Backyard Birds: June (Part 1)

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Apparently Baltimore orioles like to feast on grape jelly.

When summer rolls around, a familiar bird in our backyard is the Baltimore oriole pictured above. One glance at her beak as she zooms through the backyard is enough to tell you the oriole has recently enjoyed a taste of the grape jelly in the backyard buffet.

Hummingbirds, another common bird in Northeast Ohio during the summer months, are anatomically much better suited for sipping sugar water. Some sections of the country are visited by a much greater variety of hummers, but here, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, we only see the ruby-throat. On this male, you can see a faint hint of his ruby necklace.

 

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The Eastern bluebird is another summer resident, a favorite of mine, and a bird that we sometimes even see in colder months.. 2020_06_23__backyard birding_0001

Raising baby bluebirds can be a challenge for the parents. In the top left picture of the collage below, the little one is making a lot of noise, demanding his dried mealworms. They don’t look very appealing to me, but bluebirds love them, and this baby is hungry. Responding to his demands, Papa Bluebird picks up a mealworm from the ground and flies up to feed Junior. The last picture in the collage, shows Junior alone after his meal is over. It won’t be too long before they repeat the same routine. Mama Bluebird was nowhere to be seen when I took these pictures. Maybe Juniors demands wore her out, and she was taking a rest in the nesting box at our neighbor’s house when the little family lives when they are not flying around the neighborhood.

 

More bluebird pictures

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Papa checking out the nest.

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Baby Bluebird by himself.
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Papa carrying food or nesting material back to the nest.
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Young bluebird perched on top of the nesting box.
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Young male bluebird

Bluebirds enjoying the garden

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Pileated woodpecker

This large woodpecker is sometimes called the Woody Woodpecker bird because the familiar cartoon character is modeled after him. I can hear him coming because he loudly announces his arrival as he flies through the treetops and into our backyard. He is likely to arrive at any time of the day, and you would think that the cartoon Woody has jumped off the screen and come for a meal.

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A pileated woodpecker staring hungrily at the bluebird’s mealworms. He may be hungry, but he’s a little large to help himself to the mealworms.

 

Thanks for stopping by today.

That’s it for this backyard bird post. Part two will be posted soon. If you like birds, come back to check it out!

Trailwalker (aka Skip)

 

Blipping daffodils…part 2

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In my blip yesterday, I wrote about the possibility of a freeze overnight and what that might do to my daffs. Well, we did have a freeze. First thing this morning I asked Alexa for a weather report. When she said it was 32 degrees, I dressed warmly, picked up my camera, and headed out back to see how the daffs were doing. To my delight, they had survived the cold and were already beginning to perk up, as you can see from these pictures.

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Three cheers for these resilient daffodils!

That could have been enough excitement for so early in the morning, but there was more to come. Waiting for my breakfast toast to pop up, I noticed a flash of blue outside the window. Bluebirds!!! Anyone who has followed my blog, will remember how excited I get when a bluebird appears at my backyard buffet. I picked up my camera which is always close at hand, but I was too slow and the bluebird vanished before I captured his picture. There was a handsome bluejay sitting among the daffodils, but what I really wanted was at least one photo of a bluebird. Disappointed, I went back to munching on my morning toast.

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And then, almost magically, the bluebird reappeared. This time Bob spotted it, and I got my photo opp of the day: Several of them in fact!

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Yay! I caught him in flight, Truly amazing!

To top off the morning’s photoshoot, a rosy-red house finch posed for his portrait!

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As my British photographer friends on Blipfoto might say, I was chuffed!*

*Chuffed: slang for pleased, delighted; flattered; very excited

That’s it for this blog post. I’ll be back in a few days with another post, and I hope you will join me.

See you then!
Trail Walker (aka Skip)

 

 

Covid-19 Morning Entertainment

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At home, during the covid-19 lockdown here in northeast Ohio, I can’t gather with my (human) friends  for a cup of coffee (or a mug of cocoa, my preferred beverage). So this morning I turned to my backyard friends for entertainment, and the pileated woodpeckers didn’t let me down. They flew in, and hung around for 10-15 minutes, solo and in pairs, giving me enough time to snap some pictures to share with you.

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They’re very adept at climbing.
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Whoops, not always adept at holding on.

But when food is on the menu, they will persevere and find a tasty tidbit of suet.

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Appetites satisfied, they launch themselves off the feeder and fly back to the tall tree…

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And eventually move on to another neighborhood. If we’re lucky they will return this evening (or the next time they get hungry). If we’re very lucky, the bluebirds will come by. I haven’t seen them for ages, but, as they say, hope springs eternal. Meanwhile, I don’t know what you are doing for entertainment these days, but if you enjoy watching the birds come back for another visit to see what flies in.

Thanks for stopping by today.
~Trail Walker (aka Carolyn L.)

 

Correct me…

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If I’m wrong, please correct me, but I’m guessing this is a male American Redstart. I found a hot-spot for migratory birds along the trail today, and this colorful bird was among the crowd. A later spring migrant in northeast Ohio, redstarts arrive around mid-May. It is a medium-sized bird with bright orange patches on its wings and tail that it flashes to attract insect prey so it can capture them. It definitely attracted my attention, and I was able to snap a few pictures of the male and one less colorful female.Here are the others:

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Male American redstart
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Male American redstart
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Male American redstart
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Female American redstart

Trying to grab a few pictures of these small, quick-moving birds was a fun challenge. I was delighted that I captured this many pictures. The spring migration is in full swing here in Ohio, so a walk in the woods can be an exciting experience for this amateur photographer, as well as a lot of fun. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, I’ll head down the trail to check out this hot-spot again.

