Woodpecker morning

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A quick look out the kitchen window this morning reassured me that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird are still around. Both were sitting on the new bluebird nesting box I wrote about in yesterday’s blog post. They didn’t stay long enough for a photo opp, but I was very happy to see them. Next the pileated woodpecker announced his arrival. He was alone. His mate didn’t put in an appearance, but several other woodpeckers did. Take a look:

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A starling shared the hopper feeder with the pileated.
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Pretty soon a red-bellied woodpecker flew in.
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For a while, the red-bellied and the pileated dined on opposite ends of the hopper feeder.
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Just look at the difference in the size of these two woodpeckers!
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And finally a downy came for his breakfast. Mr. and Mrs. Downy are constant guests at the Backyard Buffet.

Breakfast time ended when the pileated woodpecker flew over to the trunk of the huge oak tree on the edge of our property. I took this picture so you could see how high up he was. We think he may be nesting in that hole because he lands there often, and Bob actually saw him fly in to it a few weeks ago. Baby pileated woodpeckers??? Wouldn’t that be a treat!
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See you soon. Thanks for visiting today.
Trail Walker

A sure sign of spring!

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Spring has been wearing its fickle face recently, bringing lots of rain, wind, and even a few rumbles of thunder. Thankfully we haven’t had any severe storms, although at times the rain was heavy enough to create a large pond in our neighbor’s backyard. This happens every spring, of course, and, without fail, when the spring rain comes, this mallard couple comes with it.

A year or two ago, they were joined by several other male mallards, but that didn’t go so well. There was an outbreak of territorial jealousy accompanied by noisy quacking and threatening posturing. With multiple male mallards and only one female, peaceful coexistence was not a possibility. Watching their antics, I harbored a suspicion that the lady mallard was enjoying the ruckus…and maybe even egging the guys on! This afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Mallard returned for their annual visit, and happily it was just the two of them!

Sense of place???

Are you wondering what I mean by “sense of place?” Here’s the scoop. If you follow my blog, you know that I post a (huge) number of birds. I love photographing birds and catching them in action. Sometimes they have the most comical expressions, and honestly, their behavior can be outrageous and sometimes downright risque. However, after posting hundreds (thousands?) of birds just sitting around looking birdlike, I have decided it is time to provide my blog friends with a sense of the place where I take all these photos. I actually have 50,000 images on my hard drive, a huge preponderance of them are birds (or deer), and very few give you a clear indication of their habitat. So from now on I am going to intentionally include more pictures that will provide that “sense of place.” I hope it is a positive addition to my blog. Please let me know what you think.

This morning I was up and out early again. The morning light was wonderful, the birds were active, and I even caught a deer wandering through the tall grass. Hopefully soon I will encounter some fawns to share with you. It’s about time for them to appear. But for today, no fawns, just lots of beautiful birds and some landscape shots to give you that sense of place. Hope you like them.

That’s it for this beautiful Thursday morning walk through Chagrin River Park. Thanks for coming along. I had fun sharing this time with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

A moody morning

Spring is so fickle. Today it can’t decide if it wants to rain or if the sun will shine. Will it be sunny and warm or windy and chilly? So far, it has offered up some of each, changing its mind every half-hour or so. Before the rain started this morning, I headed to the park for a photowalk. We are still experiencing early spring here on the south shore of Lake Erie, so I don’t have much to show you in the way of blooming flowers or blossoming fruit trees, but the birds were active, so a gallery of bird portraits  is what I will share with you today. I hope you enjoy them (Click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).

For the record

  • Weather: The high temperature was 68 degrees, but that was this morning before the cold front moved in. Apparently we are going to have a lot of cool and wet weather this week. Ergh!
  • Exercise: I walked 3,275 steps or 1.5 miles. At that rate it will take me forever to reach 7500 steps, but I plan to persevere!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Carolyn aka Skip

Think Spring!

As our long, cold, snowy winter recedes into the past, we can look forward to blue skies and sunny days, bird song, and flowers bursting into bloom. No, they won’t arrive at warp speed, but there is no denying they are on the way, so bring ’em on! In the spirit of spring, today is a good day to post some of the birds that are welcoming spring in Chagrin River Park (Remember to click on a bird to scroll through the gallery).

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” ~Maria Robinson

I plan to start today to think spring! How about you?

Thanks for stopping by.
Carolyn aka Skip

PS: No exercise to report today, but the sunshine has been great!

The black dog syndrome

Taking a good picture of something black…something deep, rich, unadulterated black…is a challenge for any photographer, but especially for an inexperienced photographer. It’s enough of a challenge that it even has a name:The black dog syndrome. While I wouldn’t consider myself inexperienced, I’m far from being an expert. Some things I get right. Some things I don’t. Photographing black objects is in the latter category. Today my challenge was getting pictures of red-winged blackbirds that included the right amount of detail in the darker tones. Take a look at the photo gallery below, and you will see what I’m talking about (Click on any picture to scroll through the gallery).

The pictures were taken with a Nikon D7100 and processed in Lightroom 5. If you have any suggestions for improving them, especially the blackbirds, please  reply below. All comments are appreciated!

That’s it for today! Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

For the Record
  • Weather: The high temperature was 61 degrees. The morning was overcast and the afternoon was drizzly.
  • Exercise: According to the app on my phone, I walked 6133 steps or almost three miles.
  • Yahoo! It’s no wonder I’m tired tonight.

Always carry a camera!

Driving home from the park, I had to make an unplanned stop when a little flock of turkeys prepared to cross the street in front of me. Grabbing my camera off the seat next to me, I fired off a couple of shots of these proud Toms. Although it’s not uncommon to see them in the park, it’s rare to drive down the street and see them displaying like this. Proof that it is good advice to always carry your camera.

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For the record
  • WEATHER: Today’s high temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit,
    and it didn’t rain (yet).
  • EXERCISE: I walked 6852 steps…approximately 3 miles.

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

Today I believe in spring!

I took a photowalk in Chagrin River Park this afternoon.The sun was shining, and it was almost warm enough to wear a sweatshirt instead of the heavy jacket I’ve been wearing all winter. And it wasn’t raining! So I’m celebrating, even though there is some rain and (maybe even) snow forecast for the weekend. On a day like this, I see people in the park that haven’t been on the trails since November, and the one lone crocus blooming by our front door may soon have some company. As you can see from these pictures, it still doesn’t look very springlike. No flowering fruit trees, crabapple blossoms, daffodils, or hyacinths yet, but nevertheless spring is in the air. The glint of sunlight on the river, blue sky, and puffy clouds are all the proof we need!

For the record
  • Weather: Mostly sunny skies with a high temperature of 54 degrees.
  • Exercise: 4929 steps (2.2 miles)

That’s it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn aka Skip

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