Photoshop and Lightroom, (and hopefully improving my photography) , as well as  spending more time with my family, and occasionally dusting the furniture. I’m not quite back in full form yet, but hope to be soon. If you are still hanging out along the trail with me, I’m really glad to see you.

Although you would never know it from this weeks’s heat and humidity, September has arrived and the days on the calendar are ticking by pretty quickly. My favorite month will soon be here, and I am looking forward to the autumn colors, crisp temperatures, pumpkin pies, and bright blue skies. This time of year brings to mind a poem by Helen Hunt Jackson that we read in grade school (a long time ago). The last two lines sum up my feelings about October:

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

I admit to a growing impatience for the advent of that “bright blue weather,” and the great photo opps that come with it; however, today and for the next few weeks, I’ll have to exercise patience and find pleasure in whatever September brings.

If you too are yearning for real autumn weather, I can safely promise you it won’t be long until we’ll be able to savor the pumpkin pie, apple cider, and all the joys of October.

Meanwhile, let’s make this a good day!
Trail Walker

P.S. Do you have a favorite month? Consider leaving a comment to tell us which of the 12 it is and why that month is special to you.

Almost the end of summer

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Last week, when our oldest daughter and son-in-law flew in from Phoenix for a short visit, climbing the Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum was included on the list of “things to do and places to visit.” Monday was a beautiful day, so off we went to Holden and had a great time. After we all experienced the Canopy Walk, Gretchen and I climbed the Tower, while Bob and Rod kept Gulliver company at ground level. For very good reasons, dogs are not allowed on the Walk or the Tower.

We were the last climbers to leave the Tower and the afternoon was waning, so we paused for a photo opp by the gate into the Rhododendron Garden…2016_08_29_Trailwalks_Holden Arboretum_0013

…and then walked back down the trail. In the little time we had left, we wanted to wander a while in the Butterfly garden before we headed home.

It wasn’t a long visit, but, in my opinion, every visit to Holden Arboretum is special, and this afternoon was no exception.Thanks for coming along. I hope you enjoyed the climb. Maybe the wander through the butterfly garden was more your speed, but whatever your preference, it’s all good! There is something at the Arboretum for everyone.

Note:  The past week has been all about family time, so I have a lot of catching up to do,  pictures to process, and posts to write up, but eventually I will get caught up.  And I’ll be back soon with another post from last week.

Thanks for coming along on this walk.
Trail Walker

A new back yard visitor

 

I looked out the kitchen window recently and spotted this visitor at the back yard buffet. It was alone, and it hung around long enough for quite a few photo opps. If you know what it is, I would be glad for an ID. Size-wise, it is about the same as a large blue jay or just a little larger.

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Here are a few more poses I snapped as it moved from feeder to feeder:

I am sure I could find it in one of my bird books, but there hasn’t been enough time this sticky-hot and very busy week to do the research, so I am turning to my blog friends for help.

Thanks for visiting the back yard buffet today.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

Hummingbirds lead perilous lives!

It’s easy to be charmed by the antics of these tiny birds, especially when they put on a show, and that’s what this one was doing in my back yard today. Let’s sit for a bit on the patio bench and watch.
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Uh-oh! Watch out, Hummer. You’re not the only one that likes the sugar water. You’ve got competition!

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Lots of competition!

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August is not my favorite month because that’s when the yellow-jackets and wasps discover the back yard buffet, and they love sugar water. It doesn’t seem really fair to me. The hummers will soon begin their fall migration. They will head south…very far south, to their warm winter home somewhere in Central America. It’s a long and difficult journey from the south shore of Lake Erie over the Gulf of Mexico, and our tiny friends, the hummers, need plenty of nourishment to prepare for the rigors of migration.

Unfortunately, in the middle of August, hundreds of “bees” (yellow jackets, wasps, etc.) try to take over the sugar water feeders, but hummingbirds are feisty little critters, and I’ve watched them chase off the hungry hordes like this one eventually did today! Hummingbirds may be small, but they are not easily intimidated.

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I can’t help feeling sorry for the hummingbirds at this time of year, but I also feel a little sorry for myself. After mixing up the sugar water and filling the feeders, a day or two later I have to spill out the water, and clean and refill the feeders that are clogged up with the bodies of bees! What a waste! I don’t like bees any more than the hummingbirds do, but I definitely enjoy watching the hummers.

That’s all for today. See you soon.
Trail Watcher

To share or not to share?

That is the question!

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As you can see from the picture above, the downy woodpecker and black-capped chickadee don’t have a problem sharing the bark butter at the suet feeder. They are peaceably pecking away, each on her own side of the feeder.

However, these two goldfinches aren’t getting along so well on their perch.

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And the hummingbird and bee? How do they feel about sharing?

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I’m not so sure about the bee, but the expression on the face of the hummingbird makes his feelings very clear. If he could talk, he would be screaming,”Scram! Scat! Skedaddle! I was here first!!!”

…And I wouldn’t blame him one bit!

Would you want to share your beverage with a bee?

 See you soon.
Trail Walker

A little rain and a lotta lazy!

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Rain was threatening, and I was feeling lazy, so I hung around the house for some back yard birding instead of heading to the park for a trail walk. As it turned out, lazy wasn’t a bad choice, and I ended up having loads of fun just sitting on the bench in my back yard. A lady hummer came for a visit, and she was joined by a downy woodpecker, a finch (I think), and a little bird with a punk hairdo.

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but we have a new feeder for the hummingbirds. Today the hummer was taking turns sipping from them.First one, then the other! The new feeder is different. It’s shallow with a ring around it for her is rest on while she drinks, and, best of all, it is much easier to clean and refill. That’s especially important when it is hot like it has been recently because the wasps and ants are also attracted to the sugar water feeder, which must be emptied and refilled every two or three days.

As an extra treat, the birds and I were joined at the back yard buffet by Samantha Squirrel. Sammy and her extended family love the bark butter suet cakes as much as the birds do, and I love to watch their antics as they climb the poles, hang onto the feeders, and help themselves to the bark butter. Fortunately the birds are willing to share!

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That’s it from the back yard buffet today. Nothing earthshaking. Nothing political. No name-calling, no violence. Just food, fun, and congeniality. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for joining me today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

A pileated surprise!

We had just finished Sunday evening supper when our daughter glanced out the dining room window and exclaimed, “What the heck is that?”  When I turned to look out the window, this is what I saw…

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He had flown down from the tree top without announcing his arrival, as he usually does, and there he sat on top of the bird feeder no more than four feet from our window. Obviously he had found a comfortable place to feast on the bark butter suet, and he was really pleased.

Jumping up from the table, I moved over to the kitchen window where I picked up my camera. Earlier I had cranked the window open about an inch, so I was able to wind it fully open without alarming our “guest.” He was completely engrossed in the suet cake and unaware of my presence, so I was able to capture many pictures. These are the best…

I’m betting he’ll be back, just as long as I keep the suet feeder filled with cakes of bark butter suet. He had his Sunday evening treat, and I had some real good closeups to share on my blog. It was a memorable moment!

See you soon!
Trail Walker

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