Posted in backyard birding, Eastern bluebirds, Northeast Ohio

Bad weather for birds

The weather wasn’t too bad in the morning, and a lonesome male bluebird stopped by to check out the nesting box. I’d like to think he was scouting for a home for his mate and future family, but I won’t be holding my breath on that score.

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However, as the day progressed, the weather worsened. In late afternoon I looked out the window to see snow falling and rapidly covering the ground with a coating of that white stuff, which looks magical in December, but by March…not so much! After the bluebird visitation this morning, there was very little bird activity. I took one last glance out the window as the light was fading,  and saw only some snowbirds (juncos) and a couple of mourning doves,  sheltering at the base of one of the feeders.  When the dove posed next to the water bowl, I snapped her picture.

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That was all the excitement for the day, and it was enough for me. I’m laying low for few days, recovering from a tumble off our back steps that resulted in an entire night in a massively crowded emergency room. And, no, I don’t know how it happened. They kept asking if I had passed out, lost consciousness, or felt dizzy, and all I could say was ,”No, no, and no,” whenever anyone asked.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!!!
See you soon, Trail Walker
Posted in Lake Erie, Landscapes and snowscapes, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Frozen Erie Lakescapes

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This morning I visited a friend who lives a few short blocks from Lake Erie. Because it was  a beautiful morning, I couldn’t resist stopping by Lake Overlook Park on my way home. Only one other person was walking along the trail from the lake to the parking lot. Noticing my camera, she remarked that high noon is not the best time to take pictures. “Come back in the early morning or around sunset,” she suggested. However, this was the time I had planned to visit my friend, and I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity to grab a  few pictures of the snow-covered lake. So I walked on down the trail to the lake, and here is what I saw:

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Fortunately, I had no plans to access the beach area! Continuing my walk, I stayed well away from the edge of the cliff. Tumbling into a frozen Lake Erie was not on my agenda for the morning. Here are a few pictures I captured on that short walk. I hope you enjoy them.

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High noon or not, I am glad I stopped by the lake today, but I will go back for another photo walk along that cliff…when the sun is setting.  I’m looking forward to comparing those pictures to today’ high noon captures.

Thanks for visiting Lake Erie with me today.
Trail Walker
Posted in animal photography, backyard birding, Northeast Ohio, winter

Lazy (and wet) Sunday afternoon

The temperature was hovering around zero with freezing rain tapping on the window pane, so backyard birding seemed like a better idea than trudging down the trail in the park. Call me a wimp, if you want,  but I’m happiest indoors in weather like this.

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Trio of bluejays

The bluejays don’t seem to mind much as long as the rain isn’t pelting down, but I do mind, so I decided to do a little backyard birding from inside my kitchen window today.

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In most tree-shaded backyards, birding usually includes squirrels, and my yard is no different.  This squirrel is sheltering under the bird feeder, and he looks pretty happy about having the food all to himself.

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Most days I prefer birding along the trail in the park, but today I am thankful to capture my birds through the window. I hope you enjoyed the view.

Thanks for joining me. Let’s hope for sunny weather soon.
I’m not a trailwalker today!


Posted in back yard buffet, Northeast Ohio, winter

Back to birding in the back yard

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It wasn’t a fabulous day for photography, so I decided to take some shots through the kitchen window.  This stump and several others are what remains of a large oak tree we had to cut down last year.  I decided to take advantage of them to create tables, just for the wildlife. The little birds (and the squirrels and chipmunks) loved the idea, and this is the result.  They are also popular with the deer that roam around our neighborhood at night, but for some reason, today it was just birds. To my surprise, there wasn’t a hoof print in sight. Near this stump is another on which I place a water bowl and handfuls of black oil sunflower seeds. Occasionally, as you can see here, there is some quarreling between the visitors. It looks to me like the sparrow is complaining because the house finch is just a little greedy. Look at that mouth full of seed! Definitely more than her share, according to the sparrow.

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The breakfast and lunch hours are the most popular times for visitors. Sometimes I can almost liken them to the regulars at the neighborhood deli…except for the greed factor that is. Here are a few more visitors that showed up yesterday when I was watching out the window:

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Junco, or snowbird as they are commonly called


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Another junco with a full beak!
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An especially greedy house finch
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And a bossy blue jay

That’s it for today. I did spot a red-bellied woodpecker, but couldn’t capture her picture. Maybe next time!  Did you notice what a monotone day this was? I’m thankful for visits from the blue jays and the little house finches with their rosy breasts. Otherwise winter weather can be a little dull.

Hope to see you again at the back yard buffet!
Trail Walker
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, Northeast Ohio, trailwalking

A gift!

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What a gift it was to take a trail walk in the Holden Arboretum with my friend Lisa for the second week in a row. It is, without parallel, my favorite place to walk, and I have missed it this summer. As always, I took time to pause at Lotus Pond and capture a few shots of the golden willow tree (above).

From there we walked around Corning Lake where we were lucky to spot a cedar waxwing. I used to see the waxwings near the bridge in Chagrin River Park, but haven’t had a glimpse of them this summer, so I felt really blessed by this one that hung around, almost as if offering us a few photo opps. Isn’t he a beauty? A real gift!

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Watch this place for a few more Arboretum pictures as I get time to post them. Hope you have enjoyed these.

Trail Walker…Back on the trails again!
Posted in Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, nature photography, Northeast Ohio

Summer in the Arboretum

Regular walks in the Arboretum, easily my favorite place for trail walking, have been missing from my schedule this summer. Bob has made a great recovery from his heart attack and quadruple bypass. He has continued regular walks in our neighborhood park, as well as the shorter evening walks we take with Gulliver around our street. Now he has begun attending cardiac rehab three times a week. But, until this week, I have had neither time nor energy for long walks. Can’t tell you how great it felt to walk, talk, and “bag lunch” on the patio at Holden overlooking the gardens with my friend Lisa. Here are a few pictures I snapped along the trail.

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Thanks for stopping by today so I could share a little beauty with you. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

See you soon.
Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio

Can you name these birds?

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It was a great day for a bird walk, with lots of little birds posing for their portraits. I even captured a couple I had to look up. How many of these birds can you name? All of them are common in northeast Ohio and surrounding states, and some even live here year round. One is the state bird of Ohio (and several other states). Do you have a favorite? If so, be sure to leave a comment to let us know which one it is.


Thanks for walking the trail today. How many did you identify?
Trail Walker
Posted in Color me Spring!, Holden Arboretum, My trail walks, Northeast Ohio


Part one of a two part post in which we continue our 
Search for Spring in the Arboretum.

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Thunder, buckets of rain, and puddles deep enough for ducks to take a swim! That’s today, drowning in dreariness,  but yesterday was beautiful…a great day for a trail walk at Holden Arboretum. That’s where we will continue the search for more signs of our elusive spring.

Let’s start  at Lotus Pond where daffodils bloom in the foreground and no ice remains on the surface of the pond, ice that was still visible on our last visit a week ago. That’s definitely promising.

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Lotus Pond without ice

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Out of the corner of my eye, I spot a few tiny clumps of netted iris. These irises are early bloomers, so they have passed their prime by now, but they are still lovely with their delicate shades of soft blue and yellow. I hope you agree!

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Netted Iris…past its prime

We will end today’s walk, on the trail that leads into the rhododendron garden.

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Entering the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron garden
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The Overlook, a recent feature in the rhododendron garden
That’s it for part one of this walk in Holden Arboretum.
Come back tomorrow to continue our search for spring!
~Trail Walker
Posted in bird photography, My trail walks, nature photography, Northeast Ohio, winter

That’s determination for you!


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.
Trail Walker