See you soon I hope!
Trail Walker

Rainy days

Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day.
Little Johnny wants to play.

Running through my head repeatedly, that rhyme, remembered from my childhood, couldn’t be more true to the way I feel about April…and now May! Little Johnny and Little Sally would like the rain to stop and the temperature to warm up so they can put on their shorts and sandals and go out to play. And Little Carolyn would like to get outside to take trail walks and play with her camera.

We have had so much rain recently that the ducks and geese have turned our swampy back yard into their personal swimming pool. Mowing the rapidly growing grass has been almost impossible, but the geese and ducks are loving it! Take a look!

First a pair of geese landed. Together they wandered through the wet grass.


And if it’s possible, the mallards are even happier than the geese. They wander through the grass, swim in the large puddles, and don’t mind the mud at all. I didn’t get any pictures of the actual swimming yet, but trust me, it really happens, and they love it. Every year this pair of mallards returns to our neighborhood, and we smile to see them. It’s almost as if they are coming back to their favorite vacation resort: plenty of water for swimming, green grass galore, and no lack of tasty food. We provide everything a duck would love. Is it any wonder they return year after year?

That’s it for this blog post.
Thanks for stopping by to catch up on the backyard news!
Trail Walker

Warblers have arrived

As you may be aware, this handsome red bird is not an unusual visitor to my blog. All birders in northeast Ohio, as well as many other states, are familiar with the Northern cardinals, which are year-round residents of this area. So while I was hoping to find some migratory warblers on my trail walk today, and the cardinal doesn’t fit the bill, I couldn’t resist posting his picture because he almost looks like royalty in his wonderful red plumage.

With that said, and the cardinal given his due, below is the yellow warbler, the first one I spotted this spring, which makes it special in my book!

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Take a close look at his beak and you will see that this little yellow, a male, as indicated by his streaky breast, has been successfully foraging for insects for breakfast. A nimble little bird, he probably picks the insects off the foliage or possibly even captures them as they fly by. His typical prey is midges, caterpillars, beetles, leafhoppers and other bugs, and wasps. It may be my imagination, but I think he looks rather proud of his catch!

Although the weather forecast for the next couple of weeks isn’t very promising, with only one day predicted to have temperatures above 70 degrees, I hope to get out and find more warblers. I’ve got my fingers crossed!

See you soon along the trail!
Trail Walkers

 

Not much to see…

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Red-bellied woodpecker, one of my favorites

As I walked the trails in Chagrin River Park this week, I didn’t see too many signs of spring; however, I am remaining true to the intentions I wrote about several weeks ago in this blog post.

The most interesting thing I spotted today was this bird …

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…an Eastern towhee

The towhee is not a rare bird, but I think it is a beauty, probably because I am partial to the combination of black and rusty orange. They are described as “sometimes secretive, but often common,” and they like to scratch in the dirt and leaf litter for insects, seeds and berries. I read that in the nesting season the males become bolder, often singing from high perches. I guess it isn’t nesting season yet, because so far this spring I’ve only seen them scratching on the ground.

Here are a few more bird pictures I’ve captured this week:

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American goldfinch
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Mallard duck
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Windblown grackle (I think)
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Song sparrow
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I’m not sure…If you can help, please let me know in the comments.

And finally, here’s an update on my intentions to increase my time spent on the trail. I have been pushing myself to get out on the trail whenever the weather is reasonable, i.e. not pouring rain or snow. Today the temperature was only 43 degrees, but I’ve walked 3.2 miles so far (7,914 steps). I realize that isn’t the recommended 10,000 steps, but I’m patting myself on the back anyway. My current goal is 5000 steps for each day on the trail, and I am exceeding that on most days.

That’s it for today, trailwalking friends.
See you soon for another update…
and more pictures from the trail.
Trail Walker

Heads down, tails up!

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Walking in the park today, I saw a lot of mallard ducks, both male and female. The males, like the handsome fellow pictured above, were at times swimming sedately in the river and, at other times, diving down for a treat. Comically waving their orange-colored feet in the air, they scrambled around underwater, searching for  food .

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Heads down, tails up!

At the same time, their female counterparts, splashing around nearby, were having absolutely fabulous fun, as you can see from the smiles on their faces.
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Who knew that ducks could have that much fun?

That’s it for today’s photowalk, friends.
Come back soon for another trek down the trail,
and don’t forget to bring your camera because you never know what we will see!

~Trail Walker

A glance out the kitchen window

Cleaning up the kitchen after lunch, my eye was arrested by the sight of a lonely bluebird huddled on top of the nesting box in falling snow.2019_03_05__Backyard birding_0025
The temperature was 18 degrees, and I could only imagine that, despite his fluffed out feathers,  the little fellow was feeling a bit cold. Grabbing my camera, I snapped his picture, then soon discovered he wasn’t the only wind-blown bird in the backyard. At least one other bluebird, a downy woodpecker, and a robin were nearby. (Click to enlarge pictures.)

 

I’m looking forward to spring when sunshine and warm breezes will waft away the cold and snow. I have a feeling my feathered friends are just as eager for a change in the weather. How about you?

Thanks for visiting today. See you soon.
Trail Walker

 

